Blog

In 2005 Johan resigns from his position at a big Danish media company. His goal is to grow his and his partners own IT company. While working on and developing KeepTrack he also takes on the position as the CEO for Swimmix. He stays with the plan and make sure we keep on structuring, tightening up and streamlining the back bone of the business. The search for new locations starts.

We grow in our existing facilities, more than 90% of our customers stay with us term after term. We change to meet their needs. They want to stay and we love that they do. So when signed up they are enrolled and only need to give us notice if they aren't able to continue swimming. That is a huge positive for all, less stress for families so they are happy, we save time and get a lot better season planning and customer service so we are happy too. Again an idea sparkled from great managers and big swim schools around the world. Thank you!

During our visit to Carlile Swim Schools in Australia we see and experience their On-Deck team, we love the idea. But staff is both very expensive and heavy on regulations in Scandinavia and is even more challenging in a field were there isn't a custom to pay for quality and the actual cost (children's activities). But we can really see the benefits of having an On-Deck team. We discuss, make a plan and decide to invest in doubling the staff. The success criteria is that we get less administration and customers get increased service and experience. They will save time in a busy family life and get personal customer service.

In Denmark we hire our first Facility manager, Caroline Lund Filipovic, a warm and positive woman full of energy with great coaching skills. Many of the staff in Farum grew wings under her management. Thank you Caroline for your compassion, time and energy with us.

The Swedish Swim Federation organizes the WABC conference in Sweden this year. Colleagues and friends from all over the world gather in little Malmö. Part from the conference some took the opportunity to experience a Malmö custom of skinny dipping in the old 1898 Cold Bath facility “Ribersborgs Kallbadhus”. Thank you again for special and happy memories.

I redevelop our curriculum for our baby swimming teachers. During that process I hook up with a kind hearted friend and colleague, Anne Asterhäll. She knows a bit of everything and it's nice to work together in the little cabin in the woods of Blekinge. Thank you Anne for good talks, inspiration and care of a crazy workaholic.

Our swimming manuals develop even more and we need more illustrations. The energetic Mia Lundholm with her camera in hand takes all the step-by-step pictures for our baby swim manual. The pictures also end up in a photo exhibition. Some of them are still in use and it brings joy and good memories to look at them. Great job Mia and thank you.

The year ends and we have sold our house in Denmark and after 10 years in Denmark we are heading east. Over the bridge (which opened back in 2000) to Sweden.

Johan has always been very supportive and helpful, working extra hours in his free time to help out. With his skills and interest in IT, organization and structure we have been very fortunate. 
As we grow exponentially, and to be able to continue doing it, Johan understands that there is a demand for an even more efficient IT tool for customer and staff registration and information in our business. After researching the market and the existing tools he present an idea for Søren Vainio, colleague from Danish Army Special Forces, now an expert in IT and databases. They partner up and with a team of programmers KeepTrack starts it's journey. Swimmix is a very happy and thankful ginny pig in this project. Thank you Johan, Søren and your team for what you have created and for your support. To be able to have a business partner we can trust, in an area where we have very limited knowledge, and where so many state they have knowledge (but in reality don't) has ment unbelievably much to us. I have learnt to appreciate how much time you have saved us and spared us from a lot of frustration.

Strategy plan for the business includes a shared service center in Sweden with an administration that takes care of the businesses in the two countries. We switch to free and open source software (and save tens of thousands of Dollars in the progress) where everything ends up making it more efficient in administration, service and stability. For me the most important effect is that we have resources and time to focus more on what our customers experience and learn when in contact with us. 
We hire a professional photographer, Christian Petersen. He took some amazing pictures for use in ads, manuals, flyers and in the pool area. We are so happy for the images you took, you saw what we see and did the magic. Thank you to Christian and thank you to our models, Ida, Molly and Frederik and their parents. We see your faces every day and they brings smiles on our faces and happiness to us all.

During our tough years we got opportunities to gain energy and focus on being together and just enjoy good relaxed time together in life and nature. The trips and visits to Norway and my mother and father in law with long days skiing in the mountains will always have a special tune and feeling. Words can not express what that has ment to us. The visits to my wonderful sister in law, Malene and her wonderful husband Morten and their children has always meant a lot to us. The weeks every summer in The Jæger Corps where Johan is an instructor training officers in parachuting. Those weeks are always fun and being around people with so much strength and energy is just pure fuel to our minds and souls. Thank you all so so much! You have a special place in our hearts.

