Making franchising work for your business

Yoga Bugs

Yoga Bugs

YogaBugs Ltd launched as a teacher training company in 2003. The initial aim was to train people with a strong foundation in their own yoga practice to teach young children aged 2 ½ to 7 years of age.

The YogaBugs programme is a truly inspiring experience. We share our love of yoga with young children through very disneyesque crazy stories and adventures. The children literally thing they are in a space rocket on their way to the moon to save a group of astronauts; whilst doing all of this they are having a full yoga workout, engaging all sorts of muscle groups, doing some fantastic breathing exercises and having a lovely relaxation session at the end!

Schools, Nurseries & Parents have embraced the concept as not only does it work on a child’s physical well being but also their emotional development. It’s all inclusive and non competitive which makes it truly accessible to all children. We have managed to be very successful in securing government initiatives to fund classes, which has had a huge impact on offering it to the state education sector.

During our days as a teacher training company, we offered individuals a two day training programme backed up with an operations manual that gave them clear guidance on how to approach, schools and nurseries.

The teacher training model grew significantly due to the purely innovative approach we took and engaging brand. Towards the end of 2006 we had trained in the region of 1200 teachers. At any given time at least 800 were active.

The teachers had to comply with a licence agreement, and we ensured they were police checked, insured and supplied us with a full list of their classes which were promoted via our website.

The difficulty we had with this model was that our teachers tended to have a very strong yoga and teaching background but their business skills varied greatly; as a result we had some incredibly successful teachers, whilst others lacked the confidence to market themselves and didn’t necessarily promote themselves or the brand in the most professional manner.

We knew work for the teachers was out there, therefore we needed to find a way to market classes and find them work. Employing someone at head office to find work across the country was not an option; we knew we needed to find someone on a local basis to develop each region.

In early 2007, we secured investment and our initial goal was to launch a franchise model overseas so we could expand into new countries. However once we started to research what franchising could do for the business, we realised that we could create a new level to our business infrastructure, that would offer far greater reach to children throughout the UK and enable teachers to achieve their teaching goals.

We spent 6 months working with a franchise consultant; following all sorts of research we opted to introduce a Management Franchise model. The idea was that someone would invest in an area with c50,000 children (+/- 10% depending on socio economics). Their role was to recruit a team of teachers, who we would train. They would find these teachers work before, during & after the school day and ensure quality across the board, in terms of teaching standards, how the brand was being represented and pricing policy.

A Management Franchisee can expect to earn between £30,000 & £50,000 operating profit in their first year, depending on their performance and success. Our training has becomes so comprehensive; we have a very focused activity schedule for people to follow and for those that do; the opportunity to earn a rewarding return on their investment is there.

The Management Franchise Model was launched in August 2007 and aimed at people who wanted to run a fulltime home based business. They required very strong business skills as their role is to constantly business develop the area. The Management Franchise has been a great success for people who can commit to it fulltime.

YogaBugs Ltd earns money through an initial franchise fee, followed by an ongoing management service fee.

Whilst the Management Franchise has grown considerably, we still continued to receive enquiries from people who wanted to teach children yoga and work 10 to 20 hours a week whilst building a small business from home that worked around family life. We recognised that the Management Franchise would not necessarily be the right model for rural parts of the country.

This prompted us to research what else we could offer our target audience and in October 09, we launched what is now called our Micro Franchise Model.

This is ideal for people with a basic foundation in their own yoga practice. They are awarded a territory with around 3000 children aged 2 ½ to 7 years. They are given two days of teacher training and two further days of intense business training. Our goals is to arm them with all the tools so that they can go out and sell classes to schools, nurseries & health centres, before, during and after the school day; as well as other target audiences.

The opportunity only costs £1000 plus vat and they pay a fixed quarterly licence fee of £780 plus vat. They receive ongoing support & training from head office; access to a comprehensive database software that integrates a Client Relationship Management Software, along with eMarketing tool, Financial Manager & Content Management System. The database powers their business by being a great support tool.

They are given their own unique page on our website and can promote themselves within their predetermined area through the supply of business & sales tools.

Since the launch of the Micro in October 09, we have awarded 16 territories. The really exciting thing is people who previously enquired into the Management Franchise are drawn to this due to the lower investment level, lower time commitment, yet they still have the opportunity to build a financially rewarding and fun business; doing something they know is valuable to the next generation.

We are continuing to offer the Management Franchise to people who have a proven business background; strong commercial acumen and people management skills.

The two models work alongside each other very well and compliment each other. Given the change in the economy in recent times, companies must be willing to be flexible with their approach and what they offer.

YogaBugs launched it’s first Master Franchise in Australia in November 09; the Australians will be offered both the Management & Micro Franchise opportunity from day one.

Our overseas model is now in full swing. We are in negotiations with people in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan & Canada.

For anyone wanting to expand their business; franchising is a very interesting route to consider. The key is to finding a formula that anyone can operate. Probably one of our biggest initial mistakes was thinking people would work as hard as us; clear instruction and direction is what people want when they invest in a franchise. They want to be told how to make a success.

Two and half years down the track I feel we have learnt a lot. We have a network we are proud of; and know that the ultimate winners in this whole thing is the children who attend our classes. Without a franchise network, we couldn’t offer the service we do; thus making franchising a mutually beneficial way of expanding your business model.

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