Six Things To Ask Yourself Before Investing in a Children or Education Franchise
The sheer number of children and education franchises can be overwhelming. Thankfully narrowing down your choices ultimately to one that is the best fit for you can be as simple as doing the research necessary to answer the following six questions.
- What concept am I most passionate about? Maybe you don’t have much patience for teaching a child how to read or do math, but love robotics. Perhaps you enjoy teaching children music, but can’t imagine running around with them. It’s important to think of what type of franchise concept you can see yourself involved with in the long term.
- Does the concept make sense for my market? You need to determine if the franchise you are considering will work well in your market. Are there already similar businesses in your area? If yes, is there enough demand or is the franchise concept different enough from existing businesses to get the market share you’ll need?
- Will I receive the support I need? Opening any business is an involved process, although some business models are much easier to get off the ground than others. For example, if the franchise you are considering must be in a building, then you need to be sure the franchise will help you with finding a location, zoning, and negotiating a lease. Also, how much support will you receive regarding marketing, sales, training, and technology? You must be sure you will have enough support in all areas, but particularly in those you are not necessarily good at.
- Does an established or newer brand make sense for you? Established brands have name recognition and a proven system that has served countless franchisees well. They, however, tend to be more costly than newer brands and there may also be very few territories, if any, available. Newer franchises, however, tend to be more affordable with more territories available. The best ones can also provide you with all the support you need to help you be successful.
- Can you work well with the franchisor and fellow franchisees? The culture of a franchise system matters a lot since when you invest in one you will be working with the franchisor and franchisees for many years. You have to mesh on values and vision.
- What is your impression of actually running the franchise? It’s a good idea to ask the franchisor to arrange for you to visit an existing franchisee, or ideally several, and to speak with the owners. Ideally, you’ll be allowed to work in one of the franchises or to shadow the owner for a few days or longer.
Melissa Brockman, who owns a Kiddie Academy franchise in Birmingham, Alabama, says that when she and her husband began the process of looking at different franchises to invest in, they began with educational childcare centers because she had been in the childcare field for 12 years. “We started searching on the internet and Kiddie Academy just kind of fell in our lap. After reading about the curriculum and the strong sense of community that it establishes once it is part of a community, we filled out a Kiddie Academy interest form and were soon in touch with its VP of Franchise Development, Jeff Brazier,” says Melissa. “We flew out to tour their prototype academy and immediately fell in love with what we saw. We were able to meet everyone in every department from finance to marketing and learned how they would support us along the way. They were welcoming, friendly and answered questions that we had at the time as well.” Kiddie Academy provides education-based child care for families and their children ages six weeks to 12 years old
Melissa’s advice when it comes to selecting a franchise echoes that which was discussed earlier in this article. She firmly believes that you should find a franchise that is your passion because you will be spending a great amount of time with the franchisor and the different teams that support you. She adds that you also need to find out if you will have total support along your journey. “You will need the assistance of experts from the franchise who will walk alongside you to make it a success,” she says.
There is no doubt that before investing in a children or education franchise, it is crucial to learn all you can about it. Once you’ve read all the material, analyzed the Franchisor Disclosure Document, and spoken with the executive team and at least half a dozen franchisees, you’ll have a good idea as to whether or not any franchise you are considering could be a good fit for you.
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