To relieve every student from the pressures from parents, peers, teachers and highly competitive Indian education system, BoardMarks Education came into existence. In an interview UN Mishra, Chief Academic Officer, BoardMarks Education, shares brand’s success and further expansion plans.
Neha Gohil (NG): Elaborate on the concept of ‘BoardMarks Education’. How did it come into being and tell us about the journey so far?
UN Mishra (UNM): I had always enjoyed shaping careers of young minds and over the last 14 years I have sent more than 1,000 students to different IITs and 5,000 students to different engineering colleges throughout the country and abroad. BoardMarks Education Pvt. Ltd was established in 2009 to provide an edge to the students (Class VI to XII) to grow and to clear their concepts and score good marks in exams. BoardMarks helps students to achieve the confidence that is required to overwhelm cut-throat competition, by providing teachers who are well-trained.
BoardMarks is also focusing on Teachers training and recruitment program to bridge the teachers’ shortage gap and train Teachers community by providing state-of-the-art facilities.
BoardMarks is one of the first organisations having VSAT, Physical Teachers, personal interaction and technology presence.
(NG): When and what inspired you to take up franchise route for expansion?
(UNM): We started in 2009 and took up franchise route for expansion in 2011. Franchise networks/partners help us to concentrate more on the academic front. The franchisee will take care of the work pertaining to the establishment of the centre at a particular place. Moreover, it is a win-win situation both for the company and the franchisee as the local partners will be well-equipped with the market information.
(NG): What is the USP of Board Marks Education?
(UNM): We believe in continuous improvement and adapt ourselves according to the needs and demands of the students and the system. The USP change from time to time and we do not believe in short-term goals. I will say our solid yet flexible value system is our strength.
(NG): Have you faced any competition from other brands in education and training sector? What strategies have you employed for handling the competition?
(UNM): So far, we have not faced any competition in the Indian market. However we definitely foresee competition in the coming years and are well prepared for competition in advanced markets like Singapore and Dubai. We see competitors catching up with us in South Africa also where we have plans to venture in the near future.
Our strategy is simple, ‘stick to the basics’ and put a well-grounded system in place. And adhere to it time and again irrespective of the challenges. At the same time we believe in re-inventing ourselves according to the growing needs of the students and the education system.
(NG): What qualities do you look for in the prospective franchisees and what criterion do you follow for their selection? What amount of investment is required by the franchisees?
(UNM): Anybody who respects our value system and can invest Rs 5 to 50 lakh depending on the location can be part of our value chain. We expect our partners to be inclined towards empowering the student community.
(NG): What are your expansion plans through franchising? Where do you see the company after five years?
(UNM): We plan to set-up 300 centres by the end of this financial year. At present, the concentration is more on the eastern side of India, Singapore, Dubai and South Africa. It is too early to comment on where we will be after five years.
(NG): How many franchisees do you have in India and in which cities?
(UNM): At present, we have two franchisees; one in Burdwan and the other at Bhubaneswar. Ten more centres are in the pipeline MoUs (memorandum of understanding) for which has already been formalised. The count is likely to increase to 25 by end of september.
(NG): What are the challenges that can be faced by a franchisee in running his business? How can they overcome these challenges?
(UNM): Half-knowledge on any particular subject/issue is disastrous. Our experience shows most of the franchisees are victims of lack of proper knowledge and understanding of this business. Added to this, lack of transparency and faith in the parent organisation add to the woes further. They can overcome the challenge by being transparent and patient in the initial stages with regards to generating revenue.
(NG): How does Board Marks Education support and train its franchisees?
(UNM): Board Marks helps franchisees to be transparent with a set system for the partnership procedure. Franchisees need to sync up with our value system that is based on time-tested success formula for students over a period of 14 years.
In addition, Board Marks help the franchisees grow in stature through well thought out marketing, PR and advertisement plans as also by providing trained faculty to ensure their success locally.