Wearing multiple hats
My typical day starts early with planning lessons for each and every child. Then I answer any e-mails from their parents and, while I do have a bookkeeper, I have to make sure I keep on top of tuition collection and payroll.
I have staff prepare the classrooms before the kids come in. My chief assistant is helpful in this regard and also answers phone calls. I am in the classroom right at 3:30 p.m. to start observing how the students do their classwork.
Sometimes, I’m meeting with parents to discuss their children’s progress. I also have to deal with HR issues—for example, each summer, I have to think ahead about my hiring needs for the upcoming fall season.
In this sense, I would say I wear three hats every day at my franchise. First, I am an educator and instructor. Secondly, I am an employer. And third, I am a business manager.
Fulfilled by my role
I feel I was divinely led to Kumon. I see some of my employees going through the process of becoming teachers in the public school system and I know that I would never be happy being mandated to teach the way they are. I plan to stay with this company until the end of my career—and that won’t mean hanging up my hat at 65—because it’s so fulfilling. I could certainly see myself expanding further.
Also, I’ve seen the Kumon brand become much stronger over the years. When I started, I found when I told people I owned a Kumon centre, they would ask me, “What’s that?” Today, they know.
One of the reasons for that change came from head office. When I first became a franchisee, they were changing their business model to target more commercial real estate, instead of churches and community centres, because they wanted to move the brand forward and get it seen by more people. Over the years, this has vastly increased our brand recognition.
The children we nurture, however, are our best form of advertising. They go and talk to their friends, who wonder how they can accomplish certain reading and math tasks earlier than the rest of their class at school. The answer is Kumon.
Caren Cormier is a Kumon franchisee in Vaughan, Ont. For more information, visit www.kumon.com/vaughan-west.
KUMON MATH & READING CENTRES
Date of first franchise: 1958
Franchise/corporate units: 331
Investment range: $63,370 – $158,390
Initial franchise fee: $1,000