20 Mar Spotlight on Cricket for Tots
Guest blog by:
Steve Fitzgerald, Founder of Cricket Tots
Steve Fitzgerald is a member of the LEAP Networking Group for children’s leisure, educational and activity providers. I am always keen to hear the business tips of children’s activity providers and to encourage members of the group to share marketing advice for businesses in the child and family sector so recently asked members to write guest blogs with marketing advice for businesses.
Steve runs Cricket Tots, which has grown into a successfully franchised business. I thought it might be interesting for other aspiring or learning business owners in the child and parent sector to hear his business story.
Over to Steve!
Cricket tots was only launched a few years back, the idea came about many years before. I’m an Aussie cricket player and when my son, Will, was very young I wanted to share my love of the sport with him. I couldn’t find any classes, so I taught him myself and the idea for Cricket tots was born! I knew how incredible it would be for him to be able to practice and play cricket with other children his age with bats and balls designed for his size. Cricket tots now gives boys and girls of a young age that opportunity.
At Cricket tots, we don’t just see our classes as an introduction to the dazzling world of cricket. Our classes, targeted at 2 ½ to 5 year old boys and girls, are carefully designed to teach the fundamentals of cricket in an environment that nurtures both individual development and the pivotal first experiences of being part of a team.
My family are hugely active and I’m a big believer in the power of sport to improve all areas of someone’s life, no matter their age. For young children the benefits aren’t just confined to motor skill development, there are educational benefits too. When playing team sports such as cricket, a child learns invaluable lessons that carries them through life including teamwork, honesty, fairness, respect and following rules. As discovered in ukactive’s ‘Start young stay young’ report, ‘physical activity during the early years and childhood are strong indicators of future behaviours including educational attainment, health and happiness.’ Moreover playing sport in early childhood helps to improve coordination, confidence and instill a sense of achievement. Things we are always keen to emphasise to parents.
As Cricket tots has progressed, I’ve been very proud of the fact that a huge percentage of our cricketers are girls. We fully support and are associated with the widely renowned This Girl Can movement, a celebration of females in sport developed by Sport England. We also have a number of female cricket coaches on board too. Our support of everything Sport England is a reflection of our broadest values and goals – to bring sport, teamwork and a positive learning environment to as many children as we can, worldwide. It is one of the reasons why we are the only cricket association to have earned Gold accreditation status by the Children’s Activities Association. With this standard of recognition, parents can be confident that Cricket tots is developmentally age appropriate and that all teachers and coaches are well trained and monitored carefully.
The support and recognition we have gained from the industry has been incredibly humbling too. As a result of their backing, we have launched an official ambassadorial programme with ex-England cricketer Paul Nixon and England Women’s Academy player Katie Wolfe on board. They are a true reflection of the future our little tots can look forward to in the sport!
We’re a tight knit team of coaches, ambassadors, managers, marketers and cricket lovers, all looking to give young children the opportunity to play cricket. Our next venture has been to expand the Cricket tots business model to some incredible franchisees. Cricket tots classes are now available in Northwood, Pinner, Harrow, Bristol and Blackburn and we have had interest from a number of businesses internationally. There are some amazing global opportunities opening up for us, and we are always on the lookout for individuals who want to join the Cricket tots world whether they have business experience or not.
Our franchise package has been developed with the aim of providing franchisees with all the knowledge, information and support to launch a successful business, that not only has a clear return on investment but is also highly competitive in the market. We’ve found that franchising reduces a lot of the risk involved in starting a business because you are buying the experience and marketing expertise of the Franchisor, and we’ve got your back! It’s an established service which already operates successfully. Everything from the brand, systems and processes are tried, tested and proven so you can replicate the exact same business model as us.
One of the things that we look for in franchisees is whether they fit our philosophy of giving back to the community. We regularly offer Cricket tots classes for local nurseries and children’s groups completely free of charge, helping to introduce the sport to as many children as possible. Our love of the game is second only to our motivation to see children grow and excel, bringing out the best in them through the power of the cricket match.
It is with that in mind that we look to find like-minded people to assist us in achieving our goal of helping children start the innings of a lifetime through cricket. To find out more information, please visit our website, www.crickettots.co.uk. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.