With most of the country’s economy shut down right now, it seems that all retail services businesses are nearly at ground zero of the economic impact zone of the crisis. Businesses that require person-to-person interaction to generate revenue are some of the hardest-hit businesses. They have gone from record-breaking revenues in our “service economy” to zero revenue overnight. The Swim School industry absolutely is in this category.
So how then can we as leaders of Streamline Brands, the largest swim school franchisor in the US, be optimistic regarding the future of our Swim School business? It comes down to 6 primary drivers:
- 1. We teach a life-saving skill: There is a big difference between a swim school and other retail service industries. That difference centers on the fact that a swim school teaches a critical life-saving skill that 8 of 10 parents believe are essential to the safety, development, and well-being of their child. It is a practical certainty that children will NEED to be taught how to swim year in and year out. At some point, this essential activity will return as an essential part of a child’s weekly routine.
- 2. Franchise sales are rocking: We just closed another exceptional quarter for franchise sales with 17 locations sold across 5 states. It is not a secret that in recessionary times interest in franchise businesses increases, as many are looking for ways to control their destiny and pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. The response we have seen to our concept in the franchising space has been exceptional during one of the bleakest times in our country’s history.
- 3. Outstanding leadership: In times of great challenge you learn about the character of those you associate with. This can be applied to your colleagues, your friends, and your leaders. I’m deeply proud of the leadership, guidance, and support our team at Streamline has provided to our franchisees. Our franchisees are proud as well. They have been very complimentary and appreciative of the guidance they have received and generally believe they will exit the crisis stronger than they were when they entered.
- 4. An exceptional team of franchisees: Speaking of franchisees, this crisis has reiterated to us how strong the intellect, passion, capability, and sense of community is across our network of franchisees. The statement, “we are all in this together” has never been truer. A franchise system with a strong group of happy and passionate franchisees is a strong indicator of optimism for the future.
- 5. Social distancing is a concept that is common to us with private lessons: As the new normal starts to become apparent, we are all looking for ways to socially distance. It is relatively straightforward for swim schools to put socially distant policies in place via private lessons. In a 1:1 instruction model with our instructors properly protected with PPE and a well-maintained chlorinated pool, our customers will have the ability to enjoy our services with as little risk as possible.
- 6. Construction costs are falling: With commodity prices dropping significantly and unemployment rates at an all-time high, the prospects for construction prices for new swim school facilities look to be advantageous. On a relative construction cost basis, there may not have ever been a better time to build a new swim school!
I have said it before and will say it again, even in the middle of the COVID19 crisis - “swim schools are hot”! The perspective I have now more than ever is swim schools are a necessary business that provides an essential service – the life skill of swimming. We have amazing individuals with in our system and continue to have opportunities for more to join us. If you have a passion for kids, and a passion to realize your dream of owning your own business, contact us at Streamline Brands. The future is bright.
Streamline Brands, CEO