Stagecoach newcomer already breaking records
Just seven months after launching his Faringdon-based franchise, James Barker has cemented his place as the fastest growing franchisee in the history of the Stagecoach network.
Since September 2016, James’s dedication and passion for his business has seen him open and fill not one but four schools in his territory, exceed all his original financial projections and achieve the work-life balance that he so dearly craved for his young family.
At Stagecoach’s annual conference in February 2017, James was awarded ‘Newcomer of the Year’ in recognition of his achievements. Whilst he’s proud of his financial success, James says it’s the personal rewards that make his business even more valuable.
“I was delighted with my award; I have a 10-year plan for my business and this gave me an extra vote of confidence that I was heading in the right direction. I get much more than financial rewards though. ‘Creative Courage for Life’ is a phrase used in our marketing but anyone involved in Stagecoach can see it’s not just a slogan. I’ve seen our students grow in confidence and when their parents tell me how they have transformed at school and socially, it’s something special.
“On a personal level, I’ve achieved that flexibility I was craving. I work around the school run and Sunday is reserved as family day - and nothing gets in the way of that! We’ve just had holiday number one at Butlins, we are away for holiday number two in the coming weeks and have booked our Summer vacation too.”
For almost 30 years, the Stagecoach model has been proven and refined to become one of the UK's leading performing arts opportunities. Franchisees build a team of equally passionate and enthusiastic teachers, qualified to bring out the very best in their students. Stagecoach schools provide a thriving, nurturing and supportive environment for creative learning. That’s just one of the reasons why 40,000 children every week flock to classes nationwide.
Today, a network of more than 300 franchisees operate over 650 schools offering 1,645 classes in eight countries. Through an exciting and varied framework of teaching and development, franchisees have helped to unlock the potential of more than one million students!
“We’re delighted for James, his family and the hundreds of children he’s already helping to grow in ability and confidence. We’re excited to see where he’ll be this time next year. One thing’s for sure, he’s a shining example of our brand, our values and the opportunity for success that the franchise presents,” says Andy Knights, Chief Operating Officer at Stagecoach.
Before joining Stagecoach, James spent seven years with Warner Leisure Hotels as the Director of Entertainment across the UK. The demanding role meant that he would often spend four or five nights a week away from home. When their two children came along, James’ busy corporate lifestyle combined with his partners shift work with the NHS proved far from ideal. After hearing about the Stagecoach franchise from a friend, James quickly realised this was the opportunity to change his life, and the lives of others, for the better.
Stagecoach has already become something of a family affair! Spurred on by his success, James’ sister-in-law, Kristie, a senior events manager in London, decided to buy the franchise in Salisbury when it came up for resale. And when it comes to the future, James plans to make the most of his family-friendly business and has no intention of resting on his laurels!
“Now I’m nearing the end of my second term, I need to decide if I will expand again at my current schools, start a school in another location within my territory or take on a second territory that borders my first. Whatever happens, I know I have a great business that fits my lifestyle with a solid support team in the background.”
If you have a passion for performing arts education and the drive to change not just your own life but the lives of others, find out more about Stagecoach by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to interview James about his Newcomer of the Year award, please contact Rev PR.
Image available: James receiving his award - from left to right: Andy Knights, Director at Stagecoach and James Barker.