Buying a franchise is all about building a future for yourself with the backing and support of an existing business.
Franchisees who choose a business that is a leading name in its field have an immediate advantage: they can harness the power of the brand.
This is the case at Kumon, the global business that delivers supplementary afterschool education in maths and English for school-aged children. It’s a tried and tested model with an internationally-renowned name for enhancing kids’ education.
However Kumon franchisees gain considerably more from their franchisor than just the branding and the systems. The education brand prides itself on a premium level of support for its franchisees, also known as instructors.
Jacqueline Robles is section leader for Victoria and Tasmania. Her role is to support the consultants who are working on the frontline to deliver tailored support to each franchisee.
“In my role, I am supporting consultants in their roles. They might have queries about policies or different ways to support franchisees. As team leaders, we look at what we can provide in systems, processes or tools, we consider what activities we can develop to further support franchisees.”
Training begins in the recruitment process
Kumon ensures franchisees are set up to build success, and it starts in the rigorous recruitment process.
Even before a franchisee is offered a franchise agreement, they attend new instructors training.
“After they have gone through an interview and reference check, at this point we allocate the franchisee candidate a field development consultant. The consultant will work with them on all levels of business set-up. They assist with business and operations training, emphasise the Kumon mission, and help franchisee’s manage their business plan.”
The comprehensive 10 days training (held over a three week period) covers everything to do with the Kumon program, from instruction methods to diagnostic testing and assessments.
“Successful candidates, with their newly-assigned consultant, then start to look for a venue in which to hold their classes, and once confirmed, we then offer a franchise agreement.”
Jacqueline says the field support team is on hand to organise signage and furniture for the new venue, and to guide the instructor on all elements of set-up.
Kumon support for franchisees
The Kumon consultants provide an intense level of support in the early stages of the new business. Consultants attend the first of every type of event or initiative; the first marketing campaign, the first parent meeting, the first class.
A consultant is on hand every step of the way; they may even join in every class for the first three months.
“During the first 12 month period there is follow-up training,” says Jacqueline. “We really hold their hands so they are well-prepared to offer the top quality Kumon service we expect.”
There are five areas that for which franchisees can seek support: instruction, promotion, communications, nurturing assistants and centre management.
“Franchisees hire their own staff, but we help train them,” explains Jacqueline.
“We conduct regular visits and consultations to find out what support franchisees need once they are in business.
“The consultant will visit a centre, observe the level a particular student is working at and whether they are on track. Then they discuss their observation with the franchisee, to confirm the teaching process is right, or whether there is a different strategy that will work better for the student.”
Kumon consultants’ commitment to their franchisees extends to on-hand support.
Consultants provide a premium level of support
Most consultants support between 10 and 25 franchisees, with a mix of newer recruits and established instructors.
“There are different levels of support, and it is personalised to the franchisee and their needs.”
An integral element of that support is to help franchisees set growth targets and strategies that will enable them to attain their goals.
“We always talk about marketing and promotions to bring in new customers. But customer retention is just as important,” says Jacqueline.
“To retain customers we need to ensure franchises are instructing students well, observing their progress, and communicating with parents,” she says.
“Franchisees need to be 100 per cent involved, they have to run the centre,” Jacqueline reiterates.
“Many do this quite independently, only coming to us for specific issues. Our support is there when and how the franchisee needs it. Kumon supports franchisees so they can deliver for their customers, and build a good business for themselves.”