Education franchise delivers additional income stream

26-year-old accountant Kevin Donkor was interested in establishing an additional income source when he began to consider franchising.

A franchise appealed to Kevin over going it alone with a new venture because it would provide an existing structure within which to work. This was important as he needed a business which would not take up too much time and which would allow him to continue with his day job.

Wanting to understand more about franchising, Kevin attended The British & International Franchise Exhibition in February 2019.

Kevin explains:

“I went to the exhibition with the intention of researching how franchising could work for me and to get a feel for the franchise businesses out there. I envisioned investing in two to three years’ time. The event proved instrumental in bringing my plans forward, however!”

Kevin continues:

“I’d planned my day at the event to take in some of the free talks on offer. In fact, I found the presentations so engaging and informative that they took up a lot of my time – I was so engrossed that I even skipped having lunch.”

“The exhibition with all the stands was just as useful – you’re able to approach lots of different companies with no pressure, so you can explore the different franchises that are out there.”

“I spoke with several franchise brands, but I was especially impressed with First Class Learning. I hadn’t heard of them before but their clear and open presentation of the financial side of the business appealed to me. At this early stage, it was that aspect which made me follow up with them after the event.”

Next steps
First Class Learning deliver tutoring in Maths and English – in alignment with the National Curriculum – at more than 300 learning centres in the UK.

Following a scheduled phone call in late February with Jaymini, one of First Class Learning’s Franchise Development team and a franchisee herself, Kevin then spent a ‘Discovery Day’ at a First Class Learning centre in Chiswick. Here he got to see the operational side of the business with a first-hand look at the teaching materials and how they were used in action.

Impressed with what he’d seen, Kevin went on to discuss the most appropriate, available territories. He signed the franchise agreement in late March for a territory in East London.

Training and support
Things then moved quickly, with Kevin attending two days of intensive franchisee training at First Class Learning’s head office in Reading, Berkshire in April.

The course covered both the teaching content that would be delivered, as well as matters including safeguarding, the business and operational side of things, and sales and marketing.

After the initial training, First Class Learning provide significant support in a variety of ways, as Kevin explains:

“Once you’ve completed the training, you are assigned a mentor who’s an existing franchisee. They work with you for the first four months of your business, guiding you on all aspects, from securing the most suitable location to getting your first student.”

“First Class Learning also gives us access to a marketing portal where we can source all our marketing materials, from posters and leaflets to business cards.”

“We receive support setting up our social media channels for local marketing, plus each franchisee is assigned a micro-site which we can manage ourselves.”

“All of the franchisees have access to a dedicated Facebook group where we can pose questions and help each other out, and we can access head office support when we need it.”

In addition, First Class Learning provide the complete learning programmes and all the materials that franchisees need to build bespoke student programmes and so run their tuition centres.

Life as a First Class Learning franchisee
Kevin continues with his career in accountancy and runs his franchise with his girlfriend, Akosua,  who helps administer the worksheet programmes at their centre. He explains:

“There is a lot of flexibility with how you set up and run your franchise, including where you operate your learning centre within your territory. We hire a church hall by the hour, for example, and have been operating from there since September.”

“We open our tuition centre on Saturdays, and my girlfriend, another tutor and I run the sessions. I then spend around two evenings a week managing enquiries, ordering materials and getting work set up for the following week’s sessions.”

“We tailor the learning to the needs of each individual student so that they get the best possible results. First Class Learning carefully design materials that provide a progressive learning pathway and you select what’s right for each child, but there is also the flexibility to add third party resources that you might feel will enhance learning for the child.”

“It takes commitment and discipline to run the franchise but it’s certainly manageable and we have longer-term ambitions to expand to running sessions on a couple of evenings a week.”

“It’s exactly the sort of flexible venture I was seeking, and I look forward to growing our student numbers and my business!”

Interested in following in Kevin’s footsteps? Find out more about upcoming Franchise Exhibitions held in exclusive partnership with the British Franchise Association and book your free tickets here.