Kumon peer support success

Kumon franchisee network and peer support encourage success

Sarah Stowe

Lauren Dillon is clear about the benefits of buying a franchise rather than an individual, stand-alone business.

The Kumon Australia and New Zealand group leader in field development has worked for the education firm for almost 20 years. In those two decades, Lauren has observed how the support of the head office and field teams and the extensive franchisee network has sustained and boosted franchisees’ businesses.

“At Kumon we are about improving children’s abilities, we can see their confidence change. And that translates to head office. We are constantly trying to improve things, find better ways to service our customers, and our franchisees,” she says.

“In my role, I like to be part of the improvement process, which is why I have been here so long!

Kumon’s franchisee peer support nurtures success

“It can be lonely for solo business owners; however the great thing about being part of a franchise is you are part of a network. Not only is the Kumon office staff here for support, we also provide opportunities to meet people who run the same business as you. This means a franchisee gets some of the benefits that employees enjoy, such as networking and information sharing, but they are still their own boss!”

As you would expect from a business with a global reputation for education, Kumon is focused on ensuring franchisees (instructors) are empowered to build their businesses.

Kumon runs monthly professional development seminars online and holds quarterly seminars in person. Twice a month head office facilitates instructor meetings or workshops on particular topics, such as working with advanced students or onboarding new students. There are also five small mentoring groups across Australia and New Zealand.

“We often take mentees to a mentor centre, a high-performing franchise, and they will take back some best practice tips to their centres,” says Lauren.

The brand’s global presence enables international connections and fosters a sense of a wide network of like-minded people all working toward the same goal: boosting children’s learning abilities.

Individual franchisees often connect and engage with overseas instructors on social media. There is an annual opportunity for personal connections when each country sends a cohort of instructors to Kumon’s international conference.

“The world is a bit smaller now and it excites franchisees to have friends all over the globe. Our instructors enjoy being part of a much bigger group,” says Lauren.

Networking opportunities help build strong businesses

Right now instructors are anticipating a packed one-day National Instructors Conference in Cairns, book-ended with a welcome reception and a gala dinner. The first national event for the Australian and New Zealand business, since Covid, will attract about 200 people, she says.

“Networking is the motivation for our instructors,” she says. “We have more than 50 new instructors since our last conference, so this is a good chance to meet people in person. Everyone has one thing in common – running the centres. So it is easy to start a conversation, to meet new people and reconnect with old friends.”

The conference includes presentations from franchisees and from external speakers, addressing best practice and customer service.

“This year it is our 40th anniversary in Australia, and we’re focusing on showcasing how instructors have changed their approach with certain students and achieved great success,” says Lauren.

“Many of our franchisees have been with us for decades. These conferences are a brilliant way to discover fresh ways of doing business. Kumon’s peer support is a big element of franchise success.

“The world is changing, particularly with technology. Today’s parents have higher expectations than they did years ago and we are innovating to meet their requirements.”

Through all the educational opportunities Kumon provides, franchisees can gain insights into social media best practice, premium customer service and brilliant marketing tips so they can adapt their own business development methods.

Individual support leads to Kumon franchise success

Every Kumon franchisee has an appointed individual consultant who is there to support them in any situation. Instructors call their consultants about the best way to handle a social media problem or a query from a parent.

“If the consultant can’t solve the problem, there is a whole back office of IT, HR, marketing, PR and accounts that franchisees have access to,” Lauren points out.

Kumon consultants deliver regular training and are just a phone call away.

“As a franchisee, it really helps to have someone to discuss ideas with and work through any concerns. That’s probably the most impressive support we deliver to our Kumon franchisees, the one-on-one relationship,” says Lauren.