EFL careers are attractive for a variety of reasons. For someone with a mastery of English, who enjoys working with people, and wants to travel, being an EFL teacher can often allow you the freedom and flexibility that other career tracks … simply can’t offer.
Next to buying a home, taking on an educational franchise is probably the largest financial commitment you will ever make. That’s why you need to be 100% happy with your choice of a franchise and your ability to make it work.
You may think that a franchise is a ready-made business that guarantees success. While it has its advantages, it also has its challenges. So, what do you need to know before you dive in the deep end?
1. Have You Got What It Takes?
What are you good at (and passionate about)?
Take a long, hard and critical look at yourself. What do you bring to the business in terms of skills and qualifications? Do you have an academic qualification in the franchise field you are interested in? This may not necessarily be the deal breaker you think it is. Franchisees may bring a variety of skills and experiences to their new career, with many not holding a university degree in education. But while you might not have a degree in education, you may well have other necessary skills such as business management, sales and marketing.
It is just as important that a franchisor bring a passion for education and an understanding of teaching English to the next generation. The common denominator as a franchisee is to fully understand the benefits of starting an English educational franchise.
From passion to practicalities
Apart from being passionate about education, you’ll need practical knowledge in the day-to-day nuts and bolts of running a profitable business and keeping focused on the bottom line. Your business plan will map out your goals, objectives, and your needs from the franchisor. You should clarify if you can gain the skills you are lacking through franchisor training.
It’s a people business
Do you have the confidence to shoulder the responsibility of running your own franchise? It’s not always easy being the one at the top of your own personal tree. And you’ll be responsible for building, leading and motivating your team. Your success is largely dependent on having a strong team who lives and breathes the business with the same enthusiasm that you do.
2. Have You Done Your Homework?
The educational franchise you are considering may be a high-street name or a leader in its field, but you need to know their back-story.
Who’s behind the franchise?
Who are you dealing with? Is it a matter of public record who started the original business and do they have specific in-depth knowledge of the core subject? The franchise should have solid foundations and proven expertise in their field.
Short-term fad or long-term success?
A recent franchise riding a wave of popularity may not be your ideal solution. Don’t be misled by franchises who may be trading in specific areas, locations or a particular demographic, which may not transfer to other markets. Are the franchises successful, and is that success based on transferable models, sustainable methods and long-term track records?
What makes this franchise stand out?
What makes the franchise unique? Without a strong unique selling point (USP), there is nothing to differentiate it from its competitors. If its value proposition doesn’t stand out against the competition, prospective customers will pass by without a second look.
3. What Can You Expect After the Launch?
From lift-off to the long term
Launching and growing a successful franchise hangs on having strong and ongoing support — support that starts before the franchise opens its doors and continues as the franchise grows.
Are there training programmes offered to help you ramp up and lift off? Is there regular interaction with headquarters? Do you have a dedicated account manager available to answer your questions and concerns? Do you have frequent interaction with your peer group?
There can be no worse feeling than having invested time, effort and money into a franchise, only to find that after the initial fanfare of your launch, you are on your own. It’s easy enough to find out. Talk to existing franchisees. If the only time they hear from the franchisor is when it’s time to reorder supplies or pay royalties, keep looking.
Is the franchisor committed to the ongoing advancement of their product? Do they invest in new technology and apps?
Can You Tick All the Boxes?
Check out these three areas at the starting point of your journey. Can you tick all three boxes? If so, there’s only one thing left to do. Go ahead and do it.
Vice President of Business Development