A first year of franchising success!

Debra Thomas

Debra Thomas

Franchisee Debra Thomas recently celebrated the first anniversary of her MagiKats franchise in Hereford. MagiKats provides small group private tuition to children from pre-school to GCSE and National 5.

Having opened in June 2017, by April this year Debra already had 82 enrolments, which for the MagiKats business model and in just 10 months, is a very impressive start. 

Having come from a professional background, Debra explains why she chose a MagiKats franchise and what she thinks is the secret to her success:

Why a MagiKats franchise?

“I’ve worked in education for 25 years and have always been involved in caring and supporting others in the community. My husband and I are also therapeutic foster carers which requires quite a lot of our time. As with many people who opt for a franchise, I wanted the freedom of running my own business and the ability to shape my own career. But I always welcomed the security of being part of a well established and very supportive franchise network which has good systems and processes in place.

But what appealed to me most was the fact that a MagiKats franchise enables me to carry on supporting my community in a very important way whilst still giving me the time I need to invest in our foster children.”

The secret to success

As Debra makes plans to grow her franchise, she explains what she thinks is the secret to her success.

You do need to approach your franchise professionally of course, but I think in my case there have been 3 important elements to my success:

I’ve put in some hard work, particularly at the beginning. I run tuition workshops on three days of the week but on top of that there is marketing, workshop preparation, administration and finances, and dealing with enquiries and parents. The time I spend working on my franchise each week is probably about 25 hours. Especially at the beginning, you really need to work hard on your marketing. Having a good franchise network behind you is vital for this.

I believe another big part of my success is due to the fact that I took the plunge quite early on to take a lease on permanent premises. This won’t necessarily suit everyone, and you do need the right size premises in the right place for the right price. But by taking this step, it’s given me a real presence within my community. My premises are fully branded and that, along with the permanence of it, seems to attract parents and enhance our credibility. I have a lot of ‘walk by’ or ‘drive by’ enquiries.

Finally, I’m very proactive on social media, especially Facebook. I engage with the parents of my students a lot and they know they can get hold of me easily. That matters to them and has also helped build a sense of MagiKats community which is very visible to others.

Any advice to others considering a franchise?

Speaking of what franchisee life has been like over the last year and whether she’d recommend it to others, Debra goes on to explain:

There’ve been ups and downs of course, but I love the workshops, the students are delightful, the atmosphere is so positive and seeing all the GCSE students build their confidence and skills along with the feedback I’ve had from them so far, has been brilliant.

If you are tempted by the idea of a franchise my advice would be to do your research and be prepared to do a lot of initial marketing.  Seriously consider permanent premises, don’t forget to use all the extra resources available to you from the franchise and make sure all your staff are well trained. Oh, and enjoy, it’s a great way of life and very rewarding!