A Conversation with Luke from Mighty Kicks Soccer: A Franchise Investment Worth Checking Out

This past week I spoke with Luke Vercollone, the president and founder of Mighty Kicks Soccer, a mobile soccer program designed to build motor skills, life skills, self-confidence and basic soccer techniques to children ages 2-7. The program brings soccer to where the children are, whether it is a childcare facility during the day, an after-school program at an elementary school, or other various locations in the community for home-schooled children and the general public. Mighty Kicks Soccer is unique in introducing sports and concepts of teamwork to children at a very young, impressionable age – and the coolest part? It’s a franchise.

Following Luke’s graduation from Seton Hall University (where he majored in Sports Management), he was drafted into the MLS and has been playing professional soccer since 2004. He is an NSCAA certified coach, with his USSF National B License and over 17 years of coaching experience. It was his coaching experience at other programs that inspired Luke to develop his own program.

I asked him how long after he began Mighty Kicks did he realize it had the capability to be franchised. Luke said “It wasn’t until I started the program in 2008 that I realized the program had potential to become a franchise. It was early in the first season; I immediately saw the popularity of Mighty Kicks and I realized there was a demand for this type of program and it was profitable.”

He went on to explain the unique aspect of this franchise, “Soccer is extremely popular, many other soccer programs play evenings and weekends, and we don’t compete with those programs. Mighty Kicks brings the program to the children. It’s, convenient, it’s economical, and it’s unique.” Mighty Kicks primarily focuses on preschool-aged children, at their preschools, where children can partake in the enrichment program on site during school hours.

Mighty Kicks Soccer is highly successful in developing many skills, including balance, agility, coordination, teamwork and good sportsmanship. Luke says “Our goal is to give young children an overall positive experience with sports, and specifically soccer. If they’re having fun, they’re learning. If they are enjoying soccer, they are more likely to play it in the future.” Even beyond the basic skills Mighty Kicks Soccer helps children develop, he says “We are indirectly teaching them life skills. We provide them with a positive experience, and keep them active.”

After speaking to Luke, I was very interested in checking out the benefits of franchising with Mighty Kicks Soccer. There are many: including a high profit margin with little overhead to maintain, flexible and family friends work hours, tax benefits, saved time (not wasted on the learning curve), as well as the enjoyable and rewarding work that makes a difference to children in the community. There are many other benefits one can receive when franchising with Mighty Kicks Soccer and you can check the rest of them out here.

And Luke’s message to those interested in franchising? “I think we have the greatest value.  As a new franchise, we are eager to bring on quality franchisees. If a candidate is interested in sports, in kids, and in business, this is a great investment.” Luke says this is an “Unbeatable value with a great investment opportunity.” I most certainly agree.

Snips Its Franchise: From Terrifying to Terrific

The snip-snip of scissors and buzz of hair trimmers are not music to the ears of children– unless they’re headed to Snip Its. Started in 1995 by a mother who couldn’t find a hair salon that catered to children, Snip Its has transformed haircuts into a fun experience for kids of all ages.

children's franchise

Most salons and barber shops are uninterested in dealing with wiggling, squirming kids and, even when they are willing, most lack originality in keeping children entertained. At Snip-Its, you won’t find just a box of crayons or a single tattered book to distract kids from the unpleasantness of a haircut; you’ll find an interactive, entertaining environment designed to capture a child’s attention and associate haircuts with fun. A cast of haircut-related characters, like Jean Luc Le Spritz, keeps the atmosphere light and children smiling.


Snip Its dedication to children extends outside of its colorful interior. Last year, the children’s haircut franchise teamed up with Autism Speaks to create a DVD for stylists and parents, preparing each to work with children with autism. Each April, Snip Its also participates in National Autism Awareness Month. The franchise also has raised funds through Cookies For Cancer, a not-for-profit that funds major pediatric cancer research.  Pediatric cancer is the top cause of death in children in the U.S.

children's franchise

Each franchisee is thoroughly trained and prepared for owning a business that not only caters to kids, but to parents as well. That, of course, begins with franchisees who are passionate, ambitious, positive and care about children. Snip Its is currently looking for franchisees with prior business experience and are able to inspire and to develop an enthusiastic team.


For more information on Snip Its or other children’s franchises, visit Franchise Clique.com.


Beyond the Easy Bake Oven

How One Franchise Is Teaching Kids to Cook Better Than Their Parents

The idea of a child using a knife is enough to make any parent nervous. For Barbara Beery, it’s not so bad. For the past 25 years, Barbara has been surrounded by children with knives as a cooking instructor.


