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“I’ve always been passionate about moving people from where they are now, to where they want to be”

“I’ve always been passionate about moving people from where they are now, to where they want to be”

Area director of three School is Easy franchises, Donna Garratty outlines her business journey, from initial investment through to franchisor support

Donna Garratty is the area director for the three territories of School is Easy: Lichfield & National Forest, Sutton Coldfield & Tamworth, and Solihull.

Prior to becoming an area director with School is Easy, Donna was a franchisee in an alternative business and built up her franchise to be the number one territory in the UK before selling it on. Ready for her next business challenge, Donna set about her search for a franchise that would enable her to build up substantial equity, and this is when she found School is Easy. Immediately impressed by the predicted growth of the private tutoring industry – slated to be worth a staggering £4.5bn in the UK alone by 2025 – and with a low entry point of just £18,500 (+VAT), Donna was keen to know more.

Donna says: “I have always been passionate about moving people from where they are now, to where they want to be and up until this point had used this passion to help adults. I saw that there was a huge opportunity in the growing market of private tuition, and I wanted to contribute to getting children in my community back on track with their learning and have found that with the excellent support of School is Easy, the transition from helping and coaching adults to helping children – and their parents! – has been easy and incredibly rewarding.

“I did not want to get back into the employed nine to five daily grind and wanted to protect the autonomy that I’ve grown used to through being my own boss. School is Easy is so flexible so I can fit it around my family commitments with ease and, with no need for costly premises, I can work from home.”

Professional backing

“School is Easy is owned by LaunchLife International, a giant in the sphere of ed-tech and us franchisees have access to cutting edge technology, this empowers me to run the back-office end of my business with ease, freeing up my time for community marketing and all-important sales activity,” says Donna.

“I recognised that there were quite a few tutoring providers out there so seeing that School is Easy was founded in 2002 gave me added confidence in the brand. What was also important was finding a network with attractive key differences from the crowd. School is Easy gives me access to tech which enables me to match tutors and students based on subject, personality type and common interests – so a rapport is easily established, and progress can be made from session one. Parents find this incredibly useful – many of them have wasted a lot of time and money with the wrong tutor that just didn’t gel with their child – so the feedback we get on this is fantastic, not to mention the extra business from word-of-mouth recommendations. Happy customers are the best kind of marketing!

“As well as the back-office software to help me with the day-to-day running of my business, we also have a clever value add in the form of a Homework App. This is not intended to replace one-to-one tutoring but to provide support in-between sessions. Students can log on via their mobile or tablet and, in under a minute, be connected to a specialist tutor and get help in over 70 different subjects. There’s a whiteboard feature so problems can be uploaded, and the tutor and student can work on the problem together. It’s much better than simply googling the answer and not understanding how they got there!

“We understand that each student is different, with different learning styles. It is for this reason I work closely with families and teachers to ensure that we get exactly the right tutor for every student.

“I bring my experience and enthusiasm to children and adults alike. I work in a consultative partnership with students, parents, tutors and schools.”

Advice for entrepreneurs

When asked if Donna has any tips for anyone starting a franchise business her response was: “Choosing the right franchise enables those wanting their own business to work for themselves without working alone. Much of the hard work has been done and methods for running the business are tried and tested and you should also research thoroughly to ensure that the business you’re investing in meets your lifestyle needs and financial goals, for instance, working hours versus family commitments and will it support you and your family during the term of the franchise.

“I’d most definitely recommend ensuring the business is a member of the British Franchise Association – this certainly gave me the peace of mind to know I had chosen an ethical franchise to partner with. A good franchisor will provide the support needed through the highs and lows of owning a business. What I also really liked about the School is Easy opportunity was the people. The head office team and the wider network are so friendly and supportive, Chris Wyle (franchisor for Great Britain) is an experienced franchisee himself having built up a portfolio of eight Pitman Training Centres – which is also part of the LaunchLife suite of educational brands – over the last eight years so I knew that I was partnering with somebody who understands the joys as well as the challenges of running and scaling a franchise business.

“There’s excellent onboard training and ongoing support in terms of mentoring and social media marketing and this is reflected by our recent shortlisting for New Franchisor of the Year Award with the VFA. In short, I am happy in my choice and am excited to see how we grow over the next 12 months.”

At a glance

Year established:

2002

Number of franchised outlets:

45

Location of units:

Worldwide

Investment range:

£18,500-£60,000 (+VAT)

Minimum required capital:

£30,000

Contact:

Alexis Orton alexis.orton@schooliseasy.com 07306583351

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