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How to run a successful franchise

'For me, a franchise is great because it gives you that motivation to keep going when you hit a slump.'

Sasha Spivak, Kumon

Top tips

  • Know if your personality and skill set fit the franchise
  • Research the franchise history and other franchisors
  • Consult an accountant to check profit figures are realistic
  • Consult a lawyer before signing the Franchise Agreement

The move to running a business

Sasha Spivak was looking for a career change and like many working mothers with a young child, she needed flexibility.

With a communications degree and experience in public relations and an online menswear business, Sasha's options were diverse. A close friend of her mother's had been running a Kumon education centre for 15 years and urged Sasha to look into it.

Deciding on a franchise

Going to an information meeting on running a Kumon centre helped confirm her decision. The franchise had an established business record, an international presence and offered work that suited her lifestyle and business skills. Sasha feels that transparency in information of a franchise‚Äôs structure is very important in helping her to decide the franchise that she wants to run.  At the Kumon information meeting, Sasha received all the necessary documentation so that she could go away and process it.

'Kumon merged my skill set.' In addition the franchise offered her a chance to explore a different type of client, 'Working with kids always interested me.'

For Sasha, applying to run a Kumon centre involved a number of steps including sitting proficiency tests, attending an interview, going through a police background check and passing a New Instructor Training course.

Once training was complete, she was offered a franchise agreement and a location was agreed upon. She paid an initial one-off fee and now pays a royalty fee for each subject that a student enrols in. She pays all the overheads for her property. 'It's simple and it's transparent,' says Sasha.

Before committing to opening a centre in Carnegie, Sasha took the franchise contract to a lawyer. She also took the financial breakdown from Kumon to an accountant to ensure that the revenue forecast offered by the franchisor was realistic and achievable.

Benefits of a franchise

Franchisees report monthly to head office. 'How many worksheets are used, the child's progress - there's certain criteria that we hold ourselves to and certain standards,' she says. 'You're your own boss but there's another stakeholder that you're accountable to.' Sasha appreciates the support that the franchisor offers, such as monthly meetings and opportunities to go to conferences to get ideas from other franchisees. 'In your own business you have to be self-motivated all of the time but with Kumon there's a lot of professional development,' says Sasha. 'For me, a franchise is great because it gives you that motivation to keep going when you hit a slump.'

The result

After three years, Sasha continues to grow her business and now has five assistants. She promotes her business through school newsletters and school fetes but word-of-mouth is still a powerful tool.

'If you look after the students you have, then others will come,' she says.