Karen Sherr, Founder of successful franchise Musical Minis, has written a heartfelt letter to one of her fellow franchisors and has chosen to kindly share her personal words with you! Read her letter below in which she details her current efforts and shows support for her franchisees.
So lovely to see you at the meeting last week; great to see so many new ladies interested in buying a franchise business there too. I remember how confused I was when I first thought about franchising; ‘franchisors’, ‘franchisees’, ‘models’, baffling! Thank Goodness we’re around now to help new comers, it’s so much easier to explain it in person and great that there were some franchise solicitors and consultants there to give them sound advice too.
It was great to hear your business is growing so well; I’m definitely going to enter those awards you were talking about, such good PR for the business. I rather like the sound of ‘Award Winning Franchise’ on my letter heads.
Things are ticking along nicely here too. I had a call from a franchisee this morning with the most heart-warming story; she had a little girl at one of her classes who was born with end stage kidney failure. Apparently she’s a real little fighter and 3 weeks ago she had a kidney transplant, donated by her mum. Today she returned to class and smiled from start to finish. She sat on the franchisee’s knee for the first time and giggled throughout ‘See Saw’ and ‘Humpty Dumpty’. The look on her face when her mum swung her into the circle for the ‘Hokey Cokey’ was apparently priceless! She posted the story on her Facebook page (isn’t social media just so important these days?) and said ‘’these are moments to treasure, I will never forget this day”, neither will I. Its stories like this that make all the hard work worth it. (Note to self: update website www.musicalminis.co.uk with this story!)
Talking of work, I’ve just been working with a new franchisee to adapt her classes to the Children’s Centre she’s working with. It’s so important they tailor the class to each different environment, making sure they’re delivering the programme the client is happy with, whilst remaining true to the Musical Minis model. However, nursery rhymes in foreign languages? Non! After a chat we concluded that she just needed to emphasise why we do what we do to the centre leader and she was fine. Luckily I’ve been doing this for so long I’ve encountered most situations e.g. venues cancelled at late notice, lack of heating, parents who don’t pay their fees, disruptive children and can always offer them a solution to their problems, whatever they may be.
I can’t believe it was nearly 25 years ago that I first set up the business. If somebody else had been offering children’s music and singing classes I wouldn’t have set up Musical Minis, however, all I could find were very serious classes and that wasn’t what I was looking for at all. My husband says it’s my training as a child psychologist and spending so many years working as a play specialist at Great Ormond Street hospital that I knew I wanted a group that was both fun and structured for our son Matthew . I just knew my little boy’s eyes lit up when he heard the sound of his favourite nursery rhymes begin and loved doing the actions with them too. Funnily enough not much has changed from our early classes; the music is the same, good old traditional nursery rhymes with fun instruments to play as well. It’s great seeing the parents interacting with their children too; really good ‘quality time’. I’ve attached a photo of one dad at a class in Cheltenham taking the Hokey Cokey to a whole new level!
I felt very sorry for one of my franchisees recently, she rang me to get advice on how to get some rather overly ‘chatty’ mums to stop talking and interact with their children during the class. A common problem. It’s lovely that the mums get to talk to one another but do they have to do it when we’re singing ‘Happy and You Know It’!? I get calls like this all the time from the newer franchisees or, ‘how do I deal with a special needs child in my class’ or ‘how do I start up more classes’? I really enjoy mentoring them through the early days; it’s so rewarding seeing them learn and grow their businesses too. Some of them can hardly believe they can earn proper money from doing something they love so much. It’s great!
I had an interesting morning on the phone to the solicitors yesterday; another group has set up with a very similar name to Musical Minis. I really don’t mind the competition but they cannot take advantage of our good name. Thank goodness for trade mark laws! It’s incredible that people think they can do this. Luckily they never win; our solicitors are great and ensure their name is changed very quickly. Operating within the law is so important and it’s why I’ve always insisted on us using our own artists to perform and record our own music. I’m happy to pay a fee to the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society Limited (MCPS) to clear the publishing rights, even if we do have to pay them every time we share the music with a new franchisee, at least it means no one can copy our music!
Right, I must go, I’ve got a skype meeting with our PR company in a minute (don’t you love Skype? It saves so much time and more importantly, petrol money). They’ve got big plans for our upcoming 25th anniversary and we’ve got to discuss a new logo for the year. Exciting stuff. Oh and mustn’t forget to update the blog http://learningmadefun.typepad.com , got to keep the SEO monster happy. Currently working on downloadable fun packs for Easter, the bunnies are so sweet!
See you at the awards in May (thank goodness we’re not in the same category!)