Jemma Bird, Principal of Brentford, Ealing and Wembley, started her franchise in 2018 and yet had her strongest year in business during the pandemic. She doubled in size! This is an amazing achievement and one that I wanted to learn more about. Jemma very kindly agreed to chat with me about her journey so far and answered my questions giving some real insight into being a part of Little Voices franchise opportunity.
What was your journey to franchising?
I had been working in secondary education for many years in various roles (Head of Year, Head of Performing Arts) . I always enjoyed coming up with business ideas and liked the idea of having a more flexible lifestyle and the thought of being an at home Mum.
How did you come to make a final decision?
I was talking to Jane for around about 2 years and finding out all about Little Voices. There were things happening to me during my employment that were out of my control, and I got to a point where I needed to do something. I also realised that if I didn’t do it, I would probably live regretting not trying! The support and package that I would receive was easier for me to set up my business, than doing it myself. On top of that, I believe having a business loan to pay off gave me the determination to make it work!
How did you know that you’d found the right franchise?
The values that Little Voices have are the same that I have. The feeling I got when talking to other Principals and Jane made me feel like it was the right place to be. Everyone was so friendly and supportive.
How did you secure finance for your franchise?
I used a Start Up Loan
What are your top tips for navigating the legal side of things?
Myself and Jane went through all the legal documents. I re-read them and got other people to check. I felt like I understood them and that it was straightforward. I would definitely suggest to ask questions when you don’t understand.
What advice would you offer to anyone thinking about taking on a franchise?
I would say if you are wanting to have your own business, but need to work at the same time, this will definitely give you the motivation to succeed. Everything is there for you to guide you to success. However, you have to be willing to put in the work too! It fits around my lifestyle perfectly and I can adapt it if it doesn’t. I would 100% recommend becoming a franchisee. It has helped me to have a flexible lifestyle that I have always wanted.
What do you put your success through the pandemic down to? You practically doubled in size!
I went straight back to my training and the Little Voices values. I think you need structure during chaos … and my training was exactly what I needed. I kept going with marketing, making sure our pupils were happy, and also communicated well with parents, sending out little gestures etc. I also held LOTS of free virtual musical workshops. I believe this really helped with children’s wellbeing during lockdown and also promoted us. It was beneficial for parents (so they could have an hour to themselves!), children (for wellbeing), for tutors (pay) and the business (marketing). It got to a point it became a routine, that children knew that every Friday 4pm was a virtual musical adventure!
How do you juggle a full time job and Little Voices?
I get up early and I am (usually) super organised. I have routines in place to keep everything running. It has helped that I have grown the business over the past few years, that I have tutors and an assistant that have been SO helpful. I am very blessed to be surrounded by people who know and breathe the brand as much as I do. I can then focus on growing the business as well as making sure our current parents are happy.
What are your goals for 2022?
My goals are to grow… more schools, more pupils. However, I don’t want to lose the extra special attention we give to every child. So I will be focusing on making sure we don’t lose our true values.
It was so lovely to hear from Jemma this week. If you are wanting to explore franchising and working with Little Voices click HERE for more information.