Born and raised in Austin, TX, Barbara has spent most of her life cooking. As a child, she was always in the kitchen with her mother. As a mother, Beery was always in the kitchen with her three young children. After the arrival of her third child, Beery needed a little extra cash.


Not wanting to put her kids in daycare, Barbara put her degree in education to work as a part-time preschool teacher. In her spare time, she taught cooking classes for children out of her home in Austin, Texas. She realized that, as a teacher, she had access to a large potential customer base: children and their busy parents.

All it took was a flier to fill a few of Beery’s cooking classes  After a few years of teaching both preschool and cooking classes, Barbara saw children’s cooking classes were something she could pursue full-time. That was 25 years ago.


From Kitchen to Franchise


From the very beginning, Barbara never simplified the recipes she taught to her students. “Kids can do so much more than just frost a cupcake,” explains Beery.


Most of the recipes Beery teaches are inspired by adult cookbooks (as opposed to those penned for children). Instead, she substitutes ingredients and changes a few names to make them appropriate for younger and smaller chefs. “Children are so beyond throwing a peanut-butter-and-jelly something together,” Beery says.


Today, Barbara Beery is the President and Owner of Foodie Kids, a franchise opportunity that teaches children’s cooking classes and sells child-appropriate cooking materials. She still teaches classes at the franchise’s Austin, Texas location; it’s what she “really loves.” In addition, Barbara writes the franchise’s curriculum, divines new recipes, and creates new classes.


When it comes to new classes, Barbara feels it’s important to stay up-to-date with the media, food trends and various new movies. For example, one summer she built a series of classes around the movie “Ratatouille” following its release. Of course, she’s constantly in contact with her little chefs and their parents. “There’s nothing more invaluable than listening to our customers.”


How Foodie Kids Works


As a franchise, Foodie Kids generates revenue in two ways: through cooking classes and its retail store. Each location separates the retail portion from the kitchen area for obvious health and safety reasons, but onlookers are able to watch cooking classes through large glass windows.


The retail area of the franchise is, according to Beery, “a cross between a kitchen supply store like Williams-Sonoma and a fabulous toy store like FAO Schwartz.Everything you can imagine having to do with kids and with cooking we sell,” Beery says.

Anytime the retail portion of Foodie Kids is open, kids can come in to make a snack for free. Not only does this entice children into the retail area (which is great for franchisees), it allows parents the opportunity to sit down, relax, and enjoy a cup of coffee while their little ones are happily playing. An added bonus? “It’s not their kitchen,” says Beery. There’s nothing to clean up.

In the Foodie Kids kitchen, children are taught according to their age and/or experience level. Those who are new to cooking or are very young will use child-appropriate safety knives, which are sold in-store. Foodie Kids also teaches a knife skills workshop. According to Beery, most children between 7 and 8 cannot use sharp knives that aren’t designed for children. “A 7 or 8 year old who has grown up in a cooking family can use a sharp knife,” says Beery.


“As many recipes as you can think of– that’s what we do,” says Beery of the cooking classes. “Children have made turkey sliders, homemade buns, vanilla ice cream, crêpes, chocolate croissants and coq au vin,” she says. Several of her students have gone on to culinary academies to become chefs.


“Cooking is one of those things that with the right environment and instruction, a child can be instantly successful. The best part of my job is when the little light bulb goes off in a child’s head, when they accomplish whatever we’re working on for the first time. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 2 year old or a 10 year old.”


Finding Franchisees


While the only location in current existence is the original in Austin, potential franchisees shouldn’t be alarmed. Barbara has been in the business for 25 years and Foodie Kids has only been franchising since mid-May of 2012.


If you’re interested in becoming a franchisee, loving to cook and loving kids are both important but they’re certainly not all Barbara looks for when selecting entrepreneurs to further Foodie Kids. “This is a business, it’s not a hobby. This isn’t something to tinker around with for three to five hours a day and walk away from,” Barbara says of her franchise. She makes the point that it is a small business.


“We don’t want an absentee franchisee. These parents and grandparents are bringing in their most precious possession to teach and do right by. You need to have your face in that store.” Beery asserts.


Once an entrepreneur becomes a Foodie Kids franchisee training begins in Austin at the original Foodie Kids location. Additional training is provided on-site at the franchisee’s new location for 3-5 days during the initial opening week. Barbara hopes that the new franchises who join Foodie Kids will incorporate new ideas into the program.


“You can’t think of everything!” she quips.



Success Story


If you’re wondering as to the practicality and profitability of a children’s cooking franchise in this economy, Beery has proved that it’s possible be successful. Foodie Kids in its current incarnation began two years ago and, despite never advertising, experienced the kind of success you don’t hear of– even in a booming economy.


