More than ever, people are looking to invest in the children’s sector because they recognise the industry’s longevity, the potential for growth and, in many cases, the ability to make a real difference to children’s lives. Every new year provides a fresh start and the opportunity to take on new challenges. For those setting their sights on business ownership with rewarding results in 2023, investing in a children’s franchise might just be the answer.
Andy Knights, CEO of Stagecoach Performing Arts, is no stranger to the success that can be achieved by budding entrepreneurs who choose to invest in a franchise that meets the exponential demand across the country for creative extra-curricular activities for children. Here, he discusses the opportunities that investing in a children’s franchise can bring and hears the success stories from franchisees within the network who are a testament to the sector and brand’s resilient success.
Despite the current economic downturn, franchises that offer extra-curricular activities for children have remained stable because even when parents feel the pinch, they still prioritise their child’s academic, social and emotional development. As with every sector, the pandemic and its economic repercussions have thrown up a whole host of challenges for business owners. However, for the children’s education sector, the pandemic has highlighted the value of additional educational resources beyond the classroom. As national lockdowns stunted the learning and development of children, parents are eager to provide them with further opportunities to give them the best possible start in life and fulfil their potential.
In times of economic uncertainty, Stagecoach has continued to go from strength to strength. Interest in our programme has never been as high, with parents looking for a creative outlet for their children after the impacts of the last three years. This demand is apparent to franchisees, both prospective and existing, looking to capitalise on this growing need.
Cathy Birkett, franchisee and Principal at Stagecoach Urmston, opened her school at the beginning of the year in the face of gloomy economic predictions for 2023. Nevertheless, Cathy has seen incredible results for her business and witnessed the exceptional demand for creative extra-curricular activities for children in her area. “After my first day of term, I was already sitting at 27 Main Stage students – a number that completely exceeded my expectations,” explains Cathy. “After my first week, I opened three Early Stages schools to respond to the amount of interest we were receiving from parents who could see the benefits of the exceptional programme that Stagecoach provide for their students.”
Not only have children’s franchises proved incredibly lucrative, but what franchisees find most fulfilling is the opportunity to make a real difference in children’s lives. Extra-curricular franchises offer children the chance to build on their professional and personal development and often teach disciplines they are not necessarily taught in class. For Stagecoach franchisees, seeing the smiles on their student’s faces each week makes it most worthwhile.
“Besides the business benefits, the students are the best thing about being a Principal,” says Catherine Tracey, franchisee and Principal at Stagecoach Horsham. “Being able to walk into the school every week and see how the students are building their confidence by the day fills me with pride. Each student is so special, and I look forward to working with them every Saturday. I’m not only passionate about nurturing young talent, I also aim to support children in many other aspects of their lives, including their mental health.”
One of the most important parts of succeeding with a franchised brand is finding a business that is right for you in terms of the industry it is in and the support offered by the franchisor. Many business models, like the one we provide at Stagecoach, offer a management franchise model that allows you to run your own business whilst others carry out the business activities. If you decide to start your own children’s business, it goes without saying that you should be committed to providing the best possible services to children and be passionate about their development. However, for those who feel they lack the previous business expertise to make a success of it on their own, franchising is an effective way to go launch a business for yourself, but not by yourself. Any responsible franchisor will provide an extensive and comprehensive training programme to ensure a consistently high level of operation at every location that equips them for success regardless of their background. As long as you are a determined individual with a drive to succeed, the franchisor will help you with all the rest.
At Stagecoach, franchisees undertake a comprehensive training course before receiving ongoing training and regular check-ins with key members of our Head Office Support Team. This training includes industry-leading support in marketing, customer service, IT and business development. Our tried-and-tested structure enables franchisees to play to their strengths and provides the best possible environment in which to succeed, whatever their professional background.
Whether a franchise provides this ongoing training and support can be discovered through a thorough due diligence investigation examining all aspects of the business model. This should rely on information from the franchisor itself, current and former franchisees, and third-party resources. A responsible franchisor will be fully transparent in their business offering and prove that their franchise is ripe for investment. But research should be about more than potential income – a franchise’s ethos and values should be paramount too, and at Stagecoach, these principles must be shared by franchisor and current and prospective franchisees.
In a turbulent economic landscape, felt by both businesses and consumers, Stagecoach has remained unassailable thanks to the demand for its creative services that show no signs of slowing down. A combination of this demand and a proven, supportive business model is a recipe for success for business ownership in 2023. With more parents than ever looking to invest in their child’s future and understanding the value that exploring a love for the performing arts can bring, now may be the time to make a long-term investment that will be both financially and emotionally rewarding.