Our final entrepreneurship story comes from The Swim Specialist.

Before starting his own business, Nathaniel Birkett ran a successful football and swim academy in Majorca. Not settled with his success abroad, Nathaniel came back to the UK in order to form The Swim Specialist, a leading swim school operating throughout Yorkshire.

 

Entrepreneurship has always been in Nathaniel’s blood!

 ‘I remember being around 14years old and me and a friend used to visit his grandma in Scarborough every summer. I have vivid memory of a conversation we had when we asked her ‘what do you think we will be when we’re older?’ I remember saying to her I would be a car salesman or a business owner. I’m very grateful to now be an independent business owner. Ironically enough just, before I made the jump at 25years I had an interview with a car company and when I told my partner, she was very disappointed! She gave me some stern words and told me to pursue my dreams. I think the car salesman job interview was just the inner critic playing his part.

I’m currently part of a business accelerator called Entrepreneurial Spark so I’m constantly surrounded with like-minded people who demonstrate entrepreneurship on a daily basis. I believe everybody has entrepreneurship qualities, for me what makes a good entrepreneur is the level of persistence they demonstrate to pursue their dreams and ideas.’

It’s an entrepreneur’s mindset that can help to set them apart, as Nathaniel explains:

‘The hardest thing about being an entrepreneur is relating to people with a fixed mindset. I believe mind-set is the biggest noticeable change in those who are labelled an entrepreneur to those who are not. Once you make the jump you will realise that everyday hurdles are part of the process. Being an entrepreneur allows you to believe that anything is achievable.

The biggest hurdle for me was defeating my inner critic. Our thought processes are naturally conditioned to make us feel safe and protected. For example, when going in search of pool space, I told myself that all the pools are already taken, how would I ever negotiate with swimming pool owners, even then, how will I even afford the rent, I can’t guarantee I will get swimmers? This is the mind’s natural defence mechanism to ensure we don’t take risk which may jeopardise your current state and well-being. The biggest lesson I have learnt is ‘be comfortable with being uncomfortable.’

Any successful company has to evolve a mission and reason for being. Here at CAP2, we see our mission as to provide incredible software for the people we care about; our customers. For Nathaniel, this mission has changed over time.

 ‘The original business mission was very simple, ‘To meet the needs of children and the demands of parents’. This was derived from doing my initial phase of customer research on what parents wanted for their children. Which is why we partnered up with CAP2 which allowed parents to monitor and track their children’s progress. We also ensure all our venues have a viewing area on poolside for parents giving them 100% transparency. However, after recently re-evaluating why I started the swim school, I released that many other swim schools have now adopted a similar service and we don’t have a significant USP to differentiate ourselves. I am now in the process of changing our mission, which reverts to my ‘why’ which is to teach all children how to swim using my unique learn to swim pathway.’

So, what is Nathaniel’s style – A bit of an Alan Sugar or more of a Richard Branson!?

‘To be honest I have never really followed or read the stories of Richard Branson or Alan Sugar, although I have always understood you need to have key influences. I’m very proactive with watching inspirational and motivation videos. I’m very much a visual learner and have always watched Ted Talks. I have recently started watching Impact Theory on YouTube. Part of my morning routine is to watch a video before I exercise which helps improve productivity throughout the rest of the day.’

We wanted to find out whether The Swim Specialist modelled their business on anyone else; we asked Nathaniel whether he took inspiration from any other sports providers when setting up the company.

‘Funnily enough, this is something I have never been interested in or divulged in. This could be an area for improvement as I’m not sure how we compare with our competitors. I haven’t looked into what other swim schools are doing well which may help strengthen the swim school. In hindsight we may have fast-tracked some growing pains. However, for me, I have been one track minded in why I want to set up the swim school, how I am going to do it, and what it will eventually look like. Unlike other swim schools or franchises, I love the journey of growing my business. It allows me to grow as an individual and enrich my story with experiences and key decisions.’

It’s not only the company’s mission and model that has helped The Swim Specialist’s success.

‘Technology in modern-day business is a must, we all know what happened to HMV, Blockbuster, and Kodak. They failed to jump on board the digital economy which resulted in them going into administration. It’s inevitable that as future generations grow up with the internet at their fingertips, they are more inclined to source information and make purchases online. As a business it also helps us manage data, manage operations and scale easily.’