“We opened the doors and we had profit in the first three months,” says Beery, much of which she credits to her local reputation.


That said, Foodie Kids provides a service that busy and working parents need and feel are of value. Barbara feels that cooking classes for children were once considered a luxury but now are ways for busy parents to keep kids busy during the summer months and after school when parents have to run errands, be at work, or need alone time.

For more information on becoming a Foodie Kids franchisee, visit http://www.franchiseclique.com/franchise/Foodie-Kids.

Q&A with Stan Friedman of Tutor Doctor

Where are you from? How and why did you become involved with Tutor Doctor? What does your job entail?

A native New Yorker, but an Atlanta transplant since 1989.

I became involved with Tutor Doctor because it is a brand who’s time is now!  Low barrier of entry,  real estate, high margins, much needed service.  All of the stakeholders win with this brand.  Franchisees, franchisor, and the families in the communities that we serve.

I am the Vice President of North America Franchise Development.  I oversee a team of professional franchise recruiters and manage our relationships with our franchise marketing partners and brokerage networks.

As a member of Tutor Doctor management team, what’s the most rewarding part of being part of a franchise? 

Being part of a dynamic and passionate leadership team is personally, very rewarding.  It is great having a peer group that shares the same vision, values and ethics.

Quickly describe the franchisee selection process to me. What do you look for in a franchisee? Do you have a profile in mind?

There is nothing quick about our process.  We very carefully and methodically work with our candidates to be certain that both sides of their brains are fully engaged in what it takes to successfully operate a Tutor Doctor franchise.  Many times the applicants are tutors or teachers, which can work out just fine, but the profile is more of a marketing and networking professional that can manage multiple relationships: tutors, families and other members of the community, with whom our franchisees do LOTS of cross promotion.

What can we expect from your franchise concept in the years to come? What can we expect from the children’s education industry in the future?

You can expect continued, sustainable growth.  The need for the services that our franchisees provides is a growing segment.  Kids unfortunately get less and less attention as education budgets get slashed in tough times.  We pick up lots of that slack for families that want the very best for their children.

How extensive is the training for your new franchisees? Do you try and develop personal relationships with them?

Franchisee training is intensive.  There is a 50 hour pre-training curriculum that is followed by 6 intensive days in the classroom and in the field at Home Office.  Following that, there is ongoing e-learning and actual mentoring with high level producers that spend two weeks with our new franchisees shadowing them in the mentor’s territory and then two weeks of the mentors working with the new franchisees in their territories.  Personal relationships are a cornerstone of the Tutor Doctor culture.

Do you provide ongoing support? If yes, how so?

Would you expect anything less from a professional franchise organization that is focused on tutoring?  We provide ongoing multi-media e-learning programs, support coaching calls, conferences and seminars throughout the calendar year.

How’s business? Is Tutor Doctor growing?

Growth is explosive.  We are one of the fastest growing brands in one of the most explosive market segments.

 How was the idea of starting Tutor Doctor conceived? 

About 10 years ago we had a simple idea and a desire to make a difference.  We wondered why parents had to adjust their family’s busy schedules and drive half way across town, just to put their kids into another classroom with more kids, when in fact it was the classroom experience that their child was stuggling with in the first place.

How has the recession affected sales and growth? 

Parents may cut back on their “Fourbucks” in tough times, but will not cut back on services for their kids.  Strangely enough, parents will spend less with Tutor Doctor for a more personal, custom tailored experience for their kids and we come to the home, as opposed to paying more and receiving less at a learning center.

You’ve got tremendous business and franchise experience. What’s some advice you’d give those who are beginning the franchise selection process? What would you tell someone who’s in a management position like yours in terms of advice? 

Begin with the end in mind.  Do your introspectives on drives you… what would you do with your time if you didn’t have to earn a living working.  Seek your passion and make a go of owning your business doing what matters to you.  As for what I would say to others in positions like mine, believe in your concepts and the opportunities you are representing with all of your heart.  You are helping people make life changing decisions.  Make it about those that you are serving.  Help the right people, at the right times, for the right reasons and everyone will win.

Is Tutor Doctor involved in VetFran? Does Tutor Doctor provide any financial incentives for veterans?

We are very engaged in VetFran and have active programs to encourage returning veterans to join us.



