Some of the dilemma aspiring edu-preneurs face today before thinking of starting their project is, “Shall I go for opening a brand/established name in education in my area or shall I create my own brand of school”?
Through this post, I shall try sharing my story in this regard and possibly from there I will try simplifying this dilemma to some extent. Though at the end, the question will still be moot as this being a very personal call requiring each one of the aspiring edu-preneur to weigh their options, strengths and opportunities.
Before I started Brighton International School, I was working in Mumbai in the corporate sector. When I decided that education is something which excites me as an entrepreneur, I went through the same dilemma as whether to start with a franchise or not. I visited one such school who just started exploring their opportunities in franchise. I later decided to start on my own.
After having doing this for about half a decade now; I have started getting queries from people asking me about franchise of my school (Brighton International School). So here is my viewpoint on what I think about Franchise and otherwise;
ADVANTAGES – when you take a franchise.
- BRAND VALUE: The first and the foremost, I needn’t elaborate on this.
- KNOW HOW : When you start a school, there are various qualitative parameters on which you have to ponder and take a decision. Those queries could be regarding building, vehicles, permissions etc. When you are building the infrastructure there are queries like size of classrooms, shape and size of furniture, books for library etc.
- PROCESSES : There are many process one needs to keep in account like formation of Society/Trust, Interaction with District Education Office, applying for Affiliation with a National/International Board. All these gets simplified wen you have somebody to do the hand-holding.
- ADVERTISING READY MATERIAL: Print-able like Logo, prospectus, Forms, Receipts, Pamphlets, Stock Photographs and the like can easily be acquired from the parent school, thus saving considerable money, time and effort.
- PEDAGOGY: This probably is most invisible but certainly most vital benefit of taking a franchise. How to Teach, What to Teach, When to teach, Whom to Teach, What books to use, What Parameters should be used for evaluation, How and when should parents be called for interaction, How to manage timely correction of notebooks, projects, How to Train teachers, who will train teachers etc are very important questions for one to find answers to. Taking a franchise can really make it easy for anybody to start taking the best practices from the parent school.
- ECONOMY OF SCALE: Cost of acquisition of Furniture, Interactive Class Rooms Infrastructure, ERP, Content Licences, Books, Note Books, Uniforms etc can be really brought down if one has the support of established chain or a big existing entity. Support of a franchise can also help in getting benchmark rates for several items.
- TALENT: Better and bigger brand attracts better talent, so when the talent residing / present locally hears of a brand coming to their city there is an obvious desire to be a part of the national chain or the bigger brand. One can certainly attract better talent with the support of a big name, as teachers also think there will be learning as well as their own work experience will get enriched by applying to the upcoming franchise school.
DISADVANTAGES- when you take a franchise.
There are certainly not many to think of in this section other than the MONETARY PART of the bargain. An existing school (Franchise) can charge the following from a franchisee;
- Cost of Trademark
- Consultation Fee
- Compulsion to use stationary/Uniform/Books/ Note Books/ School supplies/ Lesson Plans
- License Fee
- A certain percentage of per student’s Fee – This is most difficult as school is a front loaded capital heavy enterprise, more often then not a school takes about 4-5 years to recoup investments. in the midst of all this if one has to pay a flat percentage on the incoming. This can become difficult.
So answering the question ‘whether or not?’
- Before you start a school try to understand the magnitude of your investment, future plans, guesstimate on possible revenues, existing schools.
- One also has to figure out the awareness about a particular brand among the common folk (do they know that this ‘X’ School of Mumbai is very big and sought after in Mumbai) before vying for a particular franchise.
- Life could be wonderful if we can do it all or could deal with all the challenges thrown at us with great efficiency. So do try to introspect your strengths and weaknesses which could help you understand what you can what you cannot.
About me: My name is Abhiney Singh. I run a school in Raipur (Chhattisgarh) called Brighton International School (www.brightoninternational.in). If someone needs help with consultation regarding openinig a school, I will be happy to help. You can mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org You can know more about me from my linkedin profile.