- 1.Share with us your entrepreneurial journey and enlighten us what motivated you to enter the education industry?
- 'Lifetime in a blink' is one way of describing my journey so far. It is now 22 years that my obsession with youth, education and entrepreneurship has lasted. Succinctly put, it has been a journey of immense learning for me. To my mind, life is a lot more than either success or money. Entrepreneurship is all about deploying your imagination, making it work, dealing with uncertainties, and building trust with all who work with you. Needless to say, it is more about failures and setbacks than success. That is also the precise reason why this journey is a great teacher in itself.Looking ahead, I continue to believe that education, along with our democracy, will be the single most important enabler for India. There is a lot of action left. I am hoping to last another blink - another 22 years! I hope to leave an institution that people respect.
- 2.Indian Education system is growing and developing continuously with Supplementary Education being its significant part. What are the factors that have boosted supplementary education in India?
- In Indian Education System, children do not get access to the education that should ideally inculcate aptitude based thinking skills and makes them ready to take on life challenges. Schools usually follow conventional style of teaching while all the entrance exams require speed and accuracy apart from testing high level of aptitude. The lack of quality teachers in our educational institutions – be it schools or colleges leaves no option for the aware student to hunt for quality teachers outside their institutions which leads to supplementary education framework continually getting strong.
- 3.What is unique about your services? What makes it stand apart from the competitors?
- The first and foremost would be our mentoring approach to the learning. Our mentors are available round the clock to guide these young minds and help them achieve their career dreams. We currently deploy around 500 mentors who come from leading institutions such as IIT’s and IIM’s. Other factors include our strong academic base and extensive use of cutting edge technology for imparting lessons, testing etc through our web platforms enabling us to reach farthest nook and corner of our country. Our stress on overall personality growth rather than focusing on just cracking the exam is something that helps the students throughout their life. Our core value system, keeping a track on the value system, innovative ideas, ownership, openness, risk taking ability makes it different from all others.
- 4.Do you think franchising has been instrumental in boosting the growth of supplementary institutes in India? Please elaborate. Also share your experience regarding the same.
- Yes, in my opinion, there are no two thoughts that franchising has been instrumental to boost the supplementary education. In countries like USA, franchise does a business of $3.96 trillion, about 3 % of the GDP. In India the market is too low as compared to USA but still the contribution is commendable. Few other factors which makes franchising instrumental are :
It gives access to best talent pool in the respective city. In fact, CL prefers to partner only with individuals who are from leading engineering colleges and management institutes and who have strong personal drive to be part of education and training business which in turn ensures that the best quality of education is delivered to the student.
Franchising helps to explore social connects and reputation of the franchisee in that city thereby creating sense of trust and confidence in the customer (student in our case). The local partner will have better access to schools and colleges than someone from Corporate office.
Franchising enables quick and fast expansion for the brand leading to better business volumes and revenues.
- 5.What are the criteria to choose the right franchise partner?
Most often than not, we appoint those individuals as franchisees who:
- • Have a strong personal drive to be part of education & training.
- • Are driven by strong value systems.
- • Are themselves well educated with at least a post graduate degree from a good college/university.
- • MBA’s from prestigious Indian & International B-schools will be preferred.
- • Will enter the classroom & undertake to personally teach at least 30 % of the course.
- • Have some prior training experience.
- • Will be engaged full time at the centre & will be hands-on owner-managers.
- • Will have trained, well educated Faculty Members who will be required to be certified by CL
- 6.In this era of digitalization, various e-commerce and m-commerce startups are making their way into the education industry. Do you take it as healthy competition or an upcoming threat to your business? Please Elaborate
- Technology is the key to scalability. Scalability helps education to reach far nook and corner of our country thereby benefitting lakhs of students. Hence, there is no better way than e-commerce and m-commerce in today’s world. Moreover, tech supports all aspects of business, including operations, reaching out to new prospects, servicing existing students and acts as a backbone to prompt and effective customer service thereby building efficiency all across. Moving forward, it will become even more central to us.
- 7.What kind of infrastructural facilities are required for these institutes?
Approximately 1300 to 2000 sq ft of carpet area is required depending on the product license that a franchisee partner is applying for. The following showcases the commodities needed as basic infrastructure requirements:
2.A reception area
3.A library cum reading room.
4.An administration cum staff room
5.Two classroom s with seating capacity of 40-50 students
6.Lavatories for students and staff
7.Two Computers (with high speed internet access) and laser printer for office administration and counselling purpose.
8.Computer lab with at least 5 computers with high speed internet access for conducting online tests.
- 8.Also share with us about learning experiences that you have had while dealing you’re your franchisees. Have there been any teething issues? How have you resolved it?
- Actually, it all depends on the selection procedure you follow and ensuring that you choose the right partner in the process. The teething issues are inevitable and we have also learnt over the past few years from such issues. However, the best part is that the teething issues had been minimal since probably CL has the largest company owned centres all across the country in test-prep industry. Therefore, CL anticipates any centre related issues or problems expected to be faced by the franchisee centre – business/operations/academics/product related etc much in advance than the franchisee and is ready with most appropriate solutions to same. Also, once we have gone through the six step selection process there is zero room left for any teething issue.
- 9.What kind of training and support do you provide to your franchisees?
We conduct regular training programmes at zero cost to the franchisee. There are structured formal and non-structured informal training programmes. The training programmes pertains to various areas of centre operations such as FACULTY TRAINING , SALES AND MARKETING, CENTRE OPERATIONS, TECHNOLOGY etc. Apart from face to face residential programmes, we conduct frequent training programmes over web through online sessions using technology to the fullest and also through on ground real demo sessions. We focus very aggressively on direct marketing and on ground marketing strategies. Regular visits to the schools and colleges and numerous workshops, seminars and presentations on topics of students interest to enable them to make right decisions about their careers is core strategy. We honestly try to deliver value to the student or parent in each and every of our interaction which makes us different from any other player in this space. Each franchisee centre gets visited regularly by the support manager and the senior most CLite – irrespective of how far or how close the centre is. Visits by CLite are eagerly looked forward to by the franchisee partner due to the value addition that CL representatives do. Various conferences and meets enable franchisees to air their grievances and feedbacks which give us the opportunity to improve. Various incentive schemes are floated and award competitions are there to motivate our franchisees and have a healthy competitive spirit. Each franchisee is heard irrespective of what business he generates and quality time is spent by the topmost leadership to add value to his business.
- 10.How many study centers you are planning to open by the end of 2016? How many of these will be franchise & company-owned?
- At least 30 more, since we have enough of company owned and have covered the major location we are planning to have only franchisees.
- 11.What is the preferred franchise model for your brand’s expansion and why?
- §Unit Franchise-single unit since the control is easy. This business requires lot of attention from the owner. It takes time and effort to take up education business. You cannot be present in multiple locations with only the staff in charge. The franchisee partner will also be more comfortable to be directly associated with company rather than Master Franchisee in between.