The allure of small business ownership centres around independence, flexibility and control. But the management styles of those operations can look vastly different. In the case of franchising, that ownership model will be dependent on the franchisor.
As a person who wants to get into franchising, do you know what type of owner you want to be?
Are you more hands-on? Do you want to manage from afar, or do you want input into daily tasks? Do you like having a career and being in control of everything? Do you like managing teams and taking a large overhead view of the business operation?
These are questions entrepreneurs need to ask themselves before investing in a franchise. Ultimately, it’s a partnership between you and the franchisor, which will have certain requirements of its franchisees.
In franchising, there are typically three types of franchisees: owner-operator, semi-absentee and absentee owner. While all offer control of the business function, the responsibilities of the daily operations can look different.
Kumon North America uses the owner-operator franchise model, which has many benefits for the owner. This type of ownership is ideal for those who want to maintain daily control over all facets of the business. It also works well for those who are first-time franchisees. It teaches them all functions of the business’s operations from the ground up.
That’s a style that works for many Kumon Instructors who transitioned from other careers in information technology, education and various professions to own their own business. With Kumon, they are able to maintain a career and make decisions as business owners on a daily basis. It’s the best of both worlds.
The owner-operator style appealed to Lydia Chan, the franchise owner of Kumon Centre of Beacon, N.Y. She had worked for the New York City Department of Education for several years, focusing on special education, mainstreaming students and STEM programs.
She said a benefit of working in the franchise owner-operator model was that it combines the economic rewards of being an entrepreneur with her love of education. "I love to help kids learn that they can do anything and go anywhere," she says.
"Kumon gave me the opportunity to own my own business and not deal with so much bureaucracy," Chan adds.
Franchisees in the owner-operator model also benefit from a lower cost of entry into small business ownership. That’s because a lot of the costs associated with the opening of a new business fall on the franchisor. Kumon Instructors opening new centres in Canada are able to receive up to $14,000 in incentives that help with marketing, furniture, carpet, paint, signage and other items associated with starting a small business. As an owner, you also have the benefit of working with a team of people who want you to succeed and who you can rely on for advice.
And while Kumon’s Instructors are expected to serve dual roles as both business owner and Instructor, they also receive the necessary training. Whether they come from the corporate or education world, Kumon’s instruction for new owners is comprehensive for the owner-operator model.
“To me, it was an advantage to come in with a fresh set of eyes, as someone who has never done this or had a child who has done this,” Chan says. “I was able to put in processes that work for me.”