Breaking into the franchising industry is no small feat. Between finding the right real estate and securing a lease to marketing and connecting with potential consumers in a local community, building a business from the ground up—even with the support and backing of a proven franchise system—takes a lot of work. That’s why leading franchise brands like Sylvan Learning go above and beyond to set their local owners up for success.
With more than 750 locations currently thriving across the globe, it’s clear that the brand’s business model is working in a variety of different markets and environments. But at the core of Sylvan’s franchise development efforts are its franchisees—the brand’s network of passionate local owners is ultimately what’s driving the brand forward. And in Sylvan’s system, there’s no shortage of multi-unit owners growing alongside the brand.
After leaving his corporate job behind to purchase one Sylvan territory at the end of 2015, Sulaman Opel realized that the brand provided him with a unique opportunity to expand as an entrepreneur in his Toronto community. So he decided to purchase one of the brand’s satellite territories that’s designed to make Sylvan’s top tier supplemental educational services—including its premium STEM courses—easily accessible to more consumers. Soon after, he discovered that there were seven Sylvan franchises up for sale nearby, and he jumped at the chance to take them over. Right now, Opel is currently running nine centers with plans to open another by the end of the year.
“Sylvan’s franchise model gives it a huge competitive advantage in the education industry. The brand’s commitment to innovation and ongoing improvement is one of a kind. That’s why I signed on to own a Sylvan franchise, and it’s why I’m still growing with them today as a multi-unit owner,” said Opel.
Opel is far from the only multi-unit franchisee growing with the Sylvan brand. Kent Kolbow, who’s based in Indiana, is another owner who is experiencing success after taking on multiple centers. Kolbow first discovered the brand as a teacher—he loved Sylvan’s concept so much that he went from teaching math at his local Fort Wayne center for a couple hours every week to teaching every possible moment that he could. So after working for the brand for seven years, Kolbow decided to take the leap to become a franchisee himself. Since buying his first centers back in 1998, he’s grown steadily with the brand.
“Everyone on Sylvan’s team has been absolutely amazing as I’ve purchased more centers. They’ve really figured out the best way to streamline multi-unit expansion, and they’re constantly making improvements to their system,” said Kolbow. “Even John McAuliffe, Sylvan’s CEO, is personally involved with making sure I succeed as an owner. He flew down to come meet with me in person to discuss what we could do together to open up more successful centers. That’s incredibly impressive for such a large brand—it’s amazing that the head of the company takes the time to make that personal connection with local owners like myself.”
That commitment to setting all of its local owners up for success is evident across Sylvan’s entire franchise system. And as the brand plans to continue working with multi-unit owners to grow in key target markets including California, New York, Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia throughout the rest of 2017, Sylvan is positioning itself for a record breaking year. Between its strong support system and simple business model, Sylvan makes it easy for franchisees to succeed at a faster pace than most. Rapid multi-unit development is also incredibly affordable for Sylvan franchisees—initial investments range from $70,980 to $159,890, including a low franchise fee of $24,000.
“Having been around for more than 35 years, Sylvan knows what it’s doing when it comes to expansion. The brand is always changing, which is a good thing—if you’re not innovating and raising the bar, you’re not going to succeed,” said Amy Gardner, a multi-unit franchisee with Sylvan in South Carolina. “I had never owned my own business until I made the decision to buy three Sylvan Learning centers before adding another two territories to my roster. And even though it’s taken a lot of hard work, the brand has been there with me every step of the way. Not only is the system easy to adopt, it’s been proven to work time and time again.”
To learn more about franchising opportunities with Sylvan Learning, click here.