Tuesday, 14 September 2010

'The perfect franchisee', do they exist?

It’s a big decision to franchise a business and an even bigger one when it comes to choosing franchisees. I’m sure there are some businesses out there who are just after the franchise fee and who will the take on anyone with the right colour money but one of the reasons I wanted to franchise my business is that I wanted to spread the word about stimulating spoken language in pre-school children. It was very important to me therefore only to take on individuals with EXACTLY the right attitude and enthusiasm. I’m not looking for qualifications, just someone who knows it’s a privilege to work with pre-school children and who is passionate about communication. I say ‘just’, but the reality is, that the right people are probably few and far between.

Since May when I started to franchise I’ve had so many enquiries from people who I have later interviewed (even with their full franchise fee in hand) who just wouldn’t be right sitting on the floor with a puppet and a group of children and their parents AND who can run their own business.

I don’t think my ideal franchise is walking around a franchise show, I think they are likely to be a parent who has had time off from their job and doesn’t want to go back to that career or someone who has returned but is finding it tedious and hard to juggle with a family. They’re probably not looking for a franchise and haven’t heard of pre-school communication groups.  I put an advert on Face book as I thought that someone who was fed up might be complaining to friends about their plight, perhaps with a  glass of wine in hand, maybe late at night.

What a good move! It worked perfectly and we now have Lisa Griffith and her team on board from Cambridgeshire. Lisa will offer Smart Talkers services to nurseries throughout Cambridgeshire and some parts of Bedfordshire. There are lots of different opportunities but all to help develop speech, language and communication in pre-school children.

Language Land Training

Instead of taking staff out of nursery to train them, we come into nursery/school to use demonstration techniques to show how to develop attention, listening, phonological awareness, simple reasoning, narrative skills etc. We use the Language land package which has proven positive results (for 3-7 year olds) 6 week programme
Tiny Talker Training
As above with an additional lecture: for staff of 2 year olds
Language Groups
General language stimulation sessions with songs, games and language based activities.
Tiny Talker for 2- 3 year olds
Small Talker for 3-4 year olds
Learning to sign Smart Sign functional signing

Functional signing using games, songs and stories. We can cater from babies to school age (see separate booklet)
Letters and Sounds
Practical applications of ‘Letters and Sounds’ in a circle-time style session

Story-time with Jack
Popular favourites with choices of story sacks e.g. Gruffello, Dear Zoo, tiger who came to tea

Stories for Talking
A practical programme for developing language skills in pre-school children

Listen with Lucy
A 6 week programme focusing on listening skills

Lisa has good relationships with nurseries as she was previously a placement co-coordinator for a local college for students studying child-care. She will work with Nicky, Barbara  and Laura  to run Baby Talk with midwife groups and teenage parent groups and is negotiating with Sure Start to implement Small Talker and Tiny Talker classes in Childrens’ Centres.

She will also arrange training courses for local staff which the Small Talk Speech Therapy Team will run ... so she really can deliver the whole Smart Talkers' package!

They have a series of open evenings planned next month to invite local professionals to tell them what Smart Talkers Cambridgeshire can do. I’m going to the first one to lend my support.

Each franchisee will choose their own parts of the package to do as many or as few classes as possible so that it fits perfectly with their individual family life.  Lisa and her team are probably exceptional in wanting to deliver as much of the available options as possible.

I’m as excited as they are. We had so much fun doing the training it didn’t feel remotely like work! We’re meeting up again next Saturday to go through the session plans and some more signing...... watch this space!!

If you read this and thought you might be interested in this fantastic opportunity in your area www.smarttalkers.org.uk

1 comment:

  1. I agree entirely with your approach Libby. As a marketeer involved in promoting franchise businesses, I know how other franchise businesses have ignored the profile of potential investors, instead just looking at the money without realising that, at the end of the day, these people are representing the brand of the business you have built. The wrong person can bring the reputation of the whole business down. You've attracted a franchisee via a social platform and Lisa seems a perfect match. Getting advocacy going within your future marketing and further exploiting social network channels is a great route and one I favour too.