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In its Franchise Disclosure Document, Kumon states between $69,943 and $147,050 is necessary for the initial investment by a franchisee. It recommends that the candidate have $70,000 in liquid capital and a $150,000 net worth.
Smith has five employees at her Kumon Center. In the past, she hired high school students to assist her with the children enrolled in her program. Today, she hires only adults who are at least college age. Just as the commercial space lends a more professional atmosphere to her operation, so do her employees, she said.
“You have mature individuals you are working with rather than teenagers. They’re just not as reliable as adult staff,” she said. “I would certainly recommend to other business owners to have very solid staff you can count on.”
Constant Presence Important
Being a constant presence at your center is another suggestion she would have for potential franchisees. Even on days when the center is not officially open, Smith said she is there to do paperwork and other tasks so that people will see the facility operating when they walk by, particularly those parents who might have children attending the nearby elementary school.
“People walk by the center every afternoon,” she said. “They know they can come in. It’s just being a steady presence in the community, building up trust, and them being able to talk to me.”
Smith has incorporated several ideas supplied by the corporate office for marketing her business locally. She has sponsored children’s soccer teams to get the Kumon name in front of parents and she advertises her business on a bus bench. She also gets involved in causes related to her business, such as literacy campaigns.
Most useful to her business, she said, is positive word of mouth from satisfied parents. For that reason, she maintains a strict follow-up schedule and follows it diligently.
“Enthusiastic parents refer other enthusiastic parents,” she said. “What I’ve learned over the years, the most important thing, you have to make sure that the people who are with you are happy. I’ve really prioritized and come to realize that it’s important to prioritize my follow up with my customers. That’s the most important thing I do in regards to the ongoing growth and success of my business.”