Tag Archives: Jami Cook

Franchisor Support for Grade Learning Franchisees

By Donna Balkos and Jami Cook

Jami

We interact with our franchisor every day; head office is a great support to all the franchisees. It doesn’t matter what’s going on, or what the new lines of businesses are, you always have the franchisor standing by.

There are also training resources available, for the teaching and administrative sides of the business. For example, if we’re staring at a business form and just not understanding it, we can call anyone at head office—even our president, Michael Bateman—and they are there to help. In fact, when we took over and really needed help with the financial side of the business, Michael sat with us for the whole afternoon, going over what we needed to do, how we should proceed and issues we might come across.

Our franchisor also organizes bi-monthly webinars with all the owners, plus a lot of conference calls, so we are all on the same page. That’s really improved over the last five or six years, as the franchisor has worked on bringing all of us together.

Donna

There are so many rewards to running this franchise. Watching how our teachers and managers work together, creating a positive environment and a sense of community is very satisfying. There’s also our partnership. Jami and I have worked together for so long, and been so supportive of one another. It makes this all worthwhile.

All that said, every other reward pales in comparison to the pride we take in our students’ success. When we see people come in, unsure about what to do or where to go, we help them find their way. It’s incredible when a student comes in and says, ‘Look, I got an 89 per cent on my math test,’ when they were failing math before. After months of plodding through and hating their studies, they get this sudden success.

Read the full article: An Education in Franchising

Supporting Specialists Makes Our Grade Learning Franchise Strong

By Donna Balkos and Jami Cook

Our success is really based on the strength of our teachers. We have experts working for us, each one proficient in a different field, with different strengths. Our career services specialists might have a guidance background, while our professional development team has experience working in a corporate role. Our English-as-a-second-language (ESL) instructors specialize in teaching in that environment. Our high-school credit instructors often come from a more traditional teaching background. It all varies depending on what they are teaching.

As franchisees, it is our role to support these specialists; our days revolve primarily around what they need and how we can help them do the best possible job. Of course, there are also administrative duties. We work closely with head office and attend various meetings and conferences, but we pride ourselves on still being hands-on in the centres and supporting our teachers.

On a day-to-day basis, a lot of our job comes down to problem solving. If something comes up and the teachers are busy seeing to the needs of their students, we’ll sit down with parents or teachers or whomever to address whatever issues has come up and figure out what we can do to work it out. We also spend a lot of time planning out the future of our business. We’ve experienced some great changes in the last year, and we’re excited about the new opportunities that lie ahead for us and Grade Learning, in general.

Read the full article: An Education in Franchising

Starting Off as a Grade Learning Franchisee

By Donna Balkos and Jami Cook

During our first end-of-year period, it was a bit of a shock to realize exactly how many responsibilities and government requirements we needed to fulfil. It’s something any new franchisee needs to be aware of. At first, we tackled these tasks ourselves, but it just kept taking up more and more of our time, time that could be spent focusing on the business. Eventually, we contracted a professional who manages the books, which is a move we’d recommend to any novice entrepreneur.

We also began instituting some changes of our own, in order to better manage and grow the business. When we took over, we had two locations and quite a large territory. In fact, it was so large we soon divided one centre into two. We were up to about 50 or 60 students, which is bigger than we really want a centre to be. We found a new space nearby; some students transferred over and the centre has been growing from there.

Read the full article: An Education in Franchising

Grade Learning Helped Us Build a Business To Be Proud Of

By Donna Balkos and Jami Cook

People say it’s good to step out of your comfort zone, to grow from the experience. We’ve certainly put that advice into practice as franchisees with Grade Learning. When we took over our first territory with this educational franchise, it was scary, because we were coming from different backgrounds. Thankfully, with help and hard work, we’ve grown as entrepreneurs and educators. We can also better appreciate when our students are pushed out of their individual comfort zones and help them succeed, too.

Read the full article: An Education in Franchising