Focused mixed race woman wearing headphones watching webinar write notes study online with skype teacher, african female student learning language computer course on laptop listen translate lecture

Business models coming out of Covid-19

Many children’s activity providers facing up to the likely pause on in person activities, pivoted quickly to an online offering and while interest appears to have generally wained, some are still seeing new sign ups with the likelihood of many providers holding off on returning to normal activities services until further guidance and approval to do so from government, councils, schools etc.

Looking at the immediate future we can see there will be three popular models utilised by providers; in person activities only, online only and a hybrid/combination approach.

Exclusively in person activities

Some activity providers have struggled to adapt their services for online purposes such as swimming providers, sports clubs and other physical/outdoor education type services. Others have adapted but simply haven’t found the demand as strong for online and therefore will be keen to return swiftly to in person classes and clubs.

We expect there will be strong latent demand for classes to resume as normal with data and feedback suggesting that online fatigue for parents and children has occurred. This coupled with the clear and obvious need for children to be with their friends, physically active and mentally stimulated by the outside world suggests this model will continue to perform well once providers have made their settings Covid-Secure and of course when Covid-19 passes.

Exclusively online activities

While data suggests interest has decreased since the beginning of lockdown, the appeal as a business model for online class delivery is clear. Low overheads and easier to scale means this will provide many activity professionals with a question of whether they should consider online only offerings.

This opportunity presents both an opportunity and a risk. The risk that the activity provider doesn’t return to venues and subsequently loses customers and market share is very real, but the opportunity to pick up a new type of customer, potentially across the country (or world) logging in and joining online classes is equally high.

Hybrid/combination approach

It appears likely that in the short-term at least we will see some providers offering a timetable of activities both online and in person to cater for all needs, and to safeguard against the sudden need to move to online only again. This could be complimenting one another under one type of product, or it could be as separate revenue streams.

The question we feel this poses is – is the activity provider willing to take a risk on stepping outside the ‘norms’ of the industry and seeking in some ways to innovate? Some were already doing this successfully through apps and other digital touch points to compliment their services. Will other activity providers consider this approach too in order to strengthen any perceived weaknesses in their business?

By becoming a member of ICAP you’re joining a community of like-minded professionals and business owners in the children’s activity sector working towards excellence

Pip Wilkins

Pip Wilkins is the Chief Executive of the British Franchise Association (bfa). With 25 years’ experience in the franchise sector, Pip has worked her way up within the Association, gaining insight from all areas of the business and the franchise industry. She is well-known and highly regarded in franchising for her dedication and depth of knowledge. Pip regularly speaks at conferences and seminars both domestically and internationally, as well as writing on franchising matters for national, local and franchising trade press. Pip is also a regular judge for the annual bfa HSBC Franchise Awards, the Franchise Marketing Awards and Global Franchise Awards. Pip represents the UK at both the European Franchise Federation (EFF) and World Franchise Council (WFC). The bfa has grown to be one of the largest franchise associations in Europe, and one of the most successful associations in the world.

Theo Millward

Theo Millward is a graduate of Lancaster University with a BBA in Management. In 2016 Theo purchased UK swim school, Swimtime from the founders which teaches 20,000 children a week. Following a multi-award- winning digital transformation, during the global pandemic, Theo and his team founded Franscape, a saas that digitally transforms Franchise brands. FranScape won New Business of the Year at the UK Business Awards.

Andy Georgiou

Andy is the Founder of ICAP and a leading UK Franchise Business Consultant. He is fiercely committed to helping children’s activity providers build successful and profitable businesses. With qualifications in Business Management, Digital Media and Marketing, he has helped build, advise and grow leading 6 and 7 fiqure children’s education, sports and activity brands in the past 17 years.

Frank Sahlein

Frank has been active in the Children’s Activity Center industry as an athlete, coach, business owner, consultant and business broker. He is a native of San Mateo, California and graduated from San Jose State University in California (USA).
Frank was a pioneer of the Children’s Learning Opportunity Center concept from 1976 – 2016 at the Wings Center in Boise, Idaho (USA) – a blend of Sports Instruction, Arts, Education, Entertainment and Outreach programs.
As a business management innovator, Frank has delivered over 1,000 presentations for a variety of Children’s Activity Center industries such as gymnastics, swimming, cheerleading, dance, martial arts/ninja and child care/education.
3rd Level Consulting is a Business Development and Service Provider Partner for private industry companies, associations, and organizations in the USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Mexico, and Panama.
Two-time recipient of the National Business Leader Award from USA Gymnastics, Frank is the author of “Building Your Business Potential” and “Designing Your Empowered Life”. He is the creator of the SmartEDGE™ Business Applications and Management Certification Courses. He is the co-founder of LEAP Learning and the MetaSpheres Corp, and is the founder and Executive Director of the International Association of Child Development Programs.
His passions include his beautiful wife Lourdes Gonzalez, family, friends, fitness training, transformational reading and travel.