“Nobody will pay for Karate classes in here, you need to get a proper job!” these were the words of encouragement from my mum upon hearing my decision to return home and open a full time Martial Arts centre. Thankfully I didn’t listen and now boast 2 full time centres in Coalville and Barwell in Leicestershire, with over 400 active students between them.
Right from the start I wanted Stealth to break the mould of your typical Martial Arts club. Being a lifelong Rugby fan and playing for the RAF national squad, I knew that the social side was equally as important as the playing side. It is on this principle that my team and I have forged the club we have today. We not only have a thriving club but we have a buzzing social scene too, which gives us a great family feel. We have our own fully licensed bar and café and we even have a kiddies play barn (Little Ninja generator) that is open during the day.
Stealth teaches my own brand of Martial arts, incorporating Traditional Karate, Sport Karate and Kickboxing. We also have a thriving pre-school Little Ninjas programme.
Initially the club was very tournament focused, but I soon came to realise that by being so, we were limiting our growth and hindering the progression of the majority of the students. We now focus on teaching the students Martial Arts rather than concentrating on the sport side and in turn are holding true to our mission statement of “building better adults”, producing some very gifted and athletic Black Belts.
Having opted to do my own billing via standing order when I was part time, I knew only too well that this was not going to be a viable option when I went full-time. I was introduced to Gerard, and can honestly say have never looked back.
Initially I saw NEST as a billing company, nowadays billing is only a small part of what NEST do for Stealth and for me personally. The company is far more than just billing and had it not been for Joy, my academies would not be running now! Like a lot of people new to business, in the early days I got side tracked very easily. Joy was very quick to challenge me and after a bit of a drilling, made me realise that if I concentrated on my core business, I would not need to go off at tangents. For this, I am eternally grateful. Within 6 months of “that conversation” with NEST’S help and Joy and Gerard’s faith in me, I had turned the business around. The transition was so great that in 2007 we won NEST’s ‘Flying Colours’ competition and the prize was an all expenses paid trip to the Martial Arts Super Show in Las Vegas.
NEST has been there for me every step of the way and I don’t see them as a separate company, I see them as an extension of my company. It really is a win/win partnership – the better I do, the better they do – it’s that simple, Gerard’s advice, mentorship and guidance over the years has been invaluable and NEST’s sector experience is unmatched and with it they provide a wealth of experience and knowledge.
Moving forward, one of the things I am most excited about is working with NEST on the technology development as this is an area that I am very passionate about. We are often visited by other NEST clients as a sort of show academy and it’s great to show them how the V3 software has made such an impact on our business.
(Interview from April 2012 )