Name: Sarah Canavan
Franchise: Lingotot Bexley
Established: November 2017
What is your background?
I have a degree and masters in French and German Translation and Interpreting and after graduation I moved into Finance. I spent 9 years working for American Bank JPMorgan as a relationship manager, looking after 80 banks in Benelux.
How did you first hear about franchising and what due diligence did you do?
I knew about Lingotot as I went to secondary school with a former franchisee, and she introduced me to my nearest Lingotot centre in Kent. I started working for this franchise as a tutor and this developed into an operations manager role. Whilst doing this, I was able to learn about the brand, understand the methodology, I recognised a gap for language classes in Bexley and surveyed friends. I also spoke to EWIF South East Lead Anne-Marie Martin for her advice.
Support & Training
Lingotot HQ are incredibly supportive and always respond to my queries quickly. We are provided with a training framework, face to face training and onward training webinars.
Impact on Life:
Becoming a franchisee has allowed me to spend more time with my young family. Whilst working in banking I had a breakdown and couldn't cope with mum guilt. Now I have much more flexibility to choose my hours.
Challenges and highlights so far:
I have had numerous highlights such as award nominations. I have been a finalist at the Family Network Awards, AFA Awards and the What's On for Kids Awards this year alone. I also won Network Contribution and Overall Franchisee of the Year at the 2019 Lingotot Awards. But by far the biggest highlight has been winning Best New Business at the Bexley Business Excellence Awards 2019 as it was judged by a panel and wasn't open to public vote.
Being an employer is a challenge as there are so many different personalities to manage.
Advice to others looking for a franchise:
- Do your due diligence
- Research local competitors
- Look into pricing...what will local people actually pay?
- Have a buffer
- to expand into offering language classes during curriculum time in schools
- to further develop Lingotot Generations
- to increase my profit margin