Be The Boss: Why did you decide to start a Kumon franchise?
Audree McIvor: Before moving to Calgary, I worked in various managerial positions and with children of various ages. After moving to Calgary from BC, I knew that I wanted to keep my “West Coast lifestyle” of working hard and having fun so I researched a number of opportunities that would allow me to use my past experience and provide the flexibility to create my own hours. Kumon Math and Reading became an obvious choice. I enjoy keeping busy and believe me, even when the centre is not open for class, as a Kumon Instructor, I am always very busy, but I am able to achieve the balance that I need and want. I spend my spare time playing sports and walking my dog. I really enjoy my work life and I am able to maintain an active lifestyle. Because I enjoy my job, sometimes it feels like I don’t work a day in my life.
BTB:How did you get started and what kind of support did you receive from your franchisor?
AM:Because of the relatively low franchise fee, I was able to get started without much capital. That was a big pro in terms of choosing Kumon franchise over another franchise opportunity. Another main reason was the support. Kumon corporate works very closely with its franchisees right from the beginning and throughout their tenure are always open to hearing the franchisee’s ideas and questions. Kumon requires all instructors to undergo intensive training before they are qualified to instruct students at their centre, and they have on-going professional development offerings for Instructors to help them improve their knowledge and skills. As soon as the doors opened on my first class day, I felt ready to take the lead.
BTB:What advice has been the most helpful so far?
AM:The best advice that I have received so far was during Kumon training. It was not related to the “business operations” in the way that you might expect. It was more about the approach that I needed to take with the business operations, and it was surprising in its simplicity: “Care about the children. If you do this, everything else falls into place.” It’s a lot like the idea of focusing on your customer and doing what is right for them, but it goes deeper than that at Kumon.
BTB:What do you hope to accomplish as Kumon Instructor?
AM:When I play sports, I give it 100%, and that’s what I encourage my students to do. As a Kumon Instructor, my main job is to really get to know my students and to figure out how to use the program to keep them motivated over the long-term so that they can discover their full academic potential. The skills and the confidence that they develop during their Kumon study will translate into success in other areas of their lives. That’s the deeper level. It’s not just about math and reading. It’s about much more. From a financial perspective, of course, I hope that my centre flourishes as well, but I think that goes hand-in-hand with delivering excellent service and a program that works. I really believe that my success is only possible through the success of the children at my centre. I’m thankful to have already received some positive feedback from the parents of my current students, and that makes it all worth it. I want to see “thinking faces” on my students while they are studying, and “smiling faces” on parents and children on their way in and out of the centre. For me, that’s success.