Their success, according to Nathaniel, isn’t purely defined by the achievements they’ve made, but by the growth of the business.

‘Everyone is different, some people measure success on what awards you have won, what house you live in or which car you drive, or even how much money you make. For me I measure my success on the number of children we’ve taught how to swim, along with how many job opportunities we have created. Since establishing the swim school in June 2016 we have taught over 881 children how to swim and have 12 teachers that have adopted my swim teaching methods.’

Nathaniel leaves us with his exciting vision for the future!

I have a ‘dream big’ idea, the dream big is for every child worldwide to learn how to swim using my unique learn to swim pathway. How this will be done is top secret for now, although if you’re interested in following my journey visit my website to find out more www.theswimspecialist.com

 

Take a look at the CAP2 Swimming page

In continuation of our birthday celebration week, here’s another compelling entrepreneurship story from one of our customers. This time, it’s Diamond Swim Academy.

 

Diamond Swim Academy

Diamond Swim Academy started life as the light-bulb moment of two individuals. Sophie Grosvenor and Sarah Ruckwood had both been working in the swimming industry prior to setting up their own business; Sophie, as a swim teacher at another of our valued customers (Virgin Active) and Sarah at our official swim partner Swim England (previously the ASA).

 

‘It was always something that we had discussed with our husbands but it was a big move to take the leap! We had experience of other swim providers and always thought we could do a better job ourselves so we decided to put our money where our mouth was!’

We asked the pair, what makes a good entrepreneur in their eyes?

‘You need to be an expert in your own field, well rounded in general business, prepared to make big decisions and be able to learn from your mistakes (because you will make lots initially!)

Being able to switch off from the business is probably the hardest part. Although it means so much being your own business and in a way you are always ‘on call’ it is still important to keep perspective on things and make time for your family, friends and of course yourself!’

Diamond’s ethos of quality and staying true to themselves are values we too here at CAP2 pride ourselves on:

‘From day one we wanted to base our business around providing a quality service and that has never changed. It is a competitive market and we chose quality as the thing we wanted to distinguish ourselves by.

As with everything, it’s about balance and we compliment each other well. Neither of us has changed because we run our own business and that is very important, you need to be true to yourself rather than try to be someone you’re not. We modelled our business to be different from any other business. We wanted to stand out and do things a little differently.’

A bit like any business, the need for development and growth in the business is met with the need to improve the systems you use. Sophie and Sarah both felt technology was a must for the future of their business.

‘Technology is key for all businesses, it needs to be able to develop, grow and adapt alongside your business. Effective technology underpins your business and life would get very difficult, very quickly without it.

We would like to continue to provide a high quality service to as many swimmers as we can. Being able to swim is an essential skill that everyone should have and if we can do our bit to help that then we know this has been a successful venture.

We received the Silver Award for the ASA Swim School of the year last year which was a huge achievement in only our second year, but we are most proud of watching children learn to swim and enjoy their lessons.’

A huge thank you to Sophie and Sarah for taking the time to talk to us. We hope you find their entrepreneurial story as interesting and inspirational as we do!

 

http://www.diamondswimacademy.co.uk/
07756554013        07756564312

 

Take a look at the CAP2 Swimming page

 

To celebrate CAP2’s birthday, we’re paying tribute to entrepreneurship, after all, without our two young entrepreneurs, Ross and Pete, CAP2 would never have been born!

What better way to do that, than with the very people who keep CAP2 the no.1…. our fantastic customers. We hear some of our most entrepreneurial customers’ stories this week!

 

Springfit; Adam Reynolds

 

Today’s entrepreneurial CAP2 story comes from Adam Reynolds. Adam is a CAP2 customer who self-started Springfit, a Gymnastics and Trampolining club in 2007 and has gone on to great success, with multiple sites set-up throughout his home county of Surrey. Having taught thousands of children and adults, his experience and entrepreneurial story rings true with the important core values we hold here at CAP2.

Before starting Springfit, Adam had been heading up a very different path:

 

‘I worked in IT for seven years before deciding the office environment was not for me and that I needed to provide something more worthwhile to the local community. I wanted to promote a healthy activity and make it accessible. Trampolining and gymnastics were the perfect activities to be doing this with.’

Adam didn’t always see himself as the entrepreneur type!

‘Not at all. Like many young adults, I never knew what I wanted to do, but finding my path was an adventure in itself. When opportunities present themselves, I make a point of not shying away from them.

