i9 Sports®

Q&A with Steve Cox, Vice President of Franchise Development at i9 Sports Pt II

Provide an overview/ description of your industry.  Include reasons why it's a great industry to start a business in today.

There are 42 million kids participating in youth sports in the United States today and, as parents seek more and more scheduled activity for their kids that number will continue to grow.  The majority of kids participating today are doing so with local organizations.  The industry  is ripe for reinvention as the current providers are operating as they did 25 years ago, while the expectations of kids and parents have changed dramatically.  Additionally, in almost every location in the United States there is one or maybe two providers at the recreational level, creating a wonderful opening for an alternative provider.

How has your industry changed in the last 10 years?  20 years?

Over the past 10-20 years kid's activities have gone from primarily unsupervised play in the backyard to having all activities scheduled and supervised as the world becomes more crowded and less safe.  Additionally, most households today are dual income or single parent, creating tight scheduling.  Finally, parents today have a much higher expectation of the level of service they receive from youth sports providers and they are willing to pay for that service.

What trends do you see in your industry over the next 5 years?  Next 10 years?

As parks and recreation and school budgets continue to be cut there will continue to be a shift to private providers for sports and recreational experiences.

What is the biggest concern about your industry that a franchisee candidate should be aware of and investigate?

This is a complicated business where you are managing the expectations of a lot of people.  It is critical that candidates enter a relationship  with a franchisor that uses technology to manage the operational aspects of the business, who has a strong infrastructure for support, and who is constantly innovating.

Why do you think your company stands out in the industry?

Superior customer service, superior technology, superior marketing, and constant innovation.

What makes your franchise/ business opportunity more attractive than your competitor's?

The level of support in developing and implementing technology, marketing, and franchisee support allowing our franchisees to provide a superior level of service and to earn a living.

Describe the ideal candidate.  Do you think your requirements are any different than your competitor's?

Yes, our requirements are different in that we are selective.  We need people with drive, great customer service skills, a track record of success, an ability to multi-task, an ability to delegate, and an ability to follow a system.

What's the strongest skill you require in a candidate?


Describe the working environment of your franchisees (indoors, home office, mobile, etc).  Is your environment typical of other companies in your industry?

Our franchisees work from home, but spend a lot of time out in the community interacting with parents, business partners, etc.

Why has you're your company been successful?

A great product, constant innovation, embracing technology, and a culture that is determined to make a difference in the lives of kids and families.

What advice would you give someone interested in buying a franchise in your industry?

Ask yourself the hard questions about your ability to own and operate a business.  Then make sure you are aligning yourself with a company that shares your values and who can provide you a level of support to succeed at a high level.  Finally, you cannot dip your toe in business ownership.  You are either all in or all out if you want to be successful, so jump in!

How much experience in this industry should a franchisee candidate have should they consider buying a franchise in your industry?

No experience needed.  If you partner with i9 Sports you can succeed with no experience.

Describe your ideal candidate

We are looking for franchise owners with drive, determination, the ability to relate to people, and who is bored with routine.  You need to be comfortable with technology and comfortable delegating to others as the business grows.  Finally, you need to be prepared to make a full-time commitment to the business as less than a full-time commitment will not equate to success.

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