After School Care Franchise proves to be rewarding for one franchisee
Sherpa Kids franchisee, Dawn Engelbrecht, is no stranger to franchising. Her first experience was when she lived in South Africa working in the accounts department for a chain of restaurant franchises.
Arriving in New Zealand in 2000 proved to be quite challenging, as Engelbrecht had no family or friends to rely on. With two full-time working parents in the household, Engelbrecht soon discovered that her children’s school finishing time of 3pm would become a challenge.
Recently speaking to NZ Herald, Englebrecht says that at the time, sKids was already a franchise "with very underdeveloped systems."
"There were a handful of unhappy franchisees already and so I and a couple of other franchisees decided that we needed to make a change. On July 4, 2006 myself and my business partner Bev, who was also an existing franchisee, took over the international rights to Sherpa Kids."
Dawn and business partner Bev spent the first 12 months focusing on developing manuals and tools that would be used for their franchise, as well as going through a re-branding process.
The learning curve of franchising
According to Engelbrecht, there are lots of things to consider before choosing to franchise a business. This includes:
- Cost: It is very expensive and time consuming to do it properly as you need to have good systems, good legal documents and a good track record of sites that you have run yourself to show your model works
- Appointing franchisees: Taking the time to appoint franchisees. Give a lot of thought as to what makes a good franchisee. Know the type of person you are looking for
- Detailed documents: This will form as a guide to future franchisees which they will rely on to grow their business
- Tough love: Dawn says that one of the biggest mistakes they made was not being tough enough on their franchisees who don't follow the system
- Embrace innovation: Many franchisees are very innovative and will often put across new idea. Always look whether it has potential to be used throughout existing systems and ask yourself whether it fits in with the company philosophy
"We spent a year investigating the market in Australia and in October 2011 we opened our first franchise in Melbourne. Early days yet but we have another three prospects in the due diligence process at the moment," concludes Engelbrecht.