Owning any type of franchise presents its own unique set of challenges. While any new business involves a certain amount of risk, franchises are by nature a wise choice for the risk-averse, given that the franchise’s product and marketing strategies have already demonstrated themselves to be of value to consumers. Franchises, and therefore the experiences of franchise owners, can vary greatly. But taken as a whole, the experiences of franchise owners can be studied in order to help predict the likelihood of future success. This is why a wise potential investor will adequately research the experiences–both good and bad–of franchisees in order to determine whether franchise ownership is right for them.
For those considering an investment in an education franchise, a review of the ups and downs of those who have successfully navigated the waters of franchise ownership can be especially helpful. The experiences of prior and current franchise owners can provide you with a roadmap of examples to follow and pitfalls to avoid. As you conduct your research of potential education franchises, consider the following three biggest challenges of owning an education franchise, as well as suggestions for how to overcome them:
- Choosing the right franchise.
Choosing the right franchise is one of the most important decisions that a potential franchise owner must make. Engaging in thorough research prior to making a purchase is an essential part of achieving eventual success. And if you make the correct choice when selecting your franchise, you can help to minimize the impact (or even prevent the existence) of the other problems documented below. When choosing a franchise, you should adequately assure yourself that the franchise features all three of the following components:
- A successful product with a proven track record of success
- A viable market for the product which is unlikely to suffer from future destabilization
- An absence of existing companies which are adequately addressing the market demand
To illustrate the above factors, consider the following example: A company provides durable, reliable lawn care equipment which has earned positive feedback from homeowners and landscaping providers. The quality of their product satisfies factor (a). As for factor (b), people are likely to continue to own homes which will require lawn care well into the future, meaning that a viable, continuing market exists for this product. But satisfaction of factor (c)–the factor which is most often overlooked by potential franchisors–depends upon the existence of other comparable products on the market which are meeting consumers’ needs. Without the existence of a need which exceeds the availability of other products, investment in this franchise could be a risk. If consumers are able to address their needs with comparable products which are already on the market, then they will have little to no reason to patronize your business. Earning a substantial profit in such a franchise would be possible, but would likely be an uphill battle. Education franchises generally have a well-established market need, and there are a number of respectable products which serve the needs of struggling students. But you can’t forget about factor (c). You need to make sure that the market exceeds the number of businesses currently offering such products. One suggestion for choosing a franchise which is well-suited for meeting these three factors is to purchase an education franchise like Mathnasium which specializes in one particular subject. These specialized franchises are able to meet a specific, ongoing need among American students, and their specialization makes them less likely to face existing competition.
- Ensuring that potential consumers are aware of your services.
Generally speaking, supplemental education services are a wise investment. But no business can succeed if consumers are unaware of its existence. Unlike everyday products such as electronics or home decor, most consumers do not anticipate that they are going to need math-learning services. In other words, consumers do not search for an instructor until they are certain they need one. Without a solid marketing strategy, you risk losing potential customers simply because parents do not know about your company. The truth is that most parents whose children are struggling in school do not know where to turn to find the help their children need. The success of your education franchise will depend on your ability to reach these parents before they seek alternate options. The good news is that parents who are in the market for educational services for their children are likely to turn to teachers and other parents for suggestions; therefore, as you build a reputation among your local educators and parents, you are likely to benefit from word of mouth. Still, you need to have an ongoing, reliable market strategy to ensure that your product is recognized by and available to those who need it.
- Having the flexibility to address the needs of individual students.
Educational services are not a product which is one-size-fits-all. This means that in order to provide your customers with a service which will adequately address their needs, you need to be able to individualize the experience for each student. This is another arena in which specialized math-learning franchises such as Mathnasium have an advantage. Traditional, non-specialized tutoring services are expected to address a number of subjects for a wide range of ages and education levels. This burden to provide such a wide swath of services poses a challenge to the prospect of individualized offerings. An educational service which specializes in one subject, such as Mathnasium, which focuses on math, gives you more leeway to accommodate the needs of specific students, providing for a more successful experience for your customers.
With the right amount of research and adequate dedication and patience, an education franchise can be a wise investment. In addition to its proven income potential, owning a math-learning franchise can be an extremely rewarding experience. By educating yourself about the challenges facing franchise owners, and by facing these challenges head-on, you can lay the groundwork for achieving success in your business.