You may know that Tots Play operates as a franchise, which means that each area is run as a separate business, and these businesses are run by our franchisees who are spread all across the country. While we have lots of ways to stay in touch throughout the year, there is no substitute for getting together in person, so once a year we all get together for our conference - and here we all are at this year's event which we held recently in Birmingham!
The Tots Play Family
While our franchisees get lots of support and encouragement from their family and friends at home, it's just not the same as being in a room full of people on the same business journey, people with whom you can share ideas and experiences that you can really relate to, and who won't look at you strangely when you get excited about bubble mix! (yes we are an odd bunch).
Our conference is an ideal opportunity for a good catch up with, what we refer to as, our Tots Play family, and a reminder that as a franchisee you may work for yourself, but you are never on your own, but in fact part of a bigger team, a team who are there to encourage, support and inspire you to achieve your dreams (over a cuppa of course!)
So, other than the chance for a good chat (the benefits of which should not be underestimated),what else goes on at a Tots Play conference?
Fun and Learning
Well we always like to have some fun, so this year started off with a closely contested quiz, with the lead going back and forth between the teams several times before the winners were crowned and presented with prizes.
We also try to ensure that our franchisees go away from the conference with some new knowledge to apply to their business, so include presentations, workshops and group discussions on topics such as marketing, mindset and time management, with ideas taken from what our franchisees tell us would be most helpful.
We like to learn from them too, so brainstorming ideas, discussing what is happening in their businesses day to day and getting feedback on what they would like to see happening with the company is also an important part of the day.
Company Updates and Innovations
There is always lots of news to share from HQ, reviewing the year so far and updating everyone on what's coming next. We explained some of the projects we have been working on centrally, to keep improving what we do and what we can offer our customers, and plans for how these will be introduced at a local level in the coming months.
We also celebrated winning several awards this year including the What's On 4 Kids Best Franchised Baby and Toddler Activity, and the part that everyone played in that achievement, and no-one could resist a picture with the award itself to take home!
Training on New Elements of the Programme
Following the company updates and a delicious hot lunch, it was time for some training on new elements being added to the Tots Play programme for the new year and that meant getting everyone up and moving! Here we are learning just one of the new songs that will be coming to classes soon.
We always aim to invite along one or more speakers to the conference to share their expertise and provide a dose of inspiration and this year we had the wonderful Jane Maudsley from Little Voices.
Not only did she give us lots of fantastic practical tips for running a successful business while juggling a family (which we could all relate to very well), but also inspired us with her story of all the obstacles she has had to overcome to achieve the success she has. We came away with a determination to get clear on what we wanted for the coming year and to make sure we put concrete plans in place to reach those milestones, what Jane describes as "landing our planes".
Planning Ahead and Totsy Antics!
There is always a lot to take in and think about at the conference, so we always leave a few minutes at the end of the day for our franchisees to reflect on what they have learned and jot down some key actions they want to take forward into their individual businesses once they get back home.
Our lovable mascot, Totsy Monkey, likes to take the time to gather together with his brothers and cousins for a few antics and selfies too!
See You Next Year!
The day of the conference always seems to fly by, but there is time for a more relaxed catch up over dinner in the evening.
All too soon though it's time to say goodbye and for our franchisees to take everything they have gained from the day back to their own corner of the country ready to bring it all to the classes and services they bring to their local families everyday, and it's time for us at HQ to start planning for next year!
Would you like to be there with us? Why not take the first step to finding out if bringing our popular programme of developmental play classes for babies and toddlers to your local area could be just the right opportunity for you, by requesting more information HERE, and we could be welcoming you along to our conference next year too!
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