Entrepreneurially minded couple Simon and Abby Austin are excelling as Stagecoach Performing Arts franchisees
Like most parents, Simon and Abby Austin only want the best for their theatre arts obsessed nine-year-old daughter, Sophie. That’s why they took her to Stagecoach Performing Arts classes when she turned four.
But the limit to their dreams for their daughter knows no bounds, as they now look to create a better future for her, and others like her, by operating their respective Stagecoach schools in Pontefract and Garforth & Selby.
Simon says: “As a Stagecoach franchisee, there’s no limit to earning potential or where you can take your franchise.”
Before taking over operations of Stagecoach Pontefract in autumn 2018, Simon was a self-employed driving instructor. The tireless routine and constant pressure to make ends meet meant he often found himself dreaming of a less limiting career.
“I started looking into franchising as a business opportunity,” Simon explains. “I soon realised how well my skill set would complement a career as a franchise owner and discovered the earning potential too.
“As luck would have it, we got chatting to the franchisee at Stagecoach Pontefract, where Sophie had been a student for five years, and they were looking to sell up.
“Both Abby and I had been chaperoning events for as long as we could remember, so we were both invested in the brand and often commented on what an enjoyable job it must be.”
Proven and refined
For over 30 years, the Stagecoach model has been proven and refined to become one of the UK’s leading performing arts opportunities. 50,000 children worldwide flock to classes every week.
Today, a network of more than 350 franchisees operate over 2,000 schools and classes in eight countries.
Simon’s admiration for the Stagecoach brand, coupled with his ability to excel as a business owner, caught the attention of the franchise team. Abby also came with a whole host of relevant skills, as an English teacher and special educational needs coordinator at a local high school.
In the groove
Back in his territory, Simon found his groove as a business owner and the couple soon found themselves looking to capitalise on Simon’s standing in the marketplace. When the opportunity arose for Abby to invest in her own franchise, just 10 months after Simon joined the network, the entrepreneurially minded couple jumped at the chance.
Abby says: “Simon’s experience of running Pontefract reaffirmed our belief that Stagecoach offers franchisees the chance to run a long-term and profitable business. We both have such confidence in the model and get so much satisfaction out of being principals - professionally and personally.
“Stagecoach sets children up with so many important life skills - how to hold a conversation with an adult, lead a group and speak up when it’s needed. It teaches them humility, compassion and patience, but most of all it gives them confidence in their own abilities.”
At a glance Stagecoach Performing Arts
Number of franchised outlets: 450
Location of units: across the UK
Investment range: total investment of £27,000 for a new franchise. Resales between £30,000-£450,000
Minimum required capital: £9,000
Contact: franchiserecruitment@ stagecoachfranchise.com. +44 (0)1483 247 400 stagecoachfranchise.com