Opinions expressed by australiabusinessblog.com contributors are their own.
Franchising started: 1958| Total Units: 26,527 | Cost to open: $67.4K – $145.6K
Kumon’s enrollments shrank in the heart of the pandemic, but bounced back strongly. For the first time in three years, Kumon North America had 400,000 enrollments in 2022. And in October, it recorded its highest new enrollment in 40 years. This resurgence puts Kumon in the Top 10 for the third consecutive year. The company has been listed in the Franchise 500 for 26 years in a row and has been No. 1 in the tutoring category for 22 years in a row.
Related: Interested in a Kids’ Franchise? Here are the top 15.
In 2022, Kumon decided to try something different: it hired a marketing agency that specializes specifically in franchises. That was ultimately effective for the company, as it worked on a rebrand and stood out among its competitors. The number of franchise agreements signed was very good. Advertisements targeted people from different backgrounds and the website was updated with the aim of helping visitors reach the right person. (The franchise division used to get calls from parents wanting to enroll their children, and it still does.) “Everything just looks very different,” said John Collins, vice president of Center Network Development at Kumon North America. . The agency also moved budget money and advertised on LinkedIn.
One target audience that Kumon specifically targets with ads is teachers. As teachers across the country are leaving their jobs in record numbers, Kumon is looking to them to get on board as franchisees. In addition to existing incentives, such as a fully refundable training program, Kumon is considering how to increase teacher incentives in 2023. Kumon franchisees come from a wide variety of backgrounds, from engineers to lawyers, but the company has recently seen increased interest from teachers. “These are people who love education, love kids, and love to make a difference,” says Collins. “They became disenchanted with the state of the education system.”
Related: Why Opening a Kumon Center Was a Learning Experience for the Former Teacher
That current state of the education system — with low test scores, among other pandemic effects — has been good for Kumon, helping to increase enrollment and returning the company to pre-pandemic levels. In 2022, it was on track to open 162 new centers and continues to expand its reach in North America after opening six centers in Panama in 2020. Guatemala and Costa Rica are next on the list.
“There is a huge need and desire to help the children in people’s communities, knowing that many of these children are struggling right now,” says Collins. “And Kumon keeps growing and growing.”