Beatrice Chan CA 004TWe’re absolutely in awe of franchisee Beatrice Chan, whose Redwood City, CA Center pulled in around $38,000 in revenue in its first month and a half of business! We connected with this determined, driven, and compassionate business owner to congratulate her on her success, pick her brain, and get the inside scoop on her best practices for strong business growth so early in her Mathnasium journey.

Before All Else, Know Your Market

As a Redwood City resident, Beatrice started out with a comprehensive understanding of local sensibilities. “This relates to pricing effectively (How much will the market tolerate?) and to knowing customer expectations (What will parents and students get out of this program? What is their ROI?),” she explained. “We have a mixed demographic, so I had to know how to reach a good majority of them.”

Location, Location, Location

IMG_2169“I truly believe that our location is one of the key factors that led to our success,” Beatrice said. Notably, she approached the site selection process from a parent’s perspective. “I wanted a very convenient place where parents could drop off their children while they did their grocery shopping and pick them up on the way home,” she told us.

Placing a premium on location, she chose a space off a main thoroughfare (high foot and drive-by traffic) within a major shopping center. “I’m next door to a Safeway. Whole Foods is across the street, Starbucks is two doors down, and there are other franchise businesses around the Center,” she said. “I knew my rent was going to be high, but I allocate marketing funds toward rent because of the daily exposure I get from my location.”

 An Early Start: Marketing and School/Community Outreach

IMG_2054“I learned a very valuable lesson when I was working in the corporate world: Marketing will make or break a company,” Beatrice told us. With Mathnasium of Redwood City slated to open in mid-June 2016, Beatrice was executing her summer-focused marketing strategy as early as February 2016. Investing heavily in marketing, “I wanted the community to know that [if they needed math help] there was a local resource available to help alleviate problems. From school advertisements to sponsorships, I did everything I could to get exposure.”

Beatrice began building momentum for her business throughout Redwood City by sending out a targeted direct mail campaign throughout her densely populated territory. Additionally, “I worked on my PPC program to get the best bang for our buck and went in pretty aggressively in the beginning. This was done strategically to get our name out in the community.”

School marketing was a cornerstone of Beatrice’s pre-opening marketing plan, and she prioritized connecting with parent leaders and key contacts at schools well in advance of her Center’s opening. “I called every single PTA/PTO in our district and introduced myself,” she recalled. “That was a huge challenge—I didn’t get far at first. Some answered and some didn’t.” Undeterred, “I then contacted school principals and secretaries (anyone who would listen to me) and offered a donation of some kind for their school events: a scholarship for a free month, a cash donation, an ad in the school’s Playbill, etc.”

Beatrice also used the e-flyer distribution service PeachJar to get the Mathnasium message out through schools. For a fee, she submitted flyers to the system, targeting 10 out of the 30 schools in her territory. Once a school approved one of her flyers, they were emailed directly to parents with children enrolled at that particular school.

Ultimately, it was Beatrice’s persistence that made her school outreach so effective. “One person’s ‘no’ isn’t necessarily the end! You just haven’t found the right person who will say yes, yet. In the beginning, people were leery of speaking to me, but once I started offering donations for their events, all sorts of avenues opened!”

Additionally, “I also partook in our county’s first-ever STEM Festival that exposed Mathnasium to over 3,000 people in the Bay Area! Participants came from all over and I had the pleasure of speaking and presenting on stage about Mathnasium. I also connected with many families in-person at our booth.”

By April, “parents already knew of us,” Beatrice reported. “The leads just started coming in—my marketing efforts definitely paid off. Before I even opened my doors, I had well over 100 leads and I just thought, ‘Why waste these? I might as well get the ball rolling and assess them.’” It was time to start connecting with leads and speaking with them about the Mathnasium program.

Lead Conversion

As she spoke with parents, Beatrice listened attentively and addressed their concerns and needs. With her Center set to open in June and many potential customers seeking remediation, “I explained that summertime was the best time for me to work with their kids to help them catch up to grade level … without competing with homework. I spoke to them—parent to parent—and explained how our program worked and what my line of business was,” she explained. “At the end of the day, I’m not in the business of solely teaching math, but also instilling confidence into these children,” she explained. “I think that’s what parents want.”

“I offered Free Assessments and met families at the local library,” Beatrice continued. “I assessed the kids there and went over the results with the parents. It was quite challenging because I had to get to the library right when they opened to get a conference room. I did this for over a month! I would assess about three people a day and had a rolling list of Assessments every week.”

Empathetic by nature, Beatrice believes that her ability to connect genuinely with her customers added much depth to her sales process and inspired trust. “As a parent, I can understand the frustrations and tears that they experience when it comes to their children. I can empathize with them when their child scores poorly on the Assessment, and I can rejoice with them when their child is in an enrichment program,” she told us.

Tap into the Mathnasium Hive Mind

While Beatrice did everything possible to know her local market inside out and connect potential customers and key community members with the Mathnasium mission, she realized that in many areas of business operations, it was unnecessary to reinvent the wheel. Eager to learn from others’ experiences, she reached out to other franchisees. “This community is what makes Mathnasium an awesome business. I had some of the best mentors out there! Help came in the form of a business plan, paint advice, reward cabinet item suggestions, books to read, customer care tips, and most recently, a phone call from two time zones away to help me with reporting,” she said.

On the HQ front, “I had two wonderful, patient Start-Up Specialists who instilled knowledge and wisdom at our weekly meetings. I could not have done this without them. I also had one of the best onsite Readiness Training anyone could ask for. I walked out knowing I could run my business proficiently.”

In addition to Beatrice’s strong pre-opening marketing push, the operational expertise she gained from the Mathnasium franchise network and HQ’s dedicated field support team helped set her on the path to success right out of the gate.

Excellent Customer Service and Demonstrated Results

Beatrice opened Mathnasium of Redwood City armed with sufficient operational knowledge and community interest essential for her to execute the Mathnasium program effectively and generate revenue. “We had officially enrolled four students before we opened our doors. By the end of June, we had over 50 students.” Enthusiasm for Mathnasium was such that “Many parents brought their kids in every single day over the summer to help bridge these gaps!” she recalled. “I’m happy to report that some of these kids have already gotten to grade level while others are very close.

“By the end of July, we had 85 enrolled students,” Beatrice continued. “Word of mouth spread like wildfire.”

Words of Wisdom

What does it take to drive strong business growth right off the bat? Drawing from her experiences, Beatrice has a few ideas.

First off, “Hit your market early on and don’t skimp on marketing! Know your community—do they respond better to mailers? Emails? Ads?”

Secondly, “Know your price point. Be able to justify your pricing and don’t sell yourself short,” Beatrice continued. She also emphasized the importance of “location, location, location. Think of yourself as the McDonalds of the math world in terms of whether your location is convenient and centrally located for families in your area.”

In terms of networking and sales, “Speak to customers and others as friends. Don’t try to ‘sell’ the program overtly. This program sells itself—you just have to believe in it.”

Finally, “Listen and follow directions,” she concluded. “This program works just like HQ says it does—follow the ‘business in a box’ model, make minor adjustments to suit your needs and your customers’ needs … and just go!”

Beatrice hopes to have 150 families enrolled by the end of October and 200 by early 2017. “Throughout the next year, I’d like to establish a solid reputation for my Center as the place to go for math help in the community!” She continues to be inspired by the Mathnasium mission. “For me personally, this was a calling I was meant to fulfill. I’m a doer, so when I’m told, ‘Go!’, I go.”