Before Ron Penn opened his Kumon Math and Reading Center, becoming a business owner was simply a life-long dream. After nearly 20 years working for General Motors, Penn transitioned from an automotive engineer to the owner and operator of the Kumon of Bloomfield Hills -- North Woodward Center in Michigan.
"As I got older and a little wiser, I started to really evaluate what I valued and wanted to accomplish in this phase of my life and career," says Penn. Having recently celebrated his fifth year of successfully running his business, Penn offers the following tips for those considering opening their own franchise.
1. Develop a solid financial plan. Preparing a projected start-up fund for getting your new venture off the ground is essential. Carefully research the required net worth, investment capital, and potential financial incentives offered. Kumon provides a number of financial incentives and also has one of the lowest start-up fees in its industry category. A grand opening marketing subsidy is provided for all franchisees, in addition to the purchase of learning center furniture and exterior primary signage.
2. Join a growing, well-established brand. Invest in a company that has a solid customer-base and consistently demonstrates growth. Buying into a time-tested learning method founded more than 50 years ago, helped instill my belief in the Kumon brand and the strength of its program. With operations in 48 countries, I join nearly 1,500 U.S. Kumon franchisees in developing the abilities of thousands of children. As a result, I've had fortunate opportunities to meet other Kumon franchisees from around the world and gain a wealth of perspectives and learning practices.
3. Consider training and support. One of the benefits of owning a franchise is receiving the tools and resources needed to position you for success. Kumon provides a full course training of its methodology and philosophy to its franchisees. Furthermore, they work with you to develop a concrete business plan to operate your learning center and become profitable. In addition to training provided at the start, ongoing learning opportunities are available through annual franchisee conferences and development programs. They've laid out a clear winning formula for entrepreneurs such as myself to be successful. We actively work together to provide the best educational environment and experience for students.
4. Invest in your passion. My connection to Kumon was personal, as my sons Wayne and Kevin excelled in the program throughout grade school. Today, they are both biomedical engineers and active contributing members of society that I am extremely proud of. The long-term investment I made when opening my business was not only financial. I'm making a lasting contribution by being a part of the educational experience of our next generation of future leaders.
5. Be willing to commit all your time and effort. The business' success or failure will rely on you and you alone. As both owner and operator, becoming a Kumon franchisee requires a strong entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for advancing the education of children. I am operating a small business where I have control of decisions in managing, developing, and growing my center. It's up to me to execute the plan and incorporate my experience, knowledge, and vision to bring this business to life.
Founded in 1958, Kumon has four million students enrolled in 26,000 learning centers in 48 countries and regions. Kumon North America is headquartered in Teaneck, N.J.
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