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Franchise watch: Little Kickers comes of age!

Franchise watch: Little Kickers comes of age!

The premier children’s football franchise celebrates its 18th anniversary

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With the company’s 18th anniversary approaching in a few months’ time, the team at Little Kickers has a lot to celebrate! From humble beginnings running classes for her two-year-old son, Lukas, and his friends in South London, Christine and her team have grown the business beyond recognition and classes are now attended by over 70,000 children around the world each week.

It’s a model that many have since tried to copy, but Little Kickers has somehow managed to find the “secret sauce” that has enabled the network to successfully expand to more than 330 franchisees in over 30 countries. So what’s the secret?

“There’s no secret” laughs Christine, the founder, “everyone has just worked really hard! We’re lucky that our business attracts great people who are motivated by passion. Our role at head office is to develop the infrastructure, systems, and program to make the franchisees’ lives as easy as possible, so they can focus on the fun bits of running their businesses – like integrating classes into the local community and making sure to provide the very best quality of coaching to the kids.”

“There’s no secret – everyone has just worked really hard!”

So after 18 years, is there any sign of the business slowing down? Not with CEO Alan Kennedy at the helm! Having joined the company in March 2018, Little Kickers has undergone perhaps the most comprehensive change program in its history over the past 18 months. The network has moved on to the Salesforce CRM platform and a monthly recurring payment model has been successfully introduced. Marketing has switched almost entirely to digital and has been outsourced to Sparkgrowth, the franchise specialist agency, and a badge system has been introduced which enables parents to clearly identify the developmental skills their children are learning every three months and for the Little Kickers to be rewarded for their achievements.

Alan comments: “No-one likes change and introducing such a broad set of initiatives so early in my tenure as CEO was a challenge. But the franchisees responded really well and we’re now seeing the impact of the new measures on their businesses, and it’s safe to say that Little Kickers is really reaping the rewards of the change in program.”

So what’s next for Little Kickers? In addition to working with the existing franchisees to promote growth, the company is focusing on expanding its network through unit franchise sales in five key markets: the U.K., Germany, Spain, Mexico, and India. There are also exciting plans in the pipeline for a shift to an increased range of merchandise through an interactive online shop, and a push to become the most eco-friendly football club in the world.


Established: 2002
Number of franchised outlets: 330 globally
Location of units: Mexico, Spain, Germany, India, and the U.K.
Investment range: Mexico $15,000, Spain €17,000, Germany €15,000, U.K. £15,000
Minimum required capital: $20,000 - $30,000
Contact: or +44 7860 846578

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