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Success Story Indonesia

 

What was your background before your company became a Direct English Master Franchisee?

The company already specialised in English Language Training and testing TOEFL and TOEIC. They decided to branch out and focus initially on English Language Training for children by becoming the Pingu’s English Master Franchisee with the Linguaphone Group. Once we had started to develop a strong network of Pingu’s English training centers across Indonesia, taking on Direct English was a logical step.

I personally joined the company in March 2015 and have a strong background in education. I was actually the Master Franchisee for a company called Computer Assisted Learning, part of the Informatics group in Singapore between 2001 and 2006.

What was it that attracted your company to our Franchise?

Direct English is an international brand with huge potential for development across Indonesia. Especially in this ASEAN Economic Community era, the demand for standardised English has become a critical requirement and a must-have skill. Direct English will help communities and the government to help everyone increase their confidence to communicate in English with the global and regional community.

How long have you now been with Direct English?

We took on the exclusive Master Franchise rights to Direct English for Indonesia at the end of 2013. We now have Direct English language training centers across Indonesia in Jakarta and Malang, and will shortly open a new center in Yogyakarta. We are really excited about our plans to expand further across Indonesia!

What are the unique benefits of being a our franchisee partner?

We help the Indonesian community in developing their confidence in communication through the support of the global Direct English network. Being able to communicate in English is a major skill everybody must have nowadays. We are confident that Direct English will help us to achieve this.

What kind of support have you received as a Master Franchisee from the Linguaphone Group?

As well as ongoing marketing and business development support, we have received a lot of eye-catching marketing campaigns from the Linguaphone Group. We particularly enjoyed the Direct English Superheroes campaign, which was very well received in Indonesia!

What advice would you give to someone considering investing in a Direct English Master Franchise?

Carry out extensive research before deciding on your pilot center location and evaluate the costs in detail. It is of course crucial for the center to be in the right catchment area to attract as many students as possible.

What are the key benefits to the customers of Direct English?

We have had great feedback from our students. They seem very happy with Direct English. Many have moved over to Direct English from competitors and have told us that they like the face-to-face teaching you get with Direct English rather than just online practice. They enjoy coming to the centre and interacting with other students, and like that the course is flexible and fits around their busy lifestyles. High-quality materials and well trained teachers are also examples of positive feedback we receive from students on Direct English.

If you could do anything differently what would you do again?

It is crucial to get your marketing exactly right and decide on your marketing plan at an early stage. We have recently decided to advertise in some of the large local bookstores and are working hard on our social media campaigns. I would also say it is crucial to start partnering with companies and schools as soon as possible since they are an important target market for us.

What are your plans for Direct English in Indonesia over the next 5 years?

We would like Direct English to be recognised nationwide and are looking to open many more new centers between now and 2020. Up and till now we have mainly focused on retail training. In the months ahead, Direct English Indonesia will be working very closely with corporate and private secondary schools to encourage them to include Direct English into their programs.

Success Story Gulf States

What was your background before you became the Master Licensee here?

We already owned the New Horizons IT Training Franchise providing corporate training, so we had previous experience of franchising. We also have a very innovative team who are able to localise the franchise process to our market requirements and we thoroughly understood our target audience. That background helped us immensely and I am sure it contributed to the success of Direct English.

What was it that attracted you to the Direct English Master Franchise?

As an established IT training provider we could see that many of our students were struggling with all the new IT technology and software coming in (around the year 2000), because it required them to know English. This gave us the impetus to provide the solution we could see there was a huge opportunity to provide English language training in our region, so we began looking for an international franchise. We had an awareness of Direct English as some of our New Horizons Franchisees in the Middle East were already operating the programme, so it was a fairly easy decision for us to take on the Master License. It was a natural transition for us as we already had a very positive experience of Direct English.

What are the unique benefits of being a Direct English Licensee?

In the Middle East people are very conscious of quality and of what they are spending their money on. They are looking for something unique and different so we needed a good brand name. The main benefit to us was that Direct English was an established brand from an experienced language learning provider.

What has been your biggest challenge to date?

It was fairly challenging in the beginning as we had to raise awareness of the brand and we had to gain people’s trust. We had many competitors in the market and we needed to differentiate ourselves, so we invested in a strong marketing plan to deliver the right messages.

The Middle East is fairly traditional in their approach to learning – people were used to attending a class, taking notes and expecting to have their heads filled with English.

We presented a new methodology to them which focused on conversation and the social aspect of learning English. Direct English is an adult course, so we are not focusing on just the academics – this was a big shift in perspective for most people.

What is your proudest achievement so far?

We are now considered to be one of the best training centres for English Language learning in the UAE and we have been recognized by the government for our initiatives. We were responsible for driving a recent workplace skills initiative. We helped to fill a recognized skills gap as we trained people in English and helped them with their career progression. We have also had recognition from different government departments recently from the Ministry of Interior, where we have trained military personnel to build their English skills. But I still feel that my proudest moment is yet to come!

What are your plans for expansion?

We already have centres in Kuwait, Qatar and Dubai and we have recently expanded in Abu Dhabi we have a brand new centre there with amazing facilities so our priority is to concentrate on that centre this year. We are planning to expand further in Kuwait and we are waiting for the right opportunity to expand in other markets.