For me, perseverance and a passion for your field of work is what makes a good entrepreneur. The road is long, the way is hard and the more you try the less you find it difficult. If you have a passion for what you do, it will make it easier to keep on trying.’

Starting a business isn’t always plain sailing though. Springfit, like many start-ups had some bumps along the way!

‘The learning curve to achieve success is quite steep and full of mistakes. With hindsight these are both necessary and frustrating. Achieving your goals can cost you time, money and relationships, but each hurdle overcome is a personal and professional reward.’

Many businesses find themselves evolving over time. But Adam feels Springfit’s strong mentality and ethos has remained a constant.

‘I was lucky enough to have been trained by a great Club with a brilliant mission for fun and friendly recreational activities. I bought into this philosophy since the start and it has proved to be a popular niche, serving the needs of many children and adults.’

Here at CAP2, Ross and Pete (our intrepid entrepreneurs), started the business in their own, unique and friendly style. Adam’s stance is similar, something he feels is vital to the entrepreneurial spirit.

‘I don’t really model myself on anyone in particular. I think it’s important to be yourself as that will get you further than trying to put a false personality on, and will certainly make sure you enjoy what you’re doing. When you work for yourself there is no ‘work mode’ as you are always switched on to the needs of your business. I definitely take some of the advice and words of wisdom from successful business owners and managers though. I’d be mad not to!’

Another similarity between CAP2 and Springfit is that both wanted to be unique! Adam’s vision for Springfit, like Ross and Pete’s, was to make his business completely different to anything else out there.

‘Having knowledge of the market and your competitors will always be useful, however I try to make sure our business model has a different approach to what other people are doing. That will give you an edge, and creativity in development of a company allows you to put your own stamp on what you do.’

We’re very sport driven here at CAP2. With over 60% of our team heralding from sporting backgrounds, it’s no surprise that we’re a big part of the sports industry. But of course, we’re big on tech too. Springfit use CoursePro to its fullest, and Adam believes moving into the modern tech era is important for any successful business.

‘Tech itself is usually synonymous with efficiency, progress and innovation. All these are traits that a winning business will need to be striving for; to keep ahead of the game and evolve. To not embrace the benefits that technology provides would leave a business extremely deprived.’

Adam’s vision, drive and ability to move forward with tech has helped the business to flourish, but it’s his team’s development that he’s most proud of.

‘I consider the recruitment, training and ongoing achievements of our trampoline and gymnastics coaches our biggest success. Springfit has provided careers to over a dozen people, most of whom were ex-gymnasts or parents who saw what a rewarding job it is to teach others the benefits of our activities. Investing in people brings it’s own rewards and allows the business to grow, so it’s really worthwhile.’

We’re constantly driving forward ourselves here at CAP2. Our software never stops evolving and neither do we; a similar approach to Springfit:

‘Our future? Empowering people to utilise the success of our business model will further our ambition to help get as many people involved in trampoline and gymnastics activities as possible. We have just begun to franchise which will mean Springfit Clubs can pop up everywhere!!’

A big thanks to Adam for his time in speaking with us! As we say happy birthday to CAP2, we’d like to say a huge thank you to our customers like Adam who have helped to turn Ross and Pete’s light-bulb moment 8 years ago, into a happy, helpful and market leading business.

 

The CoursePro Gymnastics page can be found here.

Looking for the CAP2 Football page? Go there!

You can sign up to this newsletter here

This week, we spoke to Jon Holloway – the Head of the hugely successful Swindon Town Football in the Community Trust. We talk trust tactics, participation, inclusion and all things junior sport.
 
The idea behind all of our articles is to give you a chance to hear from your peers & share best practise and new ideas – something that Jon has in plenty.

We started off by asking Jon, where did it all begin!?

‘The Trust was originally formed in 1991. Following this, a raft of former Swindon players helped to push the trust forward with their roles as community managers.

In 2007, we became an independent Charitable Trust which delivers under the umbrella of the Football League Trust, along with 72 other professional clubs across the country.’

So, we all know Swindon is famous for roundabouts and perhaps some of us know the club from Paulo Di Canio’s managerial reign there, but what is the trust most well known for!?

