Posts Tagged ‘Owning your own business’

“Kris Girrell and Sarah Blumenstock Girrell have owned a Goddard School franchise for four years. However, they understood the importance of finding the right franchisor long before they became preschool franchisees. With long careers in corporate management, the pair thoroughly investigated their options when they became interested in franchising. Here’s how they chose the Goddard School.” –

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Click here to see The Goddard School’s Franchisee Satisfaction Report.

- Early Childhood Education Franchise Plans Aggressive Five-Year Expansion -

Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI), the franchisor of The Goddard School® system, announced today a strong 2013 with the awarding of 41 new franchise agreements to qualified franchisees and the opening of 18 schools in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

This momentum is part of GSI’s expansion plan targeting communities across the country.  The company has set a five-year development goal of awarding 60 new franchise agreements and opening 30 new schools per year by 2019.

“Our expansion in 2013 marks the beginning of our effort to open dozens of new Goddard School franchises nationwide,” said Joseph Schumacher, president and chief executive officer, Goddard Systems, Inc.  “The demand for childcare is at an all-time high. Over 15 million children in the U.S. require some form of childcare arrangement*, and this, coupled with our unique play-based approach to learning as well as our unprecedented franchisee support, will help propel system growth in 2014 and beyond.”

GSI launched 2014 with a targeted franchise development strategy focused on eight markets including Boston, Mass.; Houston, Texas; Minneapolis, Minn.; Seattle, Wash.; Portland, Ore.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Hartford, Conn.; and New York City (Manhattan).  The company is seeking qualified franchisees with a minimum net worth of $450,000 and liquidity of $150,000.  No education experience is necessary.

The Goddard School franchise operates on a dual-management system, distinctive in the early childhood education industry. Each location is managed on-site by the franchise owner, as well as an educational director responsible for working with teachers and implementing the curriculum. This separation and clear delineation of roles has resulted in The Goddard School system’s success and high satisfaction ratings for 25 years.

Long recognized as the industry leader, The Goddard School system has been consistently listed in Entrepreneur Magazine’s “Franchise 500” ranking as the number one childcare franchise for 12 years. Goddard School franchisees benefit from a strong average EBITDA*** of $240,631** per location, manageable hours and GSI’s unmatched support with real estate, site development, operations, IT, marketing, advertising, quality assurance and training to ensure smooth school operations.

“At Goddard Systems, we focus relentlessly on supporting our franchisees in every aspect of their business,” said Schumacher. “This focus enables our franchisees to inspire success among the more than 45,000 students they influence every day. Our support, coupled with our responsible and reasonable development plan, will enable The Goddard School system to solidify its leadership position in the industry and in communities across the country.”

Interested candidates should expect the initial investment to open a Goddard School to range from $600,010 to $707,410, depending on real estate and other expenses. Additional information is available on or call 800-272-4901 to speak with a franchise development executive.

*Source: Child Care Aware of America: Child Care in America 2012 State Fact Sheets (June 2012) as sourced from U.S. Census Bureau. (2011). American Community Survey, 2008-2010 three-year estimates. Retrieved May 30, 2012, from

**Average based on mature franchises (those open over 18 months) in 2012.  As stated in Item 19 of GSI’s Franchise Disclosure Document.  154 of 369 (41.7%) of mature franchises did as well or better than the average.  Your individual results may differ.  There is no assurance you’ll earn as much.

***Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization.


Franchisee Profile: Manisha Parekh

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Manisha Parekh has lived in Maryland since 1996 and considers it her home.  She has deep roots in the community. Her husband and two children are also involved in the community and enjoy all aspects of what Maryland has to offer. Manisha holds a bachelor’s degree in home economics with minors in several fields including early childhood development.  For over a decade, she owned and operated her own, highly successful in-home childcare business before opening The Goddard School located in Gambrills, Maryland.

Q: How did you learn about the brand?

A: Once my children were grown, I wanted to expand my childcare business.  My husband visited a franchise conference that featured a Goddard School booth.  We contacted the corporate headquarters and began the franchising process.  We were excited when we got a call back.  From then on, we have been preparing to bring The Goddard School to the Gambrills community.

Q: What aspect of joining a franchise system appealed to you?

A: Every challenge is a great experience with Goddard.  The business aspects of running a new school have required me to adjust, because my previous in-home business presented different challenges than having a stand-alone preschool.  The support system in place at Goddard never makes you feel alone.  Just look at what we have accomplished so far.  I am proud to be a Goddard owner and it shows in every aspect of what we do.

We explored a lot of different early childhood schools before we found Goddard.  We believe in the Goddard philosophy and its commitment to the community.  It’s a great, big family connected by a network of schools and corporate resources, and it holds true to our morals and beliefs as educators, owners and ambassadors of the company.

Q: What makes your business different?

A: The Goddard School truly understands individual children’s needs.  We have had so many people come to us saying they appreciate our work, because our philosophy centers around the community and home.  The program is phenomenal.  I am fully involved and I am always here.  I see every family that joins and take personal interest in each child’s development.  The rapport that I have with each family gives me great satisfaction and I know that we are making a positive impact on their lives.

