Franchising is a viable business opportunity for many entrepreneurs. Franchises offer a shortened learning curve, proven systems and lead to rapid growth. Franchising is used across 70+ industries and accounts for 1 trillion in U.S. sales annually. Buying into a franchise can give you instant access to capital, tools, resources and expertise.
As a consumer you may be familiar with Subway, Great Clips, McDonalds, Dunkin Donuts and so forth. One industry that you may not associate with franchising? Education. More than 70% of parents rely on childcare facilities. Therefore, education franchising presents a unique opportunity to match your love for children with your passion for entrepreneurship.
Driven by their passion for kids, husband and wife team, Chris and Britney Gower left corporate America to launch a Primrose School in Lafayette, Colorado. Learn how this dynamic duo convinced their lender to let them run a multi-million dollar business of their own. And when faced obstacles, how they found a way to make it happen.
Company: Primrose Schools
Founder(s), Age(s): Chris Gower, 25 and Britney Gower, 25
Location: Lafayette, CO
Startup Year: 2011
Startup Costs: $4.2 Million
How I Got Started: Chris attended and graduated from one of the original Primrose schools franchises in Alpharetta, GA, when he was four years old. When Chris turned 16, his parents decided they wanted to provide the same high quality early childhood education that Chris received to other children in Colorado and went on to open the fifth Primrose School in the state. Seeing the impact that the school had on young children’s lives, Chris dedicated his time while in high school to helping his parents with the school, and would often return home throughout college to work with students.
It wasn’t until after he and Britney graduated from the University of Arizona in 2008 and started careers in the corporate world, that they seriously considered opening a Primrose of their own. Then Britney decided to leave her successful sales career with a Fortune 500 company to work for her mother-in-law at a Primrose School. After a year of hands-on experience, Britney decided to pursue it as her long time career. Chris, Britney and her parents headed to Primrose Schools’ Corporate headquarters to become the next franchise owners in Colorado.
Best Success Story: Our best success story is the partnership we were able to form with a local Chick-Fil-A restaurant in our community. Chick-Fil-A came into the school and I (Britney) was working to drop off free food for the teachers. In the mean time, I began talking with the marketing director and hit it off. We kept in contact and the marketing director reached out to me and asked if I would help her celebrate Cow Appreciation Day 2010. I was honored to help. I spent countless hours preparing for the events. We created fun filled events for the Primrose families and community to enjoy. I was able to have our students take lunch field trips to the events. Children and families had so much fun at these outings that they came back around dinnertime to help us out! It was a great way to promote our school and interact with local families.
Biggest Startup Challenge: The biggest startup challenge was securing the trust and support form our parents, Primrose Schools Franchising Company, and the banks to allow two young adults to run a multi-million dollar business of their own. We had to prove to everyone that we could take this opportunity on because we have the experience, drive and dedication to be entrusted with such a large responsibility. Once we were able to convey our passion for this opportunity, everyone involved was behind us 100 percent.
#1 Tips for Newbies: Follow your passion and dreams. Don’t get discouraged by those who say you can’t do something. People can turn you down a hundred times, but eventually someone will give you the chance to prove yourself. Most people need to see that you are willing to fight for what you want, because operating a business, especially at a young age, will test your will power. There are always obstacles in your way, don’t get frustrated; find another way to make it happen.
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