Colin Bradford is CEO and founder of Magical Maths franchise. He also founded Guaranteed Grades private tuition which his company still runs in their head office county of Leicestershire.
At the age of 25, Colin has achieved massive success in business. Having only graduated from University in 2010, he has started two successful companies from scratch, the second of which, Magical Maths, is currently one of the UK’s fastest growing franchises.
He was named “Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2014” at the prestigious ‘National Entrepreneur Awards’ hosted by impressionist Alistair McGowan and featuring co-founder of Apple, Steve Wozniak. He was also a finalist in the same category in 2013.
He was also named as a finalist for ‘New Marketer of the Year’ by the Charted Institute of Marketing in February, amongst a host of other national accolades he has received the last 12 months.
1. Tell us about the Magical Maths concept.
Magical Maths is a series of afterschool clubs, holiday camps and workshops all dedicated to making maths genuinely fun for primary schools students. We use dressed up characters, magic and generally all-round good fun to bring maths to life and help youngster engage with what is arguably the most important academic subject.
2. How and when did you become involved with Magical Maths?
I founded Magical Maths back in 2011. The story behind it will surprise lots of people, as it was almost started by accident. We also have a private tuition company, Guaranteed Grades, which I set up immediately out of University. I noticed we were getting a lot of request for primary level mathematics each week from parents who ALL said the same thing - “My child finds maths boring and doesn’t want to do it.”
I was looking for ways to grow our tuition business, and I thought if I could create an afterschool club that made maths fun and price it very, very cheaply so that we only covered our expenses, then we’d solve this problem for parents and we’d have a way to introduce large numbers of people to our tuition business. So I went and created Magical Maths.
The first ever session was run in my old primary school, Hallbrook Primary in South Leicester, and it was a massive success. Parents, students and teacher at Hallbrook all pestered us to go back and run another club at their school, so we did, and, this time it was even more successful. Pretty soon we were operating all around Leicestershire with our clubs bringing in 70-80 children at a time. We pushed our prices up mainly to keep our attendance numbers at a manageable level, and pretty soon Magical Maths was a hugely profitable business.
We spent years preparing it as a franchise now, and since launching the growth has been phenomenal. We already have 46 territories up and running in the UK and expect this to grow steadily over coming months.
3. What was your background prior to joining Magical Maths?
I did a degree in maths at the University of Sheffield, graduating with first class honours and one of the top scores on my course. I came out of University and within a few months had started my own tuition company, which is still running. Around 10 months later I started Magical Maths.
4. What are some of the advantages in being a Magical Maths franchisee?
You can operate the business from home. You can work largely flexible hours to suit you, and once set up it’s possible to have your staff running sessions without you have to be ‘tied to the business’. You can travel, take time off and do other things while your business works hard for you. On top of that, what lots of our franchisees consider to be the best thing, is that it is a lot of fun to run.
5. Who is your ideal franchisee.
Of course, someone who is passionate about helping children to succeed and who cares about making a difference. Someone who is hard-working, dedicated and can spot a genuinely exceptional opportunity in a niched market. Someone who makes no excuses and gets the job done.
6. Tell us a little about the education and afterschool club market?
Private education is a huge industry where many billions are spent each year. There’s lots of genuinely great companies out there doing great work in this industry, but the one thing that has been hugely lacking for several decades, particularly in the subject of mathematics, are companies that genuinely make learning fun. There’s plenty of amazing companies out there offering high quality tuition or fun afterschool clubs, but no-one’s teaching maths to young children in a way that truly engages them - and that’s why I think Magical Maths has been so successful in recent years.
7. What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?
Number one, that children engage with maths waaaay better when the learning is fun. Number two is that maths genuinely CAN be fun, provided it’s taught in a way that the CHILDREN (not just teachers or parents) think is interesting and exciting.
8. Do you have a mentor and is there someone you use for inspiration?
I have loads in the sense that I’m always reading and studying what successful people do. In business, I love Richard Branson and Steve Jobs. I also love the actor, Will Smith. I have a personal mentor, Nigel Botterill, who has helped me massively to develop my business skills in recent years. But, basically, I do everything I can to spend as much time as possible with smart business people.
9. What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?
Look for franchisor’s that have massive passion and enthusiasm for what they do. That will drive the whole company forward and will ensure the best results for everyone. Equally, find a franchise that you LOVE - don’t settle for a franchise unless you’re REALLY excited about doing it.
10. In your opinion, why do you think that Magical Maths would be a great opportunity for someone?
It has very large earning potential, it can be operated from home, you can largely choose your own hours and it’s a heck of a lot of fun. The truth is, it’s an unbelievably exciting opportunity right now because no-one else is doing what we do and the market place has been crying out for something that engages young children with mathematics for far too long. It’s not often that an opportunity comes along like this.
Feel free to be as detailed as you like in answering the questions as length is not an issue.