Qa With Shaun Tuch Of Professor Egghead Science Academy
How was Professor Egghead Science Academy originally conceived and started?
After Professor Egghead Science Academy became our most popular after school class, we knew we had something going. Voted best after school Program in LA, we were on our way. Professor Egghead started out as one class and grew in to an entire program. Parents wanted more. We said, "We need to offer more services". We started offering workshops during schools, birthday parties on weekends, and then Summer Camps.
After we reached over 40 schools, we knew we had to expand, with franchising being our solution. Once we officially decided to start the franchising process, we hired professionals in the franchise industry to help us perfect our company, materials, our systems, etc. We said to ourselves, if we're going to do this, were going to do this right. We don't sell products that we ourselves wouldn't buy. No fluff!
What was your original vision for Professor Egghead Science Academy? How has that changed over time?
Our original vision was a general after-school enrichment company.
In 2007, we started our first company called, Activities Children Enjoy (ACE). We decided to only create children's programs that were fun, creative, unique, and of course; educational. As ACE grew, we started adding new programming options for kids to choose from. "Science" was thrown in the mix along with other class ideas. We said, "Hey, what if we create a science class and make slime, quicksand, and volcanoes. Let's make a mess but keep it educational".
The plan - Create a science class with hands on experiments infused with actual science. We gave the class a generic science name; it was called science 101. The class slowly snowballed into something bigger. We added curriculum, more themes, etc. After we gave it a program name, Professor Egghead Science Academy, it took off. It became our most popular program. From there we knew we had to separate the program and expand.
What do you believe is the single most important factor when choosing a franchise?
Relationship - If there's no connection or genuine relationship, it's not going to make sense for either party.
Why should someone choose your franchise over other similar franchises?
Our branding and name: Professor Egghead Science Academy. The name alone makes people smile. We have developed a one of a kind franchise. Our curriculum, our teaching method, and our training method are unique to Professor Egghead. We make Science cool, and the way we approach teaching is what helps to make us unique. When investing in PESA, you're not just investing in a business; you're investing in a culture. As far as we know, we're the only science academy designed specifically for kids.
What makes your industry attractive?
Children will always need proper educational programming and enrichment classes in addition to regular school programs. Parents want what's best for their kids. Schools also need proper after school and in-school programs to fill curriculum gaps, science and extracurricular programs being cut, and quality after school options demanded by parents.
We focus on Science, Technology, and Engineering. In recent years there has been a lack of interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programs throughout the US and not a strong enough push for STEM-based careers. By simply changing the perception of science, we can solve this problem In other words, we make science cool!
What types of qualities do you look for in potential franchisees?
- Friendly and personable
- Strong and honest work ethic
- Motivated and passionate
- Enjoys working with kids
- Any business background, marketing, sales, management, etc. are strongly preferred, but not mandatory.
- NO science experience is necessary!
What do your franchise fees and royalties cover?
The Franchise Fee and royalties are used to maintain all systems & supports:
- Ongoing marketing and advertising which includes national brand development fund & local advertising supports and programs.
- Technology I.e. emails, website, systems, hosting, Academy system software, updates, and ongoing maintenance, etc.
- Ongoing support and use of the branding
How do territories work for your franchisees?
All franchisees will receive an exclusive territory of at least 65 elementary schools. (Private and/or Public) If more schools fall into their territory, including any parks and recreation centers, it's theirs.
Where do you see your franchise in 5 years and 10 years?
In 5 years, we see Professor Egghead Science Academy spread throughout the US. In 10 years, we hope to make PESA an international brand.
What is your favorite advice for new franchisees to help them succeed?
Work hard. Even with the right systems and all the support, a business owner still needs to work hard. We think momentum is important. When starting out, we really think franchisees should push it. That's why we like to schedule our training soon after we sign a Franchise Agreement. We want that initial momentum to continue.
What would you tell potential franchisees that may be nervous about the financial burdens of starting a franchise?
For starters, a person has to be comfortable investing in a business. It's a big deal, we get it. We would ask a potential franchisee to compare the expense and financial burdens of buying into a franchise vs. starting their own business. The success rate of franchise is a lot higher then starting your own business. We would tell them to do their research and make an educated decision.
What was your background and experience before founding this franchise?
Co-founders of Activities Children Enjoy LLC. LA's premier after school Enrichment Company, offering over 35 different types of programming.