Alejandro Venegas Fontiveros
CEO Master Franchise
The Little Gym
FIRST OFF, CAN YOU GIVE US A BIT OF BACKGROUND INFORMATION ABOUT YOURSELF?
I was born in Venezuela. I'm married to the most beautiful, smart and sweet woman in the world :-). I have founded and managed four business startups over the last 7 years, across four different industries and three countries. My "Why" is to honourably inspire and enable people to reach their highest potential.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR CURRENT BUSINESS.
I own and lead the Master Franchise territory for The Little Gym Latin America with the exception of Mexico and Brazil.
With more than 300 locations in 29 countries, The Little Gym is the worldʼs premier experiential learning and physical development franchise for children aged 4 months through 12 years.
For over 35 years, our trained instructors have nurtured happy, confident kids through a range of programs including parent/child classes, gymnastics, karate, dance and sports skills development, plus enjoyable extras like camps, Parentsʼ Survival Nights and Awesome Birthday Bashes.
Each week, progressively structured classes and a positive learning environment create opportunities for children to try new things and build self-confidence, all with a grin that stretches from ear to ear.
HOW DID THE IDEA FOR YOUR BUSINESS COME ABOUT?
I volunteered when I was studying engineering for a NGO called “Soñar Despierto, Dreaming awake” with the mission to teach values to underprivileged children and also to upscale students. My wife did Gymnastics when she was little and then we started to look for franchises in education, focus on physical development and that should be #1 globally.
HAS EYES PLAYED ANY ROLE IN YOUR VENTURE?
Certainly. First I cofounded ComparaMejor with 3 other fellow EYES members - Omar Ynzenga, Erick Brimen and Fernando Sucre. All EYES sessions have helped me think bigger, and more different. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me. Not only have I met extraordinary people whom I can trust and can call friends, but I've also had key conversations during EYES events. These are key to where I am today. EYES has changed my life for the better.
HOW DO YOU GENERATE NEW IDEAS?
Through people and through reading. Both integrated. With reading I can get new ideas that later I can discuss with people and then structure it in a way that can rapidly be put into practice. I try to have a conversation with someone different every week, that helps me get a different view and scope.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
When I was young and started to think about becoming an entrepreneur, all my family and friends were against it. The best advice was not to listen to my family or friends if deep inside this is what I felt I was born to do, if this felt like the right path for me. Eventually they will come around when you are successful.
Today: Culture is not part of the strategy. Culture is the strategy.
WHAT HABITS HELPED MAKE YOU SUCCESSFUL?
- Learn to unlearn: It is important to create new habits and change the old ones in order to get to the next level.
- Awareness and mindfulness: Every day is a learning experience. This helps learn faster from what I did good or wrong. If good - then repeat, if wrong - then change.
- I used to take risks emotionally. Now I take controlled risks with a more rational and structured approach.
- I exercise at least 2-3 times a week. It's crucial because we are in a constant roller coaster and I need to exercise to help myself make better decisions.
- Find partners that complement my skills, it is also very important that we are morally aligned.