Q: What are your expansion or development plans?

A: Currently, we are focused on developing our first school.  I am fully devoted to it and determined to make my school the best it can be. I put my heart and soul in everything I do.  In a few years we would like to build more schools so that we can spread our services to other communities.  This will only happen when we have accomplished the goals we have for Gambrills.

Q: Do you have any other interesting hobbies or passions?

A: My family loves to travel.  We do everything together from hiking to playing sports.  Children are my true passion.  I love teaching them and watching them grow and blossom as individuals.  My children love what I do and want to be fully involved in helping me.  My husband and I have built our dream in Gambrills and the School has become our passion, hobby and a great source of enjoyment.  It feels like everyone in the family, from my children to my parents, has come together realize this dream.

By Stephen Markley
RedEye Chicago

In 2008, Jason Pullukat, 33, decided to move from his job in the corporate world at Kraft foods to become the owner of a franchise of the Goddard School in Lincoln Park. Located on Armitage and Clifton avenues, the school–serving children from six weeks to six years–opened this past week. RedEye ‘Hoods sat down with Pullukat to ask him what it was like to make a drastic career change at the age of 30, and what it’s like to go from corporate meetings to running a preschool.

Talk a little bit about your background in the corporate world. What made you make the switch to education?

“My mom ran preschool centers, so I was always around it growing up. In 2007 I decided I wanted to get out of the corporate world and try something else. I saw the need for quality early-childhood education in Chicago. The trend was parents moving from the city to the suburbs for that education. There wasn’t a huge supply here in the city, and Goddard’s reputation stands for itself.

I’m focused on being in the office, on site every day, handling the payroll, the marketing, the advertising — the business, really. Usually schools have one director who has to wear two hats. Our educational director to handles the curriculum, and I’m on sight at all times doing the business aspects.

I was doing both jobs for a while, and I didn’t leave Kraft until October 2010.”

Were you hesitant at all being a male in a predominantly female profession?

“Being a younger male in this kind of profession, it was always in the back of my mind. But I talked to a lot of male [school] owners and asked how they felt. I don’t think there’s any negative perception about it, not like maybe there used to be. It’s the same trust: everyone’s coming in with a smile and leaving with a smile. Also, it’s that male role model that children can see even at a young age.”

As a young person, did it make you nervous to make such a drastic career move?

“Any time you’re leaving what you know — which in my case was corporate America — it’s a big deal. You ask questions. It’s the same as going from Kraft to working at a newspaper; it’s a whole different industry. Now I’ve left what I know, I don’t have the paycheck coming in every week. Now every dollar I earn is based on how I perform.”

Why did you choose Lincoln Park for the school franchise?

“We looked at 50 or 60 different sites and didn’t sign the papers on this location until the end of 2009. We began the construction shortly after, combining a vacant lot and an existing building on Seminary. Parents don’t expect a private institution on Armitage.

We definitely saw that demand [for private preschool] in Lincoln Park, and finding a place right on Armitage by the Brown and Purple Line — that’s the perfect location. You have many young professionals in this neighborhood. We want to convince them to stay instead of leaving for the suburbs.”

What does Goddard offer parents and children?

“All of our lead teachers have bachelor’s [degrees] at minimum. We have that great location, private playgrounds (so we’re not taking 50 children to a park), library resources, and organic and local lunch options.

Then besides the core curriculum — math, science, writing — we have enrichment programs like sign language, yoga, music, manners, world cultures, art history and foreign languages like Spanish and Mandarin. And it’s all built into the tuition. We’re not a daycare. There’s a reason we have degreed professionals.

For the kids, we want to encourage that attention span and developing a love of learning. We specialize in play-based learning, so the kids will learn to write their names with their fingers in cool whip on a table. Or to teach them about art history, we’ll tape paper on the bottom of a table and let them draw while the teachers explain Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel. Stuff that makes it fun makes them want to learn.”

What advice do you have for other young people thinking about making a career change?

“I was single back when I decided to do this. I didn’t have a family. Now I’m married and have a baby due in October. I wanted to get to the next stage but also wanted to be secure in my future, so it’s all about doing that due diligence, doing that research to make sure it’s a good fit and you’re not going to regret it. Now I spend part of my day playing with kids.

It’s much different than being in an office or flying to different cities every week for meetings. I have fun listening to laughter when I work and just having fun with the kids, running around on the playground. I never had a chance to do that for the last 12 years being in corporate America.

What Clay and Gina Did Before Goddard

Clay received his undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering. He was involved with chemical plants and explosive manufacturing. “Engineering is a heavily regulated industry,” says Clay. “It is all about getting the details right. Goddard is the same way.” When Gina was pregnant with the couple’s first child, they decided that it would be best to move and go back home to Rhode Island. After moving back, Clay got a job as a consultant. “The Goddard team knows that details matter and we need to have diligence on day to day issues.”

