Archive for March, 2011

Prior to opening The Goddard School® located in Sandy Springs, GA, Jay Bryan had spent 21 years practicing law and assisting clients through business litigation issues, but had not owned a business of his own. When he first read about The Goddard School during a business trip flight, the idea of owning a school for young children struck a chord. Bryan decided to trade in the time he spent traveling for business for quality time with his family and opened his own Goddard School in January 2010.

 The Goddard School is a nationwide franchise of Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI), headquartered in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.  With 370+ schools, GSI is the fastest growing preschool franchise in the United States, and was recognized as the “#1 Childcare Franchise” for the tenth consecutive year by Entrepreneur magazine (January 2011).

“It is comforting to know that no matter what the issue or the problem, there is likely someone else who has faced it within the Goddard system,” says Bryan. “The ability to call or send an email to someone at the GSI corporate office or one of the other owners around the country helps alleviate the stress and concerns associated with owning your own business.”

While trade shows and franchise portals used to be a definite part of franchisors development strategies, these tactics are becoming a way of the past. Franchisors are needing to be creative to attract new franchisees and open up the lines of communication outside of trade shows. Thinking outside-the-box and creating a high-quality brand name known around the country has allowed Goddard Systems, Inc. to continue expanding despite the economic climate, where we opened 39 schools in 2009.

The Goddard School has charged forward using a few innovative tactics and outlets to open up more conversations with potential franchisees around the U.S. One method has been launching a social media campaign to increase our brand’s presence on the web and connect personally with our core demographic. Our parents, teachers and potential franchisees can now all connect with us in a personal way and view our interactions while performing due diligence on the Goddard brand.

One other tactic that has allowed our brand to continue marching forward has been our relationship with lenders. Due to the strong relationship our brand has built with local banks in the area, we have continued to allow our franchisees to take advantage of this powerful relationship to receive the funding necessary to open The Goddard School, despite the investment level. This has proven to be an extremely advantageous relationship for our brand in the current economic climate, where so many franchisors and potential franchisees are struggling to find the funding to open their own business.

These factors have played a large role in Goddard System’s growth strategy, opening up new conversations, relationships and connections with potential franchisees around the country, a factor that has led credibility to our system as a whole.

As a small business owner, you may find yourself struggling to manage your expectations with the reality of meeting your goals.  Actually implementing your ideas and strategies can be a particularly difficult aspect of owning your own business.  There are, however, a few simple tools that can be helpful in closing the gap between expectations and reality.

  • Clearly Define your Expectations:  If you do not clearly define your end goal, others may not understand when you delegate tasks to them.  Defining your end-goal can ensure that other people contribute to the task in a meaningful way.
  • Explain the Effect of Each Person’s Contribution:  Communicating the importance of employee contributions to the end-goal can transform seemingly mundane tasks.  Rather than feeling isolated, employees will feel part of the team, actively engaged in accomplishing a goal.
  • Remain Aware of your Shortcomings:  Assess your own contributions honestly.  Acknowledging that you do not have the knowledge or skills necessary to complete a task is the only way to ensure that someone else in the company does.  Hiring a highly qualified team can help bridge weak spots in implementing your goals.
  • Monitor Progress: Remain aware of the strengths and weaknesses of your plan from beginning to end, rather than at the beginning and at the end.  Similarly, encourage your employees by celebrating incremental achievements along the way.  Your employees will not only know that you are monitoring their progress, but also that their efforts are not going unnoticed.
  • Share Credit for Success:  Failure to give credit where credit is due can cause resentment among employees, and a lack of motivation to execute your vision to perfection.
  • Be Flexible:  Projects often need to be adjusted along the way.  Sometimes they are simply not worth continuing.  Remain flexible by making changes along the way and realize when a goal is no longer worth pursuing.

There is a way of “doing well by doing good” – it’s called community outreach. Community outreach efforts provide personal satisfaction, value to your community and value to your business – all while building a greater sense of unity with your customers, employees and neighbors. Consider making community outreach an important part of your marketing strategy and you will develop another competitive advantage for your
business.

It may not be easy to measure the return on investment of a community outreach program. The benefits may be intangible, but the value is there nonetheless. Community outreach should be viewed as one of the many contributing factors to your business development efforts. Not all community outreach opportunities will cost your business money, some may only require a few spare hours from volunteers.

Community outreach strengthens customer ties 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. If you are tenacious with your community outreach program,
you can generate positive buzz and free press coverage.