BVM - Nov, 2014 - page 71

Business View - November 2014 71
The ideal prototype building in each market – though it
occasionally is altered by specific local zoning regula-
tions – includes “an Old World, European castle feel,”
she said. All locations are built from the ground up,
with each new location taking from two to three years
to complete, with an approximate development price
tag of $3 million. A typical school’s workforce is 25 em-
ployees upon opening.
Prospective franchisees are not required to have a
background in education, but those without such his-
tory are required to hire an on-site director who does
have a track record of operating a school facility, has
an appropriate degree in the field and can serve as
“the face of the school,” Dahler said.
“We build a smaller school than our competitors. It’s
something that separates us,” she said. “We consider
it a boutique-type childcare setting, where we’ve got a
smaller group of children and it’s more of a family at-
mosphere. We do have higher tuition rates as a result,
but we’re definitely catering to a specific type of family
who does not want to have big-brand childcare with
300 and 400 students in the building and strangers
keeping their children.
“We want to have a tight, small staff and a tight enroll-
ment base.”
Once the students reach the classroom, the competi-
tive separation continues.
Dahler is a big proponent of communication between
teaching personnel and executive leadership, with
specific online forums dedicated to training and shar-
ing ideas across the full company spectrum.
Additionally, a proprietary curriculum was developed
to be both teacher-friendly and child-driven, which she
said encourages spontaneity in the classroom – with
teachers preparing lessons on topics that they’re pas-
sionate about and children having the chance to mold
activities to their interests.
As for the future, a perpetual commitment to excel-
lence and teamwork remains mandatory.
“I really am not focused on how quick we can grow and
how fast we can get there, it’s really more about how
do we get the right people on this team and how do
we do it right way and have everybody happy,” Dahler
said. “Everyone has everybody’s back and is very loy-
al. Every franchisor hopes for that, but almost none of
them truly achieve it.
“I would do it differently if I owned a tanning salon or
a restaurant, but this is a very critical. It’s a business
where you just have to get it right, and it’s so important
that we’re making a difference.”
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