In December we are able to take the whole family on a adventurous trip to Australia. Kids just love the “land down under”. We also got the opportunity to see and get a guided tour by the driven managers of the Carlile Swim Schools (picture from one of the locations). We also enjoyed the tremendous hospitality and fun time together with John and Sally Coutts, Richard and Patty Cahalan and with Dave DuBois who by then commuted between New Zeeland and Australia for work. 
Energy is high and we have a better view when we are ready to jump into 2005

Surely but slowly we are recovering financially. All our efforts in cutting back gives results. Mean time we focus on “If it isn't written down... it doesn't exist.” (Lessons from the conference last year) so we write manuals and standards for pretty much everything.

One of our teachers, Renée Fredlund, also runs her own successful business in information management. Learning what that means we hire her to help us out in a huge project of sorting, clearing out, collecting and filing all our data. She tells us what to do and make sure we do it. This ends up into our IMS (Information Management System). Local data from 6 work stations is gathered and stored on one server where we have access to all of it wherever we are. That makes it efficient, secure and with adapted access for staff and their different needs. This has been a great tool for our business ever since. A warm thank you to Renée – for holding us up on the job, you are extraordinary in what you do.

In Sweden we hire our first facility manager back in 2002, Carolina Müller. Investing in and hiring a facility manager became a necessity. The success criteria was that this person is happy with and takes on the responsibility. Carolina runs the facility in Sweden and we are happy with her work. Thank you for all the years with us and the devotion you showed to us and Swimmix.

In Denmark Susanne Leegaard steps in. She is a very skilled woman in project management and marketing and with her she brings great contacts. Lisa Grut and her Bah-Buh art direction took SWIMMIX layout in her hands and transformed into a clean and more modern touch. Lisa Grut and her Bah-Buh art derection is and has been a longlasting professional, creative and debendable businesspartner. Thank you Lisa. Susanne made a lasting positive impact on me and our business – it's fantastic to meet and grow under the wings of experts. Thank you Susanne.

WABC Conference time again; this time in Hawaii and I've also learnt that NSSA has their conference right after. I sign up for both. I fly out to the tropical islands and on the way I meat up with Noa Glotter. Noa I met for the first time in january 2002 at a conference in Finland. Noa is one of the sweetest and nicest persons I've ever met and boy can she make me laugh. Noa's and my friendship grows stronger throughout the years and she is still one of my very best friends. Noa thank you for the talks, support and fun I always have with you. I love you so much and I am happy to have you in my life.

The WABC conference that year left me confused; the organizers delt with challenges which effected the previous always good atmosphere arround these conferences. Lucky for me I hadn't waisted our limited resources completely but I got the opportunity to experience the NSSA conference. And what a conference that was and what a fantastic group of people. This conference and the people speaking and attending went far beyond my expectations. Gathered here was both great leaders, successful business owners and managers, devoted teachers and all very passionate about the learn to swim business. 
This year is in many ways a turning point for us leading us further into building a healthy and strong business. We are on our way to work on the business instead of the business running us. 
Thank you to all of you who are part of the USSSA (prev. NSSA) organization thank you for letting us be a part of this extraordinary group and for all the sharing, learning and fun we have had and still have with you – for that we are for ever thankful.

In 2002 our new program with more extensive descriptions is developed. It's a 10 level program where every level is based on step-by-step learning of certain skills from baby swimming and up to a swimmer ready to start competitive swimming. A mantra is ringing in my head during development: “It has to have meaning for the child”. This is the first time I address something that will occupy my interest for years to come: “It is easy for a child to become an object in the hands of adults. If not careful you can extinguish the child's own and natural desire to explore and learn.”

We have our first birthday, 1 year - that's a big one ;) A fun day with a lot of people in the pool all day and where staff makes it that extra fun. 
We host a work shop for water aerobic teachers where the energetic Marc Johnsson takes us through a tough program – some couldn't walk properly for a week after.

We also host an exclusive 50 attendees swim conference in the end of summer - “Swim 4 Fun”. Fun fires learning and development so therefore the name. A group of incredibly experienced and talented speakers come and share their stories and knowledge with us all. Attending the conference are people that had travelled from near and far to Farum to listen, learn, share and play.