What do you feel has been a key factor in your success?

Recruiting the right people has been key, and that has driven our success. Our staff totally believe in the programme – we have a great team and we have a very clear marketing strategy.

We invest a great amount of time in training our staff, especially our teachers. When we appoint staff that’s just the first step – training of our key staff can take 6 months to a year to complete. We ensure that they have a complete understanding of the Direct English programme. We have an ongoing ‘train the trainer programme where staff get regular feedback, so we can review where there are any knowledge gaps that need to be filled.

What would you say to someone considering investing in a Direct English Master License?

I would advise them to conduct thorough market research to understand your target market and how you will position the product.

What are the key benefits to the customers of Direct English?

The key benefit is the improvement in their conversational skills. But we see a real difference in people their personalities get stronger, they become more productive employees and very social individuals. Direct English really does give people confidence!

If you could do anything differently what would you do again?

Everything is a learning curve, however it also depends on your target segment and in most cases this is the retail segment i.e. B2C. In this case then I believe location is a key thing. We had to find a new location for one of our centres some time back, as due to some recent changes of geography some of our customers were finding it hard to get there. So we had to think of changing the centres location to ensure that customers could reach it easily and park.

Success Story Bulgaria

Direct English Bulgaria signed their agreement in late 2015 and opened their first successful education franchise and launched the business with the presence of DIT UK Ambassador in October 2016.

Let’s discover the exciting experiences and challenges they faced in starting a new education franchise after signing a franchising agreement:

1. Tell us more about the history of Alexander Training Center?

Alexander Training Center already has more than fifteen years experience in the Bulgarian market, delivering language training to adults across the whole of Bulgaria. It was established to provide language and other educational services to children, pupils, students and adults. Beside English language tuition, other languages such as German, Spanish, Italian, Greek, French as well as IT tuitions (digital competence, computer literacy) are also taught according to demand.

2. How did you find the process and advantages of becoming a Direct English Center?

We signed the contract in September 2015. I could compare the signing of a franchise agreement to getting married. Both sides not only like each other and wish to look together into the future but there are considerable responsibilities for both franchisor and franchisee. It’s a process in which the franchisees enthusiasm and desire to work is combined with the many years proven experience of the franchisor and their know-how. It is due to the franchisors professional virtue that the franchisee can overcome a number of difficulties during the process of developing the business and strengthening its position. Therefore each independent entrepreneur may enter into franchise relationships with little previous experience and even without any such experience. Thus they will save a lot of time, effort and money while guessing the right way. In other words, one does not need to reinvent the wheel.

3. What level of competition have you experienced? Does the franchise offer real competitive advantages? What are they?

In the conditions of growing competition we enjoy the privilege of using a product like Direct English which by its uniqueness would distinguish and set us apart in the language learning market. So in the battle with our competitors we have two main and overwhelming weapons: firstly our development through franchising and secondly the Direct English system which has no analogue and is easy to be used by a wide range of users.

4. How do you think the education sector has changed during the last 2 years?

During the last few years there has been a desire from customers to take advantage of tuition sponsored by the European Union, for example the Operational programmes Administrative Capacity and Human Resources. Of course both individual and corporate clients could be supported by that European solidarity but to a certain extent these funds compromise the principles of the market economy because on one hand direct sales in the market are reduced and on the other hand the managers of big projects as well as the corporate clients tend to use only a limited number of companies which provide language tuition.

5. What is the key lesson you’ve learnt during your experience with students and companies?

Clients need our attention, proper attitude, our interest in their progress – all these are steps that cannot be reversed when it comes to sales in the sphere of services as is the case with education. Regarding the companies we are in partnerships with or the staff of other companies whom we provide tuition to, our creed is always found in the clearly expressed principles of partnership, mutual understanding and reasonable compromise.

6. How did you find Direct English World?

I find it great. The students are very glad to use the whole package of materials and the teachers are enthusiastic to meet the challenge of this really unique system.

7. What is the #1 piece of advice you would give a first-time franchisee in the education sector? Does the franchise offer real competitive advantages? What are they?

Of course the franchise gives great advantages: the biggest one is the experience of the Franchisor. When someone buys a franchise, he purchases the years of experience and the proven methods of the franchisor. Another advantage is the Training – the training provided by the good franchisor should prepare the new owner in various aspects of the business. Other advantages may also be pointed out like advertising, ongoing advice, research and development. For example, the individual entrepreneurs cannot do extensive advertising. By becoming a franchisee the small-business person can afford this extensive advertising and will have access to products ready made by the franchisor.

8. Whats next for Direct English Bulgaria in terms of future growth?

Once we see the pilot school (Center) settled down and in operation with good capacity we are going to the next step to recruit unit franchisees and/or establish new company owned Direct English Centers around the major cities of the country.

For more information contact:

27 Tvardishki prohod Street

  • 1404 Sofia
  • Bulgaria

Tel: +359 (0)88 71 444 71

Tel/Fax: + 359 (0)2 963 55 33

Email: info@directenglish.bg

Website: DirectEnglish.bg

Facebook: Direct English Bulgaria

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