‘The Trust is most famous for over 25 years of continued delivery of community programmes and projects that we offer around Swindon and the surrounding areas. These programmes are all about delivering engagement, participation and achievement. We currently have over 3000 people taking part in these activities and projects on a weekly basis!

The Community Trust, and what we offer, is very special because of the impact that we have on so many of our participants. From our youngest toddlers taking their first steps in football, to retired elderly men and women keeping active by taking part in weekly sports. Our sessions cater for all ages and abilities, with a diverse variety of programmes. There is something for everyone at Football in the Community, and this is what makes what we do so unique and special.’

 
This unique quality and aspiration to drive participation is something that Jon and the team work very hard to deliver.

‘On behalf of Swindon Town FC, the Community Trust engages with thousands of participants from the local community, whilst looking to increase the allegiance between them and their local professional football club.

We currently have over 25 different projects that deliver activities on a weekly basis, including After School Clubs, Soccer Centres, Early Years Football, In Schools Coaching, Boys and Girls Centres for Excellence, an extensive Disability Programme, Extra Time Sessions, Walking Football, Football Education Programme, and Football Fans in Training.’

Here at CAP2, we know just how much an online presence is important in today’s sports course world, with hundreds of our customers taking social media by the scruff of the neck. Jon believes the continued success of the trust is only aided by their large amount of online content.
‘Currently we have a website for the Trust  www.stfitc.co.uk  which we are in the realms of refreshing, and we also promote through Facebook and a Twitter Page. These are updated daily with items of interest, things to look forward to or advertisements for future courses, sessions or events.

We promote our activities through the local press, and use flyers and posters which are distributed around the local area and schools, as well as posting on our social media outlets. Free initiatives, such as In Schools Coaching or Taster Sessions are also a good practical way of attracting new participants.’

With so many thousands of participants, the trust is now looking for new horizons, with some exciting developments in store. Our final question to Jon; what does the future hold for Swindon’s Football in the Community Trust?

‘We’re going through planning permission to build a state of the art Community Club Hub Facility with 3G pitch on the County Ground Extension, adjacent to the Football Club. This has been a long term aspiration for the Trust and this would allow us to have a fantastic new facility in the heart of Swindon, where we can further enhance and develop opportunities.’

Looking to go back to the CAP2 Football page? Go there!

It’s clearly a hugely exciting time for the trust. We hope that hearing from Jon has given you some food for thought on your own sports courses. We’d like to thank Jon for his time and wish STFC FITC all the best for the future.

For more Club2Club newsletters, visit your favourites below:

Our interview with Exeter City FC
Our interview with Team Bath Tennis 
Our interview with Exeter Chiefs Rugby
Our interview with Gloucestershire Cricket Board

Meet our charities

This week’s newsletter is all about charity!

‘The smallest act of kindness is greater than the grandest intention.’ Oscar Wilde

We might have grand intentions here at CAP2, but we know that’s not enough. We give small acts of kindness to our three charities. Find out all about the 3 great organisations below!

Darla Grey
This year we’re acting like fools for Street Games. On Thursday the 19th of October the CAP2 team will be exploring Bath whilst recreating scenes from the ministry of silly walks, annoying the public, and all rounding acting very silly to raise money to help change lives, communities and sport.
read more >>
Justin Greene
Who wouldn’t want to do some good with a piece of cake in hand!?!

We might be cake-lovers anyway, but we’re also big supporters of Macmillan cancer support. So combining the two is a yearly ritual here at CAP2. You can find out how you can get involved with Macmillan at the link below.

read more >>
Dee Smith
So, we’ve got 2 elephants representing us as a company and product; it’s only fair that we give something back. WWF is the world’s leading independent conservation organisation who are determined to ensure that people and nature can thrive together!
read more >>

Here at CAP2 we think it’s important to keep you up to date with all the new regulations regarding GDPR. This article will give you a brief understanding of GDPR regulations, how it will impact your business, and what you can be thinking about now to ensure your organisation is ready in time for May 2018.

GDPR.png

 


The EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) come into force on the 25th of May, 2018, overhauling the data protection regulations to meet the needs of the digital world.

GDPR maintains the same data protection principles as the Data Protection Act, but brings in higher standards for fairness, lawfulness and transparency, purpose limitation, data minimisation, data quality, security and integrity. Accountability is key; requiring companies to demonstrate that they comply with the principles across their business.

The government has confirmed that the UK’s decision to leave the EU will not affect the commencement of the GDPR.

