Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, Scholars Education Centre franchisee Abrar Hussain always dreamed of owning a business one day. “I’d always wanted to be my own boss so I could see the fruition of my efforts more quickly,” he explains. “Franchising seemed stable. It works well if you want structure and a proven business model.”
After completing his MBA, Hussain worked in business IT and as a business consultant. Still set on business ownership, he attended a number of franchise shows over the years, initially focusing his search on consulting businesses.
After doing more research, however, he became interested in the tutoring industry. “Tutoring is still an evolving business in its nascency in Canada,” he explains. Not only that, it was an industry he felt passionate about. “I wanted to have a business with a purpose that would allow me to give back to the community.”
After meeting a representative from Scholars Education Centre at the FranchiseCanada Show in 2012, Hussain took an interest in the franchise and set out to do his due diligence. “The more I started digging, the more it made sense,” he says. “They’ve been operating in Ontario for a long period of time so they have a very good model.” He liked that the system was developed in Canada by Canadian teachers. “Their program was created in conjunction with the school curriculum so you can provide a high level of support to students.”
Hussain opened his location in 2012 in Mississauga and says his favourite part of operating a tutoring franchise is seeing the difference he makes in students’ lives. He cites the example of one student who was struggling with math but ended up liking it so much, he wanted to continue his studies over the holidays. “Making them love learning, making them understand that math or any other subject is not ominous, it’s not something they cannot understand; this is something they take with them throughout their lives.”
Hussain says prospective franchisees should conduct thorough research before investing in a franchise, just as he did. “Find out about the market, the industry and then the local available market and what the franchisor is offering.”
In addition to market research, he says self-assessment is also key. “A franchise gives you an established system but they can’t make you love the business. Unless you love the industry you’re in, it doesn’t make sense.” He also says to know what you can afford so you don’t waste time researching opportunities that are beyond your price range.
His advice to new franchisees is to be hands-on in running your franchise before delegating to staff, at least in the beginning. “Do it yourself to begin with before you hand over the reins.”
Once up and running, he says franchisees should take full advantage of the franchisor’s resources and expertise. “You have huge support whenever you’re trying out anything. Whether it’s ad planning or seasonal planning, they have done it with others over and over again. That’s something I draw on from the backend office support.”
For example, he says he was able to turn to head office for advice on advertising and hiring when he hit his first busy back-to-school season. He says the support provided is one of the biggest advantages of being a franchisee. “Head office support is extensive,” he says. “Everybody is very well tuned to making sure every single location is successful.”