In July 2009, our founder was facing adversity in his life, both personally and professionally; this experience enabled him to create a sports business with a social purpose.
The Founder/Director has never told the story of how the Onyx Squash Academy came about in any media platform, or in a short video on YouTube; this story is about how the concept came into existence.
Furthermore, some people have asked him why develop a squash academy? His answer is simply it is a sport, with a lot growth potential and one of the eleven priority sports recognised by Sport England.
He encountered problems like most issues with a start-up business, that could deter anybody from establishing a business venture – whether it is a sports one or new app, but the nevertheless you must persist with it.
In the beginning
Having relocated back to London in late 2008, following 10 great years of living in the West Midlands, there were very few opportunities available to him; despite his significant experience of strategic marketing gained from working for organisations he had dreamed of working before the age of 30 at a business partner level.
The future looked bleak, until one significant day in July 2009, whilst walking through Bromley, Kent; he received a phone call from a friend stating he received a telephone from Sport England about a community sports project they wanted to start in three years after submitted the application.
Taking inspiration from his relatives who established businesses – mainly automotive, legal and telecommunications sectors, he utilised the knowledge gained from his Leisure Management degree, aligned with his experience of sport participation – having participated in two sports at a national standard thus created a comprehensive business plan to develop a sports social enterprise company. He roped in a childhood friend to act as co-Director, who needed a lot of persuasion that the idea was going to work.
Even though he played squash at inter-club level, he saw the benefits of the sport amongst people of all cultures, professions, abilities, and ages; gained from working for two health & squash clubs, one in Berkshire and a family managed club in the West Midlands.
From the outset, there were not much job opportunities available to him – mainly as his old colleagues had moved on and he was somewhat new to London again, despite being born in Croydon, South London.
Ambition and Self-Promotion
Fortunately, because his marketing background in leisure plus a knack for self-promotion he attracted the attention of some contacts on LinkedIn as far as Brighton, Kent and a senior accounting professional in Harrow, North London; gave him the motivation and drive to do something for himself in the form of a project. Ironically, he collaborated with a fitness professional from Catford, Lewisham – to help him develop a social enterprise venture aimed at vulnerable adults.
Some may say, why did neglect his own project for someone else’s? Well he wanted to learn about building a business and felt turning adversity to channel into a project will help his mindset.
It was not until a role in 2011, he attracted the attention of a fellow marketing professional, who asked him to join an online marketing platform in helping businesses with a social purpose. As a result, he used his experience as Marketing Manager to develop and implement strategies for a number of social enterprises across London, but one social enterprise venture made him realise it’s time to do something about his project.
Being own marketing agency
Despite various offers from organisations wanting develop a website, managing the social media and much more for his proposed social enterprise project – he decided to learn new skills in digital marketing and came across a business training company in Camden.
It was there a Chartered Marketer gave him advice on the training must do to build a digital presence for the Onyx Squash Academy. Yeah, he has a marketing qualification – but the job market was very competitive, thus he utilised any financial resources he had to study for new skills in website development and much more, alongside his traditional marketing skills.
In July 2013, he became a Chartered Marketer and gained inspiration from his new boss at a Kent based educational institution and a local web developer from South London, to gradually implement a digital marketing strategy for the Onyx Squash Academy. Nevertheless, it was in 2014, he decided to build the website himself from scratch and contacted two friends – one whose background is in gaming for advice on domains and one whose background is in writing for advice on content.
By November 2014, the first website created by him and all he had to do was to make the business sustainable with a health club partner…THE SEARCH BEGINS