Haverford Swim Lessons

2022 Haverford Dr, Troy, MI 48098
(248) 550-8303
www.haverfordswimlessons.com

  • Initial Situation

    Small business owner and lifetime swimmer Fuzail Ahmed had a burst of inspiration in early May 2020 to get his business started, soon after the first wave of the COVID-19. He knew that there was a high demand for swim lessons in the area, especially outdoor lessons given the threat of COVID-19. And unfortunately, the other large community pools nearby were not offering these lessons, or they were only offering them for private club members. After having read a few books and watched videos on entrepreneurship, he contacted his best friend Ricardo, with a pitch to create a small swim lessons business out of his backyard pool on 2022 Haverford Drive in Troy, MI.
  • How the SBDC helped

    The Michigan SBDC and Senior Business Consultant Kay Reisen helped Haverford with its business plan, licensing and growth strategies, and more to help the business navigate through COVID-19 and achieve success.
  • Success

    Since starting this business, Ricardo and Fuzail have been able to figure out what career paths they want to follow, and have also gained the financial resources to take advantage of new opportunities that were not available to them before. This spring, Ricardo will be taking a class on sustainability in Copenhagen Denmark, and Fuzail was able to participate in a swim training in Miami over the past winter. None of this would have been possible without the resources and opportunities that have come out of this business. It has enabled them to meet many new and interesting people, and grow so much in their communication skills and understanding of business.

Tired of low wages and a lack of fulfillment at their low-wage summer jobs, high school junior Fuzail Ahmed had a burst of inspiration in early May 2020.

The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic was just starting to recede, which came a plethora of new opportunities to learn and grow. He had been a swimmer his whole life, and had just concluded his third season on the University of Detroit Jesuit swim team, starting recruiting for universities. He knew that there was a high demand for swim lessons in the area, especially outdoor lessons given the threat of COVID-19. And unfortunately, the other large community pools nearby were not offering these lessons, or they were only offering them for private club members. After having read a few books and watched videos on entrepreneurship, he contacted his best friend Ricardo, with a pitch to create a small swim lessons business out of his backyard pool on 2022 Haverford Drive in Troy, MI. Instantly, Ricardo loved the idea and was on board.

The two of them created the business that month, and it instantly took off. It worked out perfectly, because they were both avid swimmers and very outgoing. Fuzail had experience teaching swim lessons with another large swim school, and Ricardo had lots of experience lifeguarding. Together, they were the perfect storm, offering solely individual swim lessons centered around the student, without any explicit curriculum to restrict them in helping their students grow. Ever since the very first lesson on June 23, 2020, the business has seen success after success. That first year, they grew to have 50 students and three employees, and after 2021 they had 150 students and 8 employees. This year, they are projected to have over 200 students, and are hoping to have 12 employees as well as begin private lessons at peoples homes, and find a potential franchise.

As the business has grown, so have Fuzail and Ricardo. Fuzail now is an incoming sophomore student-athlete at Kalamazoo college, both swimming and playing golf while pursuing a dual-degree in Political Science and Business. Ricardo, meanwhile, is an incoming sophomore BBA student at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. Both of them continue to grow every day, and have taken on a third manager onto the team, Mikayla Rondeau, a childhood friend of both and an incoming sophomore at Michigan State University.

Throughout their growth and development as a business, Ricardo and Fuzail have maintained a commitment to prioritizing their boutique business style of having a relationship with each and every client. So far, every client has been impressed by the immense growth that all Haverford students experience. This is only possible through the one-on-one lesson model that Ricardo and Fuzail continue to foster. While group lessons would be much more profitable, they are not as efficient or fun for the students. With the individual private lesson model, students are able to have a fun experience learning how to swim, and also get the full attention of a qualified instructor. When asked about their lessons, clients have a lot to say. Gillian Benacquisto said, of her son Anthony,

“Anthony came in with no swim experience whatsoever. By the end of the year he was comfortable in the water alone and was starting to swim independently!! As a mom this helped relieve so much stress, that he can now swim unsupervised. Fuzail and Ricardo are to thank for this. They have great patience with the younger kids and are great at redirecting! We will be back next year!!” Additionally, Rebecca Powrozek says “We are thrilled with the experience for both children. They improved in a couple months – faster than I have ever seen them make progress anywhere else!”

Clearly, this is a blooming business model, and Ricardo and Fuzail have high hopes for the future. Even though they both have a limited time left directly working with the business,

they hope to pass it down to Fuzail’s younger brother, Umair, an incoming junior in high school. Armed with all of the knowledge and resources that the business has now, Fuzail knows that the business is in good hands for the future. And Fuzail and Ricardo will continue to have a passive role in helping maintain the business and contributing towards its growth as they go off to get internships and enter the workforce.

The community has only grown closer as a result of this business. Neighbors walk to 2022 Haverford Drive, kids get lessons together and become friends, and parents grow closer, sitting on the pool deck and talking to each other. The staff at Haverford often go to local cafes after work, and have befriended staff members there too. All of the friends and family of the staff know about the business, and promote it in their own ways. Word spreads about the positive impact of the business, as well as its effectiveness, and clients naturally are inclined to sign up. The atmosphere that Fuzail and Ricardo have created is one that makes people want to come to work, or want to learn how to swim. How do they do it?

“We pay well, treat our workers, students and clients well, and have a sustainable business model that we know will thrive for years to come. If clients are unable to pay full price, we work around that. We make sure to put people over profit,” Ricardo says.

Additionally, they create special accommodations for any children needing additional assistance. It is truly a great place to learn how to swim, or to get the opportunity to work a summer job.

“None of this would have been possible without the helpful guidance of Kay Reisen, Senior Business Consultant, MI-SBDC. Since Winter 2021, Ms. Reisen has helped Haverford with its business plan, licensing and growth strategies. “I don’t know how I could have done it without the MI-SBDC,” Ricardo says. “Its counselors are truly a blessing for our community, and I am so thankful that Oakland County provides such an essential service.”

Since starting this business, Ricardo and Fuzail have been able to figure out what career paths they want to follow, and have also gained the financial resources to take advantage of new opportunities that were not available to them before. This spring, Ricardo will be taking a class on sustainability in Copenhagen Denmark, and Fuzail was able to participate in a swim training in Miami over the past winter. None of this would have been possible without the resources and opportunities that have come out of this business. It has enabled them to meet many new and interesting people, and grow so much in their communication skills and understanding of business. Ricardo said that

“This business has been the highlight of my summer for the past two years, and I am so excited to see where we take it this year.”

They are always looking for new creative ideas of ways to grow and develop the business, as well as constructive criticism on how to improve their customer experience.

Interested in more information? Feel free to check out their website or email them at haverfordswimlessons2021@gmail.com. They also have social media, on Facebook +Haverford Swim Lessons and on Instagram @haverfordswimlessons. Demand is high right now for swim lessons, so make sure to get in touch soon!

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