Tutor Doctor was founded in 1999 as an alternative to the “one-to-many” teaching model most extra-curricular learning centers offer by providing a personalized one-on-one, in-home tutoring service to students.  The company quickly grew and in 2003 turned to franchising as a way of expanding the company’s impact and meeting the vast market demand.  Now with offices internationally in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, the Tutor Doctor vision is becoming a reality as the lives of students and their families are being positively impacted throughout the world.  Tutor Doctor is affiliated with the National Tutor Association (NTA) whose mission is to foster the advancement of professional and peer tutoring, support research into best practices and standards for all tutors, support tutor training, advocate for tutor certification, and uphold the NTA Code of Ethics.

About Stan Friedman

Stan Friedman is a Certified Franchise Executive specializing in franchise development for more than 23 years. He has held leadership and executive positions including Senior VP of FranConnect, a franchise client conference, Executive VP and partner at Wing Zone, Executive VP at WSI Internet, ERA Franchise Systems and Prudential Real Estate Affiliates.   Friedman is a founding Board member of The International Franchise Association’s (IFA’s) Diversity Institute, where he has served as First Vice-Chair since its inception.  In 2011, the International Franchise Association honored Friedman with its Ronald E. Harrison Diversity Award, previously awarded only seven times in the IFA’s 52 year history.  Friedman also chairs the advisory board of the Professional Athlete Franchise Initiative, (PAFI) collaborating with IFA and its members to bring soon-to-retire professional athletes to a new playing field, that of franchise ownership. Now, Friedman has expanded his professional profile to include Tutor Doctor, a one-on-one, at home tutoring franchise with more than 200 units in 7 countries. Friedman became its VP of North American Franchise Development on May 1, 2012.

Children’s Education Franchise Spotlight

Mad Science Franchise

When you think of franchise opportunities, chances are that things like children and child education may not immediately come to mind. But there’s arguably just as much opportunity involved in owning a children’s educational franchise as there is in being the owner for another type of franchise. There’s also arguably more money-making potential, as there will always be children who need help with learning and engaging with others, and parents who strive to give their child the best opportunity for succeeding in life. This is because children’s franchises aren’t solely for entertaining the younger clientele, but also educating and developing them.

There is a vast amount of choice in terms of selecting from a children’s educational franchise. For example, Club-Z is an in-home tutoring service, where franchise owners will manage a staff of tutors that help out kids with specified school subjects. The tutoring is done at the child’s home, so you don’t need a specialty building to hold such sessions, which keeps franchise investment costs down. Plus, tutoring is becoming a much more popular business. Tutoring is one thing, hands-on learning activities are another opportunity.

That brings us to Mad Science, a franchise that entertains and engages children through hands-on science-related activities. Studies show that children who are engaged and actively participating in activities are more likely to learn and retain information better than those who aren’t.

Another example of a children’s franchise is Mathnasium. Although Mathnasium requires a higher investment amount than many of the other children’s franchise options, it also offers a potentially higher payoff by specializing in one area of school that many students struggle with – math. Mathnasium engages children and teaches them math, while reinforcing basic arithmetic, through games and activities, so as not to make it seem like a boring chore.

“**Due to the date this article was published, store count and financials may be inaccurate. Please refer to Mathnasium Learning Centers page for the most current information.”

Mathnasium Children’s Franchise Interview


For some, math is really as easy as 1-2-3. For others, it’s about as painful as a trip to the dentist. Mathnasium, the rapidly growing children’s education franchise, aims to change that.


Mathnasium has been franchising since 2004, but long before the concept was growing above 2% a year educator Larry Martinek was making a difference in the lives of his math students. Larry noticed that his students were developing mathematical shortcuts: ways of solving problems not taught in his or other teachers’ classrooms. Other teachers saw these shortcuts as cheating. Larry saw it as a confirmation that children don’t learn the same way that educators necessarily teach them. With the help of his son, Nick, Larry created Mathnasium’s teaching curriculum in the same verbiage as his students. Directions are written in the vocabulary of a fourth grader as opposed to a fourth grade teacher’s.


The curriculum is focused on developing what Joe describes as “number sense”– the building blocks of math– to build confidence in Mathnasium’s students. As it turns out, that’s a big part of why kids don’t like math in the first place.


Today, Mathnasium has over 270 centers in operation, with plans for more. It’s no wonder, considering the amount of support and success of Mathnasium’s curriculum.


When it comes to its franchisees, Joe Novak, Senior VP of Franchise Marketing and Development, is dedicated to figuring out who’s best for Mathnasium. “I’ve spent many hours thinking about this,” he says, “I’ve looked at over 70 variables.” Though he’s yet to narrow down a tried-and-true franchisee profile, he’s identified several indicators of a franchisee’s future success.


“Mathnasium is a very good opportunity for those who to be involved in their communities and who love kids,” Joe says. Joe mentions that Mathnasium looks for people who are go-getters. It’s vital for a Mathnasium franchisee to become part of the local community by going to PTA meetings, sponsoring little league teams and do everything within his or her grasp to take advantage of local opportunities.


