A successful kids educational concept deserves to be shared widely. Here’s how to take yours global
The race toward success is competitive and starts at an early age. Recruiting for well-rounded students begins in preschool, and doesn’t let up until – well, it rarely lets up, even into adulthood.
The tutoring and education industries across the globe are as predictable as the ABC’s: Aggressive growth, a $100 Billion industry, and Competitive market both in academics and extracurricular education models.
As public education struggles with funding, parents everywhere are clamoring for more choices to make sure their kids will be prepared to compete within a global economy.
It’s no surprise then that children’s education and activity franchises are plentiful within the ranks of any Top 100, 500 or Best of the Best lists.
With nearly six out of ten kids involved in extracurricular activities, especially as public schools suffering from funding shortfalls often cut music and the arts first, demand is growing for franchised concepts in the areas of music, drama, dance, even cooking.
When seeking new franchisees for your brand, it’s easy to put a marketing strategy into place within a familiar market. Even savvy professionals who aren’t parents were once students themselves and are exposed to the industry through current events, government issues or water cooler chitchat.
The sliding scale of confidence retreats backward, however, when looking to introduce a domestically proven model to a foreign market. We’ve already established the industry is a global one, so how do you step into the land of the unknown?
The traditional way to take a brand to an international market is with a Master Franchisee, someone who is granted the right to appoint sub-franchisees for the franchisor, within a certain geographic area.
But where do you find them? Tried and true methods include LinkedIn and other social media advertising, as well as local pitches to media outlets via PR campaigns. Those practices absolutely create a digital path into your new target market.
But what else? Consider this three-pronged audience approach: Passion Players, Business Builders, and Money Makers.
It is possible to find each of these characteristics in one person, but for the sake of the search, let’s separate them.
Passion Players. Find the people who will be passionate about the mission of the business.
These are the people who are so crazy about education and kids, they don’t even know yet that they are looking for a business opportunity until the idea is put in front of them.
These are members found in professional associations and parenting groups like the Global Campaign for Education, Parent Teacher Organizations, and The Global Learning Portal, a connecting tool.
Their specific purpose is to “facilitate development and education initiatives by linking online educators, international development practitioners, ministries and civil society organizations.”
Business Builders. Find your target market’s local business opportunity seekers. These are the savvy corporate managers and project planners who recognize a good business model when they see one, no matter the industry.
Unlike the Passion Players, they are almost always on the lookout for a good deal. Find these individuals in professional organizations like Chambers of Commerce, Ideas Global, or even Rotary Clubs. This is an ideal place to focus on social media use, searching through Linkedin or Facebook groups.
Money Makers. Where would the global markets be without investors?
Most investors are exposed to a concept over time through relationship building. How is a franchisor supposed to create a rapport if he doesn’t even know who the local investors are, where their interests lay, or in which communities they want to invest?
According to author Serge Pustlenik, legal fellow and contributor to Valuewalk.com, the first stop should be at the bank. Local banks, especially in countries with a less sophisticated financial footprint, play the part of connector when seeking investors.
Pustlenik says, “it is important to incentivize the bank by convincing them that for every dollar their clients invest with you, the bank will earn more money than it would if they kept their assets in the bank.”
Franchisors should create a presentation in the local language, establish credibility by aligning with recognizable financial institutions, and express a sincere interest in the people and culture where they are trying to expand.
The need is clear. According to the National Center for Education Statistics in the U.S., participation in extracurricular activities is strongly associated with educational success as evidenced by participants’ better attendance, higher levels of achievement, and aspirations to higher levels of education.
Parents consistently look for ways to explore and ignite the academic and artistic interests of their children.
So, to do their part in meeting parent demands and making a difference for today’s youth, franchisors in the vibrant children’s education sector need to know where to find the right candidates, in order to bring those opportunities to global markets.
Intelligent marketing and careful selection of local market partners is a critical part of successful international expansion for franchise concepts in this dynamic market niche.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Matthew Jonas is President of TopFire Media, a leading fully-integrated public relations and digital marketing agency specializing in franchise development and lead generation. Matthew has built a nearly 20-year career dedicated to delivering an integrated and strategically-based approach for emerging, established and mature brands.