A brief history of Little Steps gym
Little Steps Gym was started in 1993 by Tracey Griggs. At the
time Tracey had a three year old son attending the local
playgroup. Tracey needed to work but also wanted to spend
time with her son. The ideal solution appeared to be working
for herself but within a child based company. Tracey started
with one site and then opened a second site after which she
decided to franchise the business. In June 2007 the business
changed hands to Karen Hoare and Tracey Stephens.
My name is Karen Hoare and I bought my franchise in the
summer of 2000. I have two grown up daughters, two
grandchildren and another grandchild on the way! Before
buying my franchise I ran a pre-school on the NATO base in
Portugal for three years where my husband was serving at the
time in the Royal Navy. Having run my franchise for seven
years I was extremely excited about being given the
opportunity to become the franchisor with all the new
challenges this will bring.
My name is Tracey Stephens. I am married with two grown
up children and two younger children. I have worked within
the child sector for many years in various settings and ran a
successful toddler group for two and a half years. I met
Karen in September 2002 when I joined her gym classes
with my two youngest children. I am very much looking
forward to the new challenges at Little Steps Gym Ltd.
What is Franchising?
•Franchising offers an excellent opportunity for you to be
in business for yourself. When you hear the word
‘Franchising’ you probably think of fast food restaurants
such as Burger King, McDonalds's or Wimpy. The truth is
franchising is so much wider than that.
There are franchises available in almost every business
area that you could think of, in all price ranges, from one
man/woman operations to large multi-national enterprises
employing thousands of people.
•Compared with starting your own
business from scratch franchising
can provide a relatively safer route
into self employment. The
franchisor has done it all many
times before and can, therefore,
help you eliminate all the mistakes
you almost probably would make if
you tried to do it all yourself.
•A franchise can offer a successful
business concept, proven market
and operation methods, ongoing
support and an established identity
A successful franchise relationship is like a partnership.
It combines your talent with the experience and
knowledge of the franchisor.
With franchising you are in business for yourself
not by yourself
Franchisors not only have sound training programs but also
knowledge of financial requirements and marketing -
knowledge that might take you years to acquire on your own.
•Why do Companies Franchise?
For a company with a successful service or product to
offer, franchising is the ideal way of expanding and
creating a corporate image nationwide.
•Why should I consider franchising?
There are many individuals who, like yourself want
to be their own boss. They see no long term
security in working for someone else, and feel that
their potential income will always be limited as an
•Franchising offers these individuals
an opportunity to break free and own
their own business whilst minimizing
the risk that is inherent in opening an
entirely new business from scratch.
•Franchising allows you to follow a tried and tested
business system which greatly improves your
chance of success, as the statistics prove.
Remember Little Steps gym has been in operation
successfully for 14 years.
What are the Benefits?
•Franchising first became a recognized force in the
UK during the 1970s
According to a survey carried out in 1995 by the National
Westminster Bank and the British Franchise Association,
the overall turnover of the franchise industry in 1995 was
estimated at 5.9 billion, a 7 per cent increase on 1994,
with the number of business format franchising systems
growing to 474, up by 14 per cent since 1994.
The 25,700 individual franchised units in the UK are
growing to give a total employment in the sector of more
than 220,000 of which 24 per cent are women. This
makes franchising larger than the energy sector and
almost as big as the whole of the armed forces.
•It is a sad but true fact that
Still trading only one in five of all new
trading businesses started in the UK
completely from scratch, will
be trading in five years time.
•Compare this with franchising
which has a success rate of 90%.
This means there are obvious
advantages to buying a franchise
over starting up on your own. Not
only are you more likely to succeed,
but also you have the freedom of
self employment. When you need
help, guidance and advice is always
available from the franchisor.
The Little Steps Franchise Concept
To provide fitness classes for children from six months to 7
years old, running termly in conjunction with school terms,
including half term breaks. Classes take on a different
theme each week and are broken into 3 or 4 age groups,
•Steps babies classes are for the 6 to 15 months age
group and aim to encourage early movement and co-
ordination using nursery rhymes, simple songs, hand held
equipment such as balls and quoits. Classes are 45
minutes long and are attended with an adult.
•Steps Toddlers classes are for the 15 month to 3 years
age group. They have more structure and help to build the
child's concentration. The base is the same as above but
with more difficult elements, including the use of climbing
equipment. Certificates and badges are awarded in this
age group as an incentive. Classes are 45 minutes long
and are attended with an adult.
•Steps Kids classes are for the 3 to 5 year age group. In
this group the B.A.G.A scheme is the base for the classes,
building on skills already learnt. At this age the aim is to
make exercise fun with a simple gymnastic base.
Certificates are gained in these classes and are from a
recognized scheme run by many schools and play groups.
Classes are 45 minutes long and are attended without an
•Steps Club classes are for the 5 to 7 year age group.
•.Children's Parties. Hire of the equipment for children's
parties, with or without a coach to entertain.
•Special Holiday Events. Classes or fun sessions held
out of the normal term times.
Low Start up Costs £9,500
“The business has a highly formed concept and a
sound business base. The franchise package
includes everything required to open and run a
Little Steps Gym®”
“there are no hidden extras.”
•Comprehensive Training Programme
•Tried and tested methods
•Personal web page
•The gym equipment
•Local publicity campaign
•On going guidance in the years to come
What you get for your money
The business has a highly formed concept and a sound
business base. The franchise package includes everything
required to open and run the business, there are no hidden
•Training is tailored to individual needs, if you need more help
on the database then that’s what you’ll get. Training takes place
primarily at Portsmouth with additional training at your base.
•The gym equipment is very versatile and we will advise you as
to the best equipment to suit your venue.
•Business stationery is personalized to your franchise and
includes day to day paperwork and marketing formats.
•Business Database this software runs the administration of the
business and will assist you with marketing and costing. (You
will need your own computer to operate the data management
•Tried and tested methods. The Little Steps gym franchise is
tried and tested, we have been through all the pit falls so we're
on hand to give you advise and guidance when you need it
•On going guidance in the years to come. As your business
grows your needs change and we will be on hand to give advise
as you build your own Little Steps gym.
•Also included are the following:
Business signage - Outside your venue
Personal web page - Updated as required
Business insurance - First full year
Franchise licence – Five year agreement
Local publicity campaign - Tailored to your area
What’s the Next Step?
If you are serious about working for yourself and
applying for a Little Steps Franchise there are a
number of steps we suggest you take.
•Talk to your bank: they offer free
advice so take advantage of it. All
the major high street banks hold
details about Little Steps, tell your
bank manager to contact their
franchise department. Alternatively
our bank would be happy to assist
you. If you would like to speak to
them we will supply their details.
• or DTI-Small business advisor
•Premises: Look into the availability of halls in your
area. There are an abundance of Scout halls, Church
halls and Community centres which are unused during
the day.We can help and advise about venues, and will
be happy to view them with you.
•British Franchise Association : Contact the BFA who
publish an information pack about Franchising
•Full application : fill in a full application and
sign a Declaration of Secrecy document.
Contact Little Steps on 023 9234 0707 or
Useful contact details
Franchisees names and contact numbers
Karen Hoare Portsmouth, 023 9242 2393
Sue Ali Enfield 020 8481 1485
Karen Dyos Leigh-on-sea 01702 716733
Thao Lam Lichfield &
Pelsall 01922 448133
Sam Briggs Harlow & 01279 629630
Tracey Griggs Chalfont St Giles 01753 674150
HSBC Bank plc
8 Canada Square
Tel: 020 7991 0159