Blog :: Archive for December 2011
When Construction Lawyer Suzanne Horton started looking for a career change in order to spend more time with her family and have more flexibility and independence she came across the Puddle Ducks baby and toddler swimming franchise. Suzanne had always been a keen swimmer and swim competitively during her school years. She therefore immediately loved the Puddle Ducks concept and was impressed by the high quality of the lesson programmes, the teacher training programme and level of technical oversight. The opportunity to pass on her passion for swimming to babies and toddlers as well as running her own business proved to be so compelling that Suzanne gave up her 11 year legal career and bought the Greater Manchester Puddle Ducks Franchise.
After completing the intensive Puddle Ducks training course and gaining some hands on teaching experience she launched the Puddle Ducks Greater Manchester Franchise at the beginning of July 2011. Four months after launching Suzanne was teaching over 100 babies, toddlers and children across the Greater Manchester area and Suzanne has now recruited her first teacher and is adding more locations for 2012 in order to meet demand.
Helen, one of Suzanne's first customers said " In the 3 lessons that Zack has had Paul and I have already seen a huge difference in his confidence in the water and how eager he is to get into the pool, thank you for your excellent tuition."
Suzanne says, "there's something really special about helping parents understand how they can help their children to learn to swim and be safe in and around water. It's wonderful to see both parents and little ones grow in confidence as the term progresses and to see parents enjoy high quality bonding time with their little ones. I get to do this and spend lots of time with my kids which is fantastic. I love the independence and flexibility that running your own business offers, I can make my own decisions and decide when and how I work. It is hard work but I love every minute of it and the Puddle Ducks Franchise network is incredibly supportive which means I never feel like I am on my own. Buying into the Puddle Ducks franchise was certainly the best career decision I've ever made. "
Suzanne now has over 100 happy Puddle Ducks coming to classes every week in Greater Manchester
Posted by Tracy on Wednesday, 21st December 2011
This term, we feel particularly honoured that the amazing Damian Hughes, international speaker, best-selling author and sports psychology consultant, chose our Teacher of the Term. Damian has worked with some of the UK's greats including Sir Richard Branson and Sir Roger Bannister.
After reading the nominations, Damian said:
"These are really impressive. As a Dad of a 2 year-old-boy, I can really empathise and understand a lot of the emotions and feelings that are expressed by these parents and I find it so reassuring that your teachers are so lovely and caring.
Two pieces of feedback really stood out for me. The feedback for Jo Gribben (East Lancashire) was stunning. I really loved her approach outside of the lessons, such as taking an interest in the adoption process as well as being so responsive and flexible to the changing needs of a busy parent really made her stand out for me.
I was also impressed by the number and quality of testimonials for Donna Taylor (South Leicestershire). I really liked the genuineness which Donna obviously has for the job and the difference and passion which she brings to the lessons and the empathy and care which she has for the children.
On reflection, I have decided that the teacher of this term is Jo. I have no doubt that all of the teachers have great capability when it comes to the actual teaching but Jo’s additional impact outside of the pool and her responsiveness obviously makes her a great example and representative of Puddle Ducks.
I am really proud and humbled to be asked to help with this and if I can be of any more support please do let me know."
What a lovely man!
Huge congratulations to Jo Gribben. The customer who nominated Jo was nominated by customer Eliza Windridge. Eliza wins a £10 credit towards future courses. She wrote:
"We have recently adopted a boy, and shortly after we got him, we took him swimming at our local pool, he hated it, he screamed so much it was unbearable. We both really wanted him to learn the life skill, but were worried about ever taking him to a pool again. A friend told me about Puddle Ducks and I contacted Jo by email. She was so patient, kind and helpful with my enquiries and reassuring that he would love and be looked after in the classes. I decided to be brave and give it ago, and haven't regretted it once, in fact he amazes me every week with his confidence and enjoyment. She really makes the children feel special and important, she goes out of her way to ask how he is doing and about the adoption process, I have asked to swap a couple of sessions a few times for a different day because I could make the usual one, she responded to my text immediately and a new session convenient to me was arrange. I know that was more than 50 words, but I can't recommend enough. She's great."
Posted by Tracy on Friday, 16th December 2011
WELCOME to Charlie Goodenough and Jodie Coles who have just launched our latest franchise in Gloucestershire. How exciting!
Charlie and Jodie were both Puddle Ducks teachers for Bristol and Bath. Charlie said "Myself and Jodie had a conversation one afternoon whilst our boys played, and realised that we both wanted even more of a challenge and to further our career - and nothing but Puddle Ducks would do!" They decided there and then to set up on our own.
Jodie was an Airline Manager prior to having her son Archie in 2008. She took Archie to Puddle Duck classes from just seven weeks old and was so amazed with his water confidence and love of water, that she decided to completely change career and become a Puddle Ducks teacher.
Charlie and Jodie met at antenatal classes with their first babies. Charlie was working as a Sales Manager until the birth of Robbie in. She knew she did not want to return to her previous role and be sat in an office until 7pm. She listened to Jodie telling her about her new career - the benefits of great pay, part time and most importantly term time only and began to realise that this move would be great for her too – she had been a competitive swimmer and was excited at the prospect of passing on the love of water to babies and children. It wasn't long before she joined Jodie on the Bristol and Bath teaching team.
Jodie said "When starting our own business, there was no way we were going to consider anything but Puddle Ducks. We love the programme and have seen the benefits with our own children and our customers. The support that you are given from Head Office is amazing, the website is fantastic and the lesson continually evolve which we love."
Charlie and Jodie are looking forward to welcoming their new customers to Puddle Ducks Gloucestershire. Charlie says "I have been a Puddle Ducks customer, a teacher and now a Franchisee and although I know there is lots of hard work ahead, I know I have made the best decision for myself and my family."
Posted by Tracy on Monday, 5th December 2011
What a day Wednesday 30th November turned out to be! Jo was asked to present a seminar on Puddle Ducks' story at the Smith & Henderson Best Franchise Conference ... where she found out Puddle Ducks were finalists in four awards, and came away with two of these including Best Overall Franchise.
Our story started back during the Summer holidays when we were invited by Smith & Henderson to benchmark our franchise operation and receive some valuable, anonymous feedback from our franchisees. Of course, we agreed - how useful would that be? The survey was an industry-wide study of franchisee satisfaction involving over 1,000 existing franchisees, to understand which franchisors best deliver on their promises, have proven franchise systems and offer franchisees excellent financial and non-financial rewards.
Over the following three weeks we begged, cajoled (but didn't bully!!!) our franchisees to complete the online survey and in September I had a discussion with the wonderful Steven Frost, partner at Smith & Henderson, who went through our results with me.
Wow! We have always, always strived to provide the best support and systems we possibly could - but how wonderful that our franchisees totally agreed! Steven told me that our results were some of the best he had seen, especially the high value our franchisees placed on our leadership, culture and values. Steven was so inspired by our results that he asked us to share our story at the November conference.
Co-Founder Jo was delighted to be presented with two prestigious awards including the top award of the night. Puddle Ducks won both the Most Recommended Franchise award, with 94% of our franchisees stating that they would recommend our franchise to others, and the Best Overall Franchise. Steven Frost said, "Puddle Ducks are in an elite group who have been recognised in this year’s awards. They represent the one of the very best franchise opportunities in the UK today"
Posted by Tracy on Friday, 2nd December 2011