While working in his role within the banking industry, James discovered his passion and ability in sports coaching when on a 4-month trip to the States, where he and three friends worked as ‘soccer’ coaches.
At the age of 23, Just 4 months after enquiring with Premier, James was running his own Premier franchise, something he would never have dreamed just 12 months earlier. More than 10 years on from joining, James now runs 6 Premier franchise territories and generated over £850k in revenue over the last Academic year.
What made you decide to invest in a Premier franchise?
In 2005, I travelled to America with 3 of my closest friends to coach ‘soccer’ over the Summer holidays. Prior to this trip, despite the passion, I had very little experience of coaching. While out in America, I clearly had a talent and ability for coaching, and knew this was something I wanted to pursue when I got back to the UK.
When we returned to the UK, one of my friends had set up a Premier franchise and I immediately asked for more information on how I could start up my own sport franchise. 4 months down the line, at the age of 23, I was running my own coaching business, something I could not have dreamt of 12 months prior when working 9-5 in a banking telecommunications centre.
What do you love most about running your own business?
Being able to make an impact on children’s lives is undoubtedly the most rewarding aspect of running a Premier franchise. My franchise currently works with over 130 schools and more than 10,000 children per week. At a time when the physical activity levels and obesity are so topical, to know that we are positively impacting on so many children every week is a fantastic feeling.
Also, to be able to offer the opportunity to young people to build a career which is so rewarding is also very gratifying. Giving them the opportunity to make a difference and have a job they can be proud of. We have had recent examples where we have recruited staff that we taught when they were at primary school. I can’t think of a better example that this of how we inspire young people.
Over the years as my business has grown my mind set has changed, and my determination to be a success has grown with it. I have achieved things I did not think were possible, and this has only driven me to want to achieve more. And it is very easy to find the motivation when you can see that what you do really makes a difference.
What makes Premier different?
Innovation, always being ahead of the curve. Premier Wellbeing is a fantastic example of this. Being able to offer a programme to schools that our competitors can’t that there is an unquestionable need for. Working with experts that know the environment we work in inside out and being able to see trends before they even happen gives us a huge advantage over our competitors.
Training is another massive differentiator. Being able to train and deploy staff so they are much more than ‘just a coach’ is key. Understanding the PE and sport environment means our Activity Professionals can support schools effectively to impact on ALL pupils and makes us the ‘experts’ which is what schools are looking for.
The BMS is a key tool which enables us to demonstrate the IMPACT we have on all of our pupils, which is crucial for all schools to be able to evidence how they are spending their money. From lesson plans to pupil assessments to vital data, it all adds to the level of service we provide to make us ‘irreplaceable in schools’.
What advice would you give to someone considering a Premier franchise?
I have always said that had I set up as ‘James Jennison coaching Ltd’ 10 years ago, then right now I would either be doing something totally different as my business would have failed, or I would be running a much smaller scale business where I am still doing all the coaching myself without being able to develop the business.
To anyone who thinks they can do better on their own I would simply say ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’. There is no one better out there, and that is based on experience not bias.