Financially it was tough, we were struggling to stay afloat. We emptied our private accounts, we sold the car and took a loan. Johan looses his hair and eyebrow from stress. We cut back on everything we can. “I wish I could look into the future I wish I knew if we are making the right decisions for us and our family. Will it be worth it?” I said to Johan. But I can not look into the future. We'll have to dare to believe, focus and work. Meanwhile when in need of a car Johan rents one from “Rent a Wreck” (oh boy how I hated it, I have a weak spot there). We suffered but we had each other!

Thank you to all the children that we have had the absolute pleasure of teaching and also thank you for all that you have tought us through the years. Thank you Dave DuBois for the idea and for being a great ambassador and speaker. Thank you to Knut Rosén for sharing your interesting work that developed into “The Natural Swim Program”. Thank you to Judy Watts for inspiring lessons and peeks into her Swim School. Thank you to John Coutts and Richard Cahalan from Carlile Swim Schools, Henrik Radich, Janine Ramsey and Dave DuBois for inspiring talks on the Business side both from the corporate side and the in and outside of the Swim School business. You Rock! And I do know everyone there gained so much from all of you. For us, what you gave us pulled us through and into a more healthy business. I am ever so grateful for your generosity in giving your time and sharing your knowledge. A special thank you to Janine Ramsey this very empathetic and intelligent woman who touched us all deeply by sharing her own story and experience and the challenges you meet in life and school when having a child with ADHD. 
It's amazing to have friends who have the ability to sparkle your own abilities. Loads of love to you all! 
Thank you to Johans uncle, Thyge Faerch who helped out financially with a loan. That helped us keep our home and business. Thank you to friends who offered to help financially, even though we say "no thank you" that trust made us feel very honored and humble.

In 2002 our new program with more extensive descriptions is developed. It's a 10 level program where every level is based on step-by-step learning of certain skills from baby swimming and up to a swimmer ready to start competitive swimming. A mantra is ringing in my head during development: “It has to have meaning for the child”. This is the first time I address something that will occupy my interest for years to come: “It is easy for a child to become an object in the hands of adults. If not careful you can extinguish the child's own and natural desire to explore and learn.”

We have our first birthday, 1 year - that's a big one ;) A fun day with a lot of people in the pool all day and where staff makes it that extra fun. 
We host a work shop for water aerobic teachers where the energetic Marc Johnsson takes us through a tough program – some couldn't walk properly for a week after.

We also host an exclusive 50 attendees swim conference in the end of summer - “Swim 4 Fun”. Fun fires learning and development so therefore the name. A group of incredibly experienced and talented speakers come and share their stories and knowledge with us all. Attending the conference are people that had travelled from near and far to Farum to listen, learn, share and play.

Financially it was tough, we were struggling to stay afloat. We emptied our private accounts, we sold the car and took a loan. Johan looses his hair and eyebrow from stress. We cut back on everything we can. “I wish I could look into the future I wish I knew if we are making the right decisions for us and our family. Will it be worth it?” I said to Johan. But I can not look into the future. We'll have to dare to believe, focus and work. Meanwhile when in need of a car Johan rents one from “Rent a Wreck” (oh boy how I hated it, I have a weak spot there). We suffered but we had each other!

Thank you to all the children that we have had the absolute pleasure of teaching and also thank you for all that you have tought us through the years. Thank you Dave DuBois for the idea and for being a great ambassador and speaker. Thank you to Knut Rosén for sharing your interesting work that developed into “The Natural Swim Program”. Thank you to Judy Watts for inspiring lessons and peeks into her Swim School. Thank you to John Coutts and Richard Cahalan from Carlile Swim Schools, Henrik Radich, Janine Ramsey and Dave DuBois for inspiring talks on the Business side both from the corporate side and the in and outside of the Swim School business. You Rock! And I do know everyone there gained so much from all of you. For us, what you gave us pulled us through and into a more healthy business. I am ever so grateful for your generosity in giving your time and sharing your knowledge. A special thank you to Janine Ramsey this very empathetic and intelligent woman who touched us all deeply by sharing her own story and experience and the challenges you meet in life and school when having a child with ADHD. 
It's amazing to have friends who have the ability to sparkle your own abilities. Loads of love to you all! 
Thank you to Johans uncle, Thyge Faerch who helped out financially with a loan. That helped us keep our home and business. Thank you to friends who offered to help financially, even though we say "no thank you" that trust made us feel very honored and humble.