Another great thing about this children’s franchise is that, “you don’t have to be a millionaire to start this concept,” says Joe.


In the past, Mathnasium franchisees have been lawyers, accountants, those with an IT background and, yes, former educators. “Don’t get me wrong,” says Joe, “you have to love math.”

“**Due to the date this article was published, store count and financials may be inaccurate. Please refer to Mathnasium Learning Centers page for the most current information.”

Interview with CEO of British Swim School

If you’re a British Swim School franchisee chances are you don’t own your own pool.


“We don’t build pools,” says Chris Simnick, founder of Synergy Franchise Group, LLC.  While that might sound counterintuitive, it’s actually just one of the many important details Chris and British Swim School CEO Rita Goldberg have nailed down in the process of making British Swim School a successful franchise. As it turns out, owning your own pool increases your overhead costs due to maintenance, repairs and general upkeep.



The Beginning of The British Swim School


Rita Goldberg has always been a swimmer. Born in Manchester, England, the British Swim School’s chief executive officer was a national swimmer in Britain and later worked in England’s education system as a swimming instructor. She began giving swimming lessons independently and soon a light bulb went off—this was what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.


Rita opened her first swimming instructional facility in 1981, after installing a swimming pool in the basement of a Victorian house, which according to Rita was “no small feat.” Within two months she had over 450 students and was operating at capacity. It was here that Rita took painstaking measures to develop standardized procedures to make swimming lessons both effective and fun for her students.


Growing, Growing, Growing


Ten years later, Goldberg moved to the United States. In 1993, she opened her first indoor swimming school in Coral Springs, Fla. and began implementing programs at other pool facilities in Marriot hotels and health clubs.


As the success of her swimming instruction classes grew, Rita turned to franchising to expand her business. “I knew I couldn’t do it all myself,” she said. Goldberg recognized in order to expand her business in a way that upheld the standards she had created she would need others that had a passion for swimming, children and teaching.


Rita enlisted the help of Chris Simnick, whom she’s aptly nicknamed “Guru,” to help her with the process. Simnick has over 30 years working with franchises; he’s been a franchisee, a franchisor, and an independent business owner.


Being a Franchisee


“We should prepare our franchisees to hear, “My child learned more today than a full summer of lessons!” from parents because we hear it so often,” says Goldberg.


Goldberg has done more than create a service that parents love; she’s developed a method of teaching children that appeals to them. “Children learn so much better when they’re having fun,” says Goldberg. It appears the British Swim School has found a way to integrate what both parents and children want. Today, there are 3,000 students taught at a British Swim School location in the U.S. in one week.


Though the franchise is fairly new, that hasn’t stopped British Swim School franchisees from experiencing tremendous success. One franchisee, located in Maryland, doubled in size in one summer; increasing the number of students she teaches from 250 to 500.


But it’s not all fun and games—there’s a tremendous amount of hard work that comes with the territory. The training process for a new British Swim School franchisee is rigorous. Hours are spent in the pool and also learning about the business model itself. “If the franchisee isn’t ready things don’t move forward,” says Rita.


That’s not to say the British Swim School’s management team isn’t supportive. “Unless we are good franchisors we won’t have good franchisees,” says Rita. That applies to more than just the training process. Whenever a franchisee is experiencing difficulty of one type or another or simply needs advice Rita herself and her team are more than happy to help.


The Business Model


“Rita’s successful track record validates her business model,” says Chris Simnick.


The possibility for a British Swim School franchisee to do well and “make a great wage,” as Rita says, is very high. First and foremost, franchisees don’t need to own a pool to become involved. Pool construction, as Rita knows, can be an expensive undertaking. Pool maintenance, upkeep and adherence to health codes are added concerns a franchisee doesn’t need to worry about with British Swim School.


All franchisees rent pool time from hotels, health clubs and similar organizations with the help of the British Swim School’s management team. Pools are selected with particular demographics in mind.


The beauty of the British Swim School’s model, aside from minimum costs to the franchisee, is the capability to move and follow clientele as neighborhoods change, students move, and pools undergo maintenance. Also, because of this fluidity, franchisees are able to generate income from multiple locations.


For Rita, it’s rewarding, “getting others to do equally well and watching others experience the same joy,” that she experiences from the success of the British Swim School.


It’s clear, however, that for Rita Goldberg, the success of her students remains the most rewarding aspect. “When you have a little one come in terrified one day and swimming laps the next, it’s a particular type of joy.”


If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a British Swim School franchisee we can help!