James Barker has certainly taken centre stage since launching his first franchise seven months ago.
He has cemented his place as the fastest growing franchisee in the history of the Stagecoach network by opening four schools in the Faringdon area.
Since September 2016, James’s dedication and passion for his business has led to him exceeding all his original financial projections and achieving the work-life balance he craved for his young family.
At the performing arts group’s annual conference in February, 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.
He said: “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.”
Stagecoach chief operating officer Andy Knights said: “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.”
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 partner’s shift work with the NHS proved far from ideal. After hearing about the Stagecoach franchise from a friend, James realised this was the opportunity to change his life, and the lives of others, for the better.
He added: “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.”
Stagecoach operates more than 650 performing arts school across the UK which has helped unlock the potential of more than one million students.
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
– Alex Iszatt