The Kumon Franchise is one of the world’s largest educational franchisor with over 600 centres in the UK and Ireland.
“I joined Kumon as a franchisee towards the end of 2018. I came from the banking and finance industry where I’d had a 20-year career, covering various roles from banking retail management, operations and financial risk and compliance.
I had always set myself a goal to have my own business one day and, with my employers, I worked to gain as much business knowledge and educate myself with many transferable skills.
Over several years, I explored various business options, from consultancy in banking and finance, to setting up an import/export business in my home country of Kenya. I was interested in working within my community to give something back and I was pulled towards working in education most as I knew that would enable me to achieve one of my goals; contributing to society and helping to make a difference.
As a mum of three children I’d already begun to see the importance of setting good educational foundations and I could see how changing my career to the field of education would be really rewarding for me in the longer term.
I did a lot of research into the various franchised education businesses and attended some of the larger shows and exhibitions, which I found especially useful. It enabled me to understand each company’s ethos, learn their educational methods and discuss a little about returns on the investment I would be making.
I quickly became most interested in Kumon as I really identified with their study methods and Instructor training. Being one of the larger and more well-known franchisors, I liked the package of support that they were able to offer me in starting my business. I liked the feeling that I would be both the Instructor and the business owner, so that I would be fully engaged with the business and my customers.
I had the opportunity to take over a franchise for an existing Kumon centre, which I accepted as I felt was beneficial to start my business with an existing customer base. The centre had been established and in the community for over 20 years, so it was a great chance to see the centre and really get a feel for the Kumon environment, as well as the day-to-day business management. I could work with existing children and parents from day one and apply all the training I had received right from the beginning, whilst looking at different ways to improve the existing set up.
Some people prefer to set up a new centre from scratch. In areas where Kumon has identified strong market potential and is looking to grow, franchisees are also supported with their marketing and growth by their regional teams, as well as offered generous subsidies and tailored local and national marketing activities.
As well as my students’ development, I am encouraged to look after my own ongoing professional development too. I’ve learned so much about myself and have been able to use existing skills and develop a whole raft of new ones. For any new business and individual changing careers there will be some challenges - life wouldn’t be interesting without them! I’ve felt empowered to go in headfirst and take these challenges within my stride thanks to the support from Kumon.
If I were to advise someone considering a franchise, I would say to them; explore your options and do your homework. Franchises are a great way to enter into business and with care they will also have good value for many years to come.
Really take the time to look at your projections and calculate the business numbers to understanding your market and the product. Always ask yourself “do I want to do this, and will I be able to be passionate about this product or service in years to come?” If the answer is “yes”, from both your heart and mind, then go for it!”