A unique preschool football programme, Little Kickers is operational in 19 countries. Christine Stanschus, Founder & CEO, Little Kickers Group, shares the brands journey and plans to enter India way ahead with Utpala Ghosh
What inspired you to start a business in pre-school football coaching?
I started Little Kickers in London in 2002. When I started looking for a sports academy for my two years old son, Lukas, I was completely taken aback by the absence of it. Also I needed a better work-life balance which was lacking with my current job as an investment banker. My background in finance and marketing came handy to create a solid business model. I hired help in the form of qualified FA coaches, nursery school teachers and child health specialists to create a unique football programme that placed an emphasis on enjoyment, early education and exercise.
Why did you choose franchising?
The classes received exponential response and recorded over-subscription by 400 per cent. Soon, there was a need to grow the business. That is when I decided to adopt the franchise model. Little Kickers continued to grow throughout the UK and sold its first overseas franchise in South Africa in 2004 gradually spreading out to 19 countries as of now.
How many total franchisees do you have?
Little Kickers presently operates through a network of 260 franchise areas in 19 countries with classes in such diverse locations as South Africa, Canada, Ireland, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, China and Ecuador.
What is the franchise model you have adopted in these countries?
There are two main franchise models that Little Kickers has adopted in order to sucesssfully deal with enquiries from countries of varying sizes. Typically for markets with a smaller population (Cyprus, Hong Kong e.g.) the unit franchise rights are sold and the franchisee's main business involves operating classes and dealing directly with employees and customers to ensure the smooth running of the Little Kickers programme. For larger countries (China, Brazil etc.), the master franchise rights are sold. This involves running a pilot unit franchise for a period of six months before going on to market, recruit, train and provide ongoing support to a network of unit franchisees. The master franchisee's focus is on finding, recruiting and supporting this network on an ongoing basis.
Do you plan to enter India? If yes, please tell us how you plan to roll out your plan for India.
Little Kickers is looking to expand it's reach into the Indian market through its tried and tested master franchisee method. We are looking for an individual(s) who share our passion and enthusiasm for getting young children active. Applicants must have a strong business background, excellent administration and communication skills and a good grasp of English, in order to develop a network of like-minded franchisees in India.