last updated 09/12/2021
last updated 09/12/2021
Young NumberWorks’nWords franchisee loves making a difference in a business of her own
Taking a part-time job while completing her Bachelor of Education degree unexpectedly became Natalie Smith’s first step into owning her own business. Today, at just 28, her NumberWorks’nWords franchise is growing fast.
Founded in New Zealand in 1984, NumberWorks’nWords tutoring centres deliver after-school maths and English extension and remediation lessons. With its strong track record of delivering excellent outcomes for both students and franchisees, the company has expanded to Australia and the UK.
Natalie first took a tutoring job at NumberWorks’nWords because it suited her schedule and she thought it would look good on her CV. ‘I loved the company’s passion for education and the ability to focus on individual learning, but when I graduated and started my first job in a classroom, I didn’t experience that same feeling.’ She decided to leave the school environment and use her degree differently.
‘I became an assistant to a NumberWorks franchisee, then managed a centre myself. When the New Plymouth franchise came up for sale, my former boss and I took it on together. To run a business that aligns with my values and what I love about teaching was too good an opportunity to miss.’
Taking the leap
Natalie admits the idea was a bit overwhelming. ‘I was using my savings and was wary of what might happen if it didn’t go right, but my stepdad told me, “You can talk about it all you want but unless you take the leap, you’ll never know.” I knew this was a business I loved with the backing of a respected, well-structured franchise, so I took the plunge.
‘I loved the ethos of the franchise – between the tutors, students and the network, it never felt like work,’ says Natalie. ‘And learning the business side was made simple. The franchise team has a wide range of specialist people and they set out clear steps with all the information I needed. Other franchisees are also always willing to share their own experiences and answer specific questions about things we or our students may be struggling with.’
Natalie obviously put what she learned into practice – since taking over at the start of 2021, New Plymouth has grown from 67 to 168 students. ‘We’ve had to install lots of new computers and figure out how to fit more kids into the space,’ she laughs. ‘I’ve just hired an assistant of my own, which I wasn’t expecting for at least a couple of years.’
A growth industry
Tuition is a growth industry and, with so many Kiwi kids learning remotely during Covid, it’s been important for their students to continue getting individualised support. Natalie explains, ‘Thanks to the franchise, we’ve had the systems to provide online tuition so our kids don’t fall behind – and franchisees throughout the country have been able to share and learn from those in Auckland, who have more experience with restrictions.
‘In an uncertain time, it’s nice for the students to have something constant, and logging on to their sessions gives a sense of normality – as well as keeping their learning on track. We really do see what we do as making a positive difference to their futures.’
That’s an important motivation for all NumberWorks’nWords franchisees, says CEO Sarah Simons. ‘New franchisees need to have a passion for education, but they don’t necessarily have a teaching background – we have successful franchisees from all walks and stages of life. What we look for is strength in relationship building, being keen and open to learning, having business acumen and – above all – being passionate about the service we offer.’
New opportunities nationwide
NumberWorks’nWords is looking to open new centres in Auckland and throughout New Zealand. The investment of around $80,000 +gst includes teaching and business software, furniture, fitting out premises and computers, as well as an exclusive territory.
‘Our extensive training programme for new franchisees includes full training in everything from business management and teaching programmes aligned to the New Zealand curriculum, to tutor recruitment assistance and opening marketing,’ Sarah says. ‘There are individualised sessions, an annual training programme, workshops, e-learning modules, and a library of resources.
‘If you have a passion for helping Kiwi kids achieve their potential, give us a call.’
See this advertorial on page 39 of Franchise New Zealand magazine Year 30 Issue 4
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