Educational franchising has a great advantage of taking quality education to deserving learners in the cities and towns where access to good institutions may be limited. The partnership model, if initiated and managed well, may prove to be a boon for all stakeholders – the franchisor, the franchisee, and most importantly, the students, parents and the community.

Education in the 21st century is evolving faster than ever and the tech-savvy Generation Z, which was born between 1995 and 2009, and Generation Alpha, born after 2010, have high aspirations to grow and excel in life. They look up to education as an empowering means to fulfill their ambition. But the question that needs to be asked is: do we have sufficient number of educational institutions with necessary infrastructure, up-to-date curriculum, and competent teachers? Do we have the resources and intent to reach the last child in tier 2 or tier 3 cities? A good part of the answer lies in the competent launch and management of educational franchising.

Five most important things to consider while managing an educational franchise are:

Creating credibility and doing perception analysis

An educational institution operating under the franchise model has to possess the brand value that helps in high launch-pad and initial market capture. This, by no means, is an easy task, given the forces of disruption and competition. The franchisor has to create market credibility before venturing into educational franchising. Building a brand name by successfully running core institutions helps in creating this credibility. At the same time, the franchisees should do a perception analysis of the franchisor’s brand name and other due diligence before signing in.

Choosing the most conducive franchise model

There are different franchise models to suit the needs and ambitions of each and every franchisee. The Asset-Light model suits the underperforming institutions that want to transition from fixed costs to the variable cost structure by transferring capabilities such as people and technology to the franchisor. The built-to-suit model may be preferred by the investors who own land and are willing to build a school or college to let out on lease. Quite differently, the Franchisee Owned Company Supported model is best suited to the franchisees who wish to retain ownership of the property and incur capital expenditures while handling out the operations to the franchisor. For a successful partnership, the investors should take only such franchises which they can afford and manage.

Commercial Components

The successful management of an educational franchise depends on how streamlined the cash flow projections are, what the return on investments is and how lucrative is the deal from the point of view of royalty. The investors should study the market and partner with the franchise that demands less royalty and has prospects of maximising profits. 

Support Services

Once the partnership is forged, a whole slew of support services must be extended from the franchisor to the franchisee. Many a time, the franchisee is a well-meaning investor with an ambition to contribute towards society and nation-building through education. But he or she may lack the knowhow of successfully launching and operating an academic institution. That’s where the franchisor’s expertise comes into play. With architectural support, marketing and branding assistance, IT and auxiliary support, standard operating manual, curriculum design, implementation and regular professional development of teachers, and the placement support for students, the franchisor does complete hand-holding in the launch and successful management of a school. In turn, the franchisee should adhere to the SOPs of the franchise for better results and outcomes.

Probity of the Franchisee

A partnership is as good as the probity of the parties concerned. An educational franchise lasts long if the franchisee stays steadfast in commitment, realistic in expectations on ROI, and honest in honouring the agreement. For franchisors, it’s important to do background checks of the partners/franchisees before offering a franchise to run. The franchisee should be financially sound, should not have any criminal record and possess good behaviour.

These five factors are the sine qua non of a successful school partnership and they must be considered for an enduring educational franchise.