How Clay and Gina Specifically Found Out About The Goddard School

Clay saw The Goddard School in Entrepreneur Magazine and was ranked as a very high performance school. After seeing the article, Clay investigated further and found that many of The Goddard School franchisee’s were just like himself. “I started thinking that my community could really benefit from a high performance child care facility,” said Clay. After speaking with many franchisees, Clay knew that The Goddard School was the right choice for himself and his family. Clay and Gina opened their location in August 2006.

Why Clay and Gina Became and Love Being Goddard School Franchisees

“I was impressed with the consistency and uniformity of each school,” said Clay. “All of the owners have such interesting backgrounds.” Not only were Clay and Gina impressed with the assortment of owners who had similar backgrounds to themselves, but they were also impressed by the process that The Goddard School used to determine if they were a good franchisee fit. “Goddard has a great professional home office and everyone is very down to earth,” Clay boasts.

Community Involvement

It’s important to Clay and Gina that their school feels approachable and welcoming to all of the families within the community they serve. They host monthly open houses and continue to partner with other local business owners to build a positive relationship in order to understand how they can better fulfill their community’s needs.

In Your Customer’s Shoes

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

According to Bob Belson, author of 1001 Ways to Take Initiative at Work, a key part of being able to take initiative is to identify with your customer’s position. Understanding what a customer really wants or needs is essential to delivering on that need.  Yet the longer you are in a job, the more likely it is for you to lose empathy for your customer.  Here are ways to keep your customer focus fresh:

We Are All Customers

Pay attention to how you are treated as a customer.  Who gives you undivided attention and makes you feel welcome?  How do you react to such treatment?  Ask others who provide exceptional service how they are able to do it.  What keeps their approach to dealing with customers fresh?

Identify Needs and Solutions

When you deal with a customer, put yourself in their position.  Ask the customer how they would like you to resolve their problem.  Identify multiple solutions to increase the chances that you can meet their need.  Be pro-active and experiment with various solutions and scenarios.  Follow through and meet their need.

Have Fun

Focus on enjoying your job and enjoying your interaction with customers.  Vary the way you go about your daily tasks whenever possible.  Be in the present as you focus on dealing with others.

Plan the Work — Work the Plan

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Proficient time management is the key in maximizing your business’ efficiency.

A strategic plan is vital in helping to accomplish tasks, projects and the ultimate goal of running a successful business. Even the best intentions may never be realized without a plan. Once you have a plan outlined, it’s time to move to the implementation stage and set everything in motion.

  • Break things down into manageable tasks and create a schedule that will allow you to complete them.
  • Don’t allow yourself to become bogged down with thoughts that you won’t be able to accomplish before you’ve really even tried.
  • Be receptive to the idea and push past any self doubt.
  • Let go of negative thoughts and approach the process with an open mind.
  • Allow yourself to be open to progress, change and success – you can do this!

Effective time management will enable you to meet deadlines more easily and improve teamwork, motivation and morale. Peter Turla, a time management expert and president of The National Management Institute, says managing a small business “is like being the parent of a large family that you have to feed. Each aspect of your job can be like another child that needs nurturing. You can’t neglect any one of the ‘children’ and expect to have a healthy family.”

Community outreach strengthens ties to customers and improves public image. Grow your grassroots marketing efforts by participat­ing in your local Chamber of Commerce, serving on a board for a local charity and performing volunteer work. Take your involvement a step further by supporting local events, sponsoring sports teams and participating in activities.

It may not be easy to measure the return on investment of commu­nity outreach. The benefits may be intangible, but the value is there nonetheless. As with many marketing activities, community outreach should be viewed as one of many contributing factors in your business development efforts.

She was a stay-at-home mom and he was an aviation supervisor with what they thought was great job security.  Unfortunately, the tough economy hit the Riese family by surprise, like it has so many others.  That’s when Fred and Valaire Riese discovered Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI) and decided to open a Goddard School, a preschool for children from six weeks to six years, in Chanhassen, Minnesota.

The Goddard School is a nationwide franchise of GSI, headquartered in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. With 360+ schools, it is the fastest growing preschool in the United States and was recently recognized as the “#1 Childcare Franchise” for the ninth consecutive year by Entrepreneur magazine (January 2010).

The Rieses were looking for a franchisor who, according to Valaire, “upheld its operational manual and had very high quality assurance standards.  We were looking for something that was ‘family friendly’ with operating hours during the day, Monday through Friday…conducive to our young family’s schedule.”  She adds, “Operating a Goddard School allows us flexibility so we are available for our own children each day.  Fred coaches little league baseball, I volunteer and help with Girl Scouts and dance.”

“The support from GSI has far exceeded our expectations,” adds Valaire.  “The corporate support and follow through has been outstanding. It was and is important for us to know that we can call the CEO at any time and speak directly to him. Our questions are always answered quickly and our input is valued. Just as we consider our enrolled families part of our Goddard family we feel very much a part of the GSI family.”