 

Why do we need these revised regulations?

Due to the growth of the internet and changes in behavioural advertising and social media, personal data is now being used in ways that were not envisaged at the time the current EU Directive was drafted making it not fit for purpose. There is a public led, political impetus for stronger data protection resulting in the need for GDPR.

 

What is CAP2 doing to keep pace with GDPR changes?

We’ve already made a commitment to our customers that we will help them meet the requirements of this legislation ahead of May 2018.

As part of this work, we are working on building and releasing new versions of our products that are being built according to the ‘Privacy by Design’ principle enabling our customers to fulfil their duties in adhering to EU GDPR. These proposed changes will be reviewed with a specialist GDPR lawyer, to ensure correct and complete interpretation of the law.

At the moment, it looks like CoursePro will only need some small tweaks to align with the GDPR legislation – facilitating our customers’ ability to be compliant with the GDPR. Don’t worry – we’ll keep you up to date if there are any scheduled software updates.

 

What you need to do?

Customers should review all existing processes in place within their organisations that relate to the storage and use of casual and member data. In particular, consider areas relating to:

  • Consent – it should be possible to trace and identify what an individual has consented to, as well as the time and method of consent. This consent could cover joining information, health data, and marketing preferences. It should also be possible for a member to change preferences or withdraw consent easily.
  • Security of data – Make sure your CoursePro passwords are made secure.
  • Capture of childrens’ data – the GDPR states that parental/guardian consent for access to online services is required for children – in the UK <13 years old. This means that as an operator, you need to consider how you are currently targeting memberships or activities for children – are the children being targeted to sign up or the parents?
  • Archiving and deletion of end customer data – it is worth re-examining both the length of time you need to retain casual and member data and the way that you store this.
  • Analytics, anonymization, and profiling – cookies should be treated as personal data and require consent – cookies set for different purposes may need separate consent. For your own websites, consider whether you have cookie consent exemption, automatic anonymization of visitor id, respect for DoNotTrack preferences, and opt-in/out on any privacy policy pages.

 

It should be emphasised that CoursePro software alone cannot make an operator compliant as the regulation applies to all processes and practices performed by operators. However, we aim to ensure that by upgrading to our latest GDPR ready versions; will enable customers to build compliant practices within their organisations more easily to fulfil the main areas covered by the legislation.

Additional resources from the Information Commissioners Office are available at https://ico.org.uk/

Just so you know,

We know that communication about this subject is important. So we’ll keep you up to date with all CoursePro related GDPR updates regularly.

Here at CAP2, we’re always looking for new ways to be useful!

It’s why we’ve teamed up with The Pool Cover. Our new partnership with the swimming industry’s premier jobs network is helping to bring more swim schools and teachers closer together.

The Pool cover not only enable teachers to find their dream jobs from around the UK and Ireland, but also help swim schools to find their perfect teachers!

Dan Haywood, our GM here at CAP2 is excited about the new partnership.

‘CAP2 as an organisation is a little different to your average software company. We work in this industry to the benefit of sports clubs and that really is our complete focus. If there’s a way that we can help sports clubs grow, improve and generate increased participation, then we quite simply have to get involved! That help is obvious in our software, but we’re happy to help in other ways too. We’ve got lots of people reading our weekly newsletter to learn best practices and top tips, and partnerships such as with Swim England, Zoggs, Royal Life Saving Society, Gofest and now The Pool Cover are really all about promoting a way forward for sports providers to help improve their businesses, whether that be through participation, new schemes & projects or the inner workings of a business. We simply want to help!’

CoursePro’s market leading position gives us great insight into the world of swimming. With 1000s of swim school sites using the software to help improve admin, engagement, interaction, retention and more, we’re able to give help and advice, whilst aiding swim providers to share ideas, something that Chris Watson, The Pool Cover’s co-founder is also deeply passionate about:

‘We are excited for the future of swimming and hope that together we can achieve our mission of creating more opportunities for those wanting to learn how to swim. In partnering with CAP2 we believe that our strategy and vision as a technology-led business can help bring the aquatics industry into the new digital era.’

We’re delighted to be working together for the benefit of all in the swimming industry and look forward to jointly improving the way swim schools work. We’ll be sharing lots more on the outcome of our new partnership over coming months.

To find out more about our new partners, visit their site at https://thepoolcover.co.uk/