The last two years have turned global education on its head, and as a result many businesses in the Early Years sector are either being forced, or are now choosing, to think differently. Change can be painful and difficult, but with it, change brings renewed opportunities and a chance to distinguish yourself in a sector that has seen only modest innovation in the recent past.
Many nurseries around the World have struggled with rising costs, problems with securing or keeping experienced and well trained staff, and of course the challenges of children being kept home, whether through enforced lockdowns or parental choice. The question we then have to ask ourselves is what does the next decade look like for nurseries, and how do you rebuild your business for the better?
Whilst every nursery or kindergarten is different, and their reason for considering working with an established franchised brand may vary – ultimately the rationale will always tie back at its core, to one of three things.
- Can doing so improve what we offer our children and their families?
- Can it make our life easier?
- Can they help us to make more money?
Educationalists are typically pretty comfortable with the first two, and yet often shy away from the third. Which is a shame. There is no reason that a business with its ethos firmly grounded in providing outstanding care for children cannot also be a great commercial proposition. The two are absolutely not mutually exclusive.
How can a Franchise improve our offering?
An established brand with an international reputation behind it will give you a significant boost versus your competitors. Most markets are saturated now with local offerings, and nurseries following long established international curriculums. These are perfectly valid approaches, and they have built their success and reputation deservedly. It can mean though that in a crowd it is hard to stand out and offer something unique when everyone is doing the same thing.
Parents are increasingly looking for something different for their children. There is an ever growing understanding of the need to foster their imagination, personalities and curiosity at an early age rather than striving simply for academic success.
A good Franchise should provide you with a brand, and quality lesson plans and training materials that will allow you to greatly enhance the learning experience for your children. They are experts in it, so you don’t have to start from scratch.
How can a Franchise make our life easier?
Most nurseries are run as relatively small operations and hence the leadership team have all of the challenges of managing customers and staff whilst running a successful operation.
A Franchised nursery should bring with it a number of tools that will greatly reduce some of the administrative headaches that you face. Significant time is spent on administration, training and staff management – getting that time back to focus on other areas is a massive win for a nursery operator. A Franchise brand should provide’
- Training for your teachers on how to teach effectively in a modern, and progressive way – you don’t have to stay abreast yourself of the latest best practices and thinking. You get a World leading expert to do this for you.
- Ongoing lesson plan development – A plan to give your teacher every day that is created specifically for your market
- A tech platform to manage customers and children’s learning journey
- Marketing materials and messaging that you can use – no need to come up with a brand vision and high quality collateral.
How can we make more money?
Fundamentally, a Franchised business should help you to be more profitable. As previously mentioned it will streamline your processes, reduce the administrative burden of lesson planning, curriculum development and provide teacher training. Done correctly this should help reduce costs and unnecessary overheads.
Ultimately though it should also be about the top line revenue. A Franchised nursery should allow you to do one of a few things – if it doesn’t, then it probably isn’t a good fit. It also needs to at least cover the costs that you will bear from the Franchise fees that will be payable.
- Allows you to increase your prices – if you are offering a more premium product for your customers, from a recognised International brand you should be comfortable with ensuring your fees reflect this
- Helps you to fill your school to capacity – if you are regularly running classes at anything less than capacity this is massively damaging your profits.
- Allows you to open more branches – Signing an agreement for a broader area and having the support of a Franchise is a great way to grow a business, and to use their expertise to help you open more branches.
Don’t fear the loss of control
Yes it is true that under a Franchise model there will be brand standards, and operational policies to which you will be expected to comply. These are crucial to the long term success and consistency of the brand and will work in your favour if everyone follows these effectively.
Even so, the beauty of a Franchise is that it remains your business. It is your company, and as much as a recognised brand will help – in Franchising success lives or dies on the competency of the Franchisee themself. There is plenty of room for creativity, ownership and growth.
About the author
Andrew Walters is the founder of Kindling Franchise Consultants, a boutique firm with 18 years of international franchise experience offering specialist advice to franchisors looking to expand globally kindlingfranchise.com
Are you looking for a way to make your preschool stand out from the competition? Talk to one of our experts today and hear how FinlandWay® can help!