My HMO Journey: No rest for the wicked as we approach...
Name: Jennifer Chung
Location: South East London
Franchise: Mother Nature Science (South East London - t/a FunSci Ltd)
1: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to buying a franchise business?
I was working as a full time Management Accountant within the Legal sector but prior to buying the Mother Nature Science franchise I have been on maternity leave.
2: Can you also tell us about the franchise you have bought?
Mother Nature Science originally started in Taiwan in 1984, however the London office opened back in 2007 and is now into its 11th reputable year at providing high quality science related activities for children between the ages of 5-12.
These are can be delivered in a variety of forms such as After School Clubs, Holiday Camps, Science Day Workshops and Birthday Parties.
3: Why did you go down the franchise route? What made you choose your industry? And why did you choose your franchise?
I’ve always had a passion in working with children and this opportunity was introduced to me by my sister who’s two sons had attended one of the Holiday Camp sessions in North London.
As passions go, you always have dreams, ideas and endless conversations on what you would love to do daily instead of being stuck at your work desk from 9am-5pm half-heartedly enjoying it, so my real test was to take this opportunity and put things into action.
The Mother Nature Science Franchise option was a great opportunity for me to consider as it meant I was able to kick start my passion working with children, operate it as my own business (a challenge I’m extremely looking forward to take up), learn more about science myself and especially as a new Mother it gives me that flexibility to get a great balance between family and working life.
It is never easy to start your own business so based on my current circumstances the franchise route made more sense.
4: How did you raise the finance?
Mostly funded with savings but am also looking into a business loan as the business grows.
5: What training and support did you receive to help get your franchise launched?
From the outset I have had tremendous support and help from the entire Mother Nature Science Team.
Since my initial enquiry into the franchise opportunity, Luke (Franchise & Business Development Director) has been my business support, ensuring that I am provided with thorough training and support from the team as well as providing guidance on setting myself up as a business. He reminds me how we are now a ‘family’ and that any concerns or help I require will always be addressed. In all honesty his continuous support has helped with building my confidence in running this franchise successfully.
Roseline (previously Operations Manager) helps me with the operational training side, this has been the most in-depth area so far. Her training has assisted me greatly in understanding key operational areas that I will need to self-manage soon. I am extremely grateful for her knowledge, expertise and continuous hands on training in preparing me for this franchise.
Varun (Sales director) maintains an extremely well organised procedural role for the sales element. The training helps to ensure that I capture key data, to scheduling in important dates on things to follow up, as well as knowing how to build relationships with key clients.
Aisha is the brains behind the science! With her innovative ideas she definitely brings out the fun in science – it’s not only the children that learn! But on the business side she has provided me with a better insight on how to deliver each session efficiently.
6: How would you describe your role as a franchisee?
Ever since training I would say that my role (and aim) would be to amalgamate all the things I have learnt and look to expand and to continue Mother Nature Science’s reputation as a high-quality leader in Science Edutainment within the South East London area.
7: What have been the biggest challenges so far in getting your franchise launched? And how have you dealt with them?
I would say one of the biggest challenge so far would be the training part – having to ensure I understand every element and knowing how each area fits into one another. To tackle this I believe it is best to throw yourself straight into a real scenario basis (where possible), it makes the learning more meaningful when being put to the test. The reality of the business kicks in and with the team’s support I can only improve my experience.
Another challenge has been obtaining business within the South East area – I am lucky to say that with the assistance from head office there is currently sessions being delivered within the South East area but the challenge now is for me to obtain future opportunities on my own!
8: How did you hear about the Franchise?
This was through my sister who had enrolled her two son’s on one of the Summer Camps – by chance she came across one of their Franchise flyers and put forward the idea to me.
9: How long do you expect to be running the franchise?
As long as I can!
10: Did the training meet your expectations?
Being new to all this I can’t really say I knew what level of expectation to hold, what I can definitely say though is that this has been interesting and exciting learning experience.
11: What was the most valuable part of your training?
I would say the practical side - being able to apply the training with the role playing scenarios.
12: What are the most positive outcomes for you personally since becoming a Franchisee?
The opportunity to embark on my new venture whilst having the benefit of valuable support and at the same time as being able to develop upon my passion with working with children.
13: Any advice for someone considering franchising?