Scholars Education Centre Franchise -President and CEO, Sharan Sohi

Date: JUN 17th, 2015

Topic: Interview with a CEO

Our President and CEO, Sharan Sohi comes from an extensive business background filled with entrepreneurship and success. Sharan has owned and operated multiple businesses in the restaurant, hotel, fast-food and education sector for over 35 years. Sharan’s experience, dedication, and passion provides an exceptional avenue of learning for new franchisees joining the Scholars team. Whether a franchisee is seeking advice on leasing, location selection, customer service, or business analysis, Sharan is able to draw on experience and surpass the expectations of both new and existing franchisees. Sharan is responsible for leading our Head Office team and departments, which he has been doing successfully since 2007. He has always believed that in order to direct the franchise system – he must himself be involved at the grass roots of the company.

BeTheBoss.ca: Tell us about the Scholars Education Centre franchise concept.

Sharan Sohi: The Scholars model is a very simple concept. We provide supplementary education and tutoring from children pre-k to post-secondary. We provide individualized tutoring services to a wide ranging demographic and students with special needs. Our company and products are entirely Canadian based and Canadian curriculum focused. We also provide our services in a physical location (in-centre tutoring) or we can deliver our service right in the convenience of a family’s home (in-home tutoring).

BTB: How and when did you become involved with Scholars Education Centre?

SS: I became involved in Scholars in 1998. I was approached for financing by two retired teachers that saw the growth in demand for supplementary education. Scholars began as simply an investment to me but quickly turned into a passion. When our former President retired in 2006, I quickly stepped into the position with a great deal of excitement. Scholars is a very unique business in the sense that you can quickly see the impact our premium product and methodology has on a child and family. There is no other business that I have been involved in that is so rewarding to see the end result of your product and service. At the end of the day myself, and our franchisees feel extremely proud of being involved in this business and the positive impact we have on families.

BTB: What was your background prior to joining Scholars Education Centre franchise?

SS:Prior to joining Scholars my background was in fast food, hotels and restaurants. I have had the opportunity to be a franchisee for a number of top brands and franchise chains in North America. The experience and the expertise I have gained from my previous and current business ventures allow me to build the Scholars franchise utilizing various successful franchising and business models that I have been a part of.

BTB: What are some of the advantages in being a Scholars Education Centre franchisee?

SS: Foremost, Scholars is a family owned and operