A franchise sector for all seasons


Paul Lewis, managing director of the Pitman Training Group, explains why education and franchising are currently a great fit.

Original article on elitefranchisemagazine.co.uk



One sector which has stood the test of time in the world of business is education. Global education spending equates to more than 10% of the world's GDP. The cost of education has continued to outpace the rate of inflation over the past two decades, and shows no sign of slowing down.

The manner in which education is delivered is forever evolving and nowadays there is a strong emphasis on developing lifelong learning skills which students require in order to be successful in the digital era. Many would even argue that the education sector is recession-proof. It is a sector currently in high demand and growing rapidly.

The ongoing pandemic, along with repeated lockdowns, has made everyone think very differently about education and its importance in our society. Thousands of schools throughout the UK have been forced to close their doors, and more than once, leaving the nation's children to come to terms with the realities of home schooling and remote learning.

At the same time, parents have been doing their best to ensure that their children's education can still continue. All of a sudden, parents became acutely aware of the importance of education, while appreciating the work which schools and college accomplish on a daily basis.

Yet children were not the only ones who would need to think differently about their future education going forward. In recent months millions of adults, especially those in sectors affected most by the pandemic, came face-to-face with the threat of redundancy and even unemployment itself. Many were faced with an immediate need to retrain and reskill for careers in new jobs - and some in unfamiliar sectors.

Even before Covid-19 landed on our doorsteps, industry had been changing fast, with workers needing to learn new skills quickly, just to stand still in the job market. The ongoing growth of new sectors, such as green energy, automation and technology, will spur even greater demand for new skills.

It is now becoming vital for adults to both reskill and upskill throughout their working lives. More than ever, people may have to contemplate making more than one career change during their working years. And it has been predicted that, over the next five years, one in three workers will need to transition to a completely different sector.

Not surprisingly, many new education and learning businesses have been launched to try and satisfy this recent demand. Well established education brands thrived during 2020 by harnessing technology and moving learning online. Above all, franchised education businesses were well placed to adapt to these changing conditions and showed great agility in responding to these new opportunities. Franchised businesses as a whole tend to be better placed than most to deal with any unexpected change in global circumstances. This is testament to the business model and the nature of self-employed franchised partners.

There are a number of compelling reasons why education franchises are becoming popular among those keen to set up their own businesses. The growing demand and increased spending in the education sector may be one reason, but it also gives people a genuine opportunity to change the lives of others. This second reason must not be overlooked.

Whether it is delivering education to children, or providing private tutoring, or helping adults to upskill and prepare for a career change, these types of services are a great magnet for new business owners wanting to change lives for the better. A learning process of any kind has the power to refine people’s thinking processes. It also helps people discover what they are passionate about.

Owning and running your own education business can be tremendously rewarding. You can genuinely say that you are doing your bit to help your local community and doing your bit for society as a whole. This is so eloquently summed up by Nelson Mandela who remarked: "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."

As well as being hugely rewarding and fulfilling, an education business also offers a fantastic commercial opportunity. People are investing more into their family's education than ever before. The revenue model can build up exponentially based on the number of students/learners or total of enrolments. Fixed costs can be well controlled in an education environment and variable costs are usually fairly minimal.

This means that once you exceed your critical mass (minimum number of students required to breakeven), then your business can become very profitable. And, ultimately, education businesses become a very attractive asset when you are ready to sell. Your chances of maximising returns when exiting are typically high.

Finally, think carefully about what sector is best for you. Becoming a franchisee is a life-changing moment, but choosing the right sector is the most important decision of all. I hope I have put a strong case for choosing education and why, during the current Covid-led climate, it makes the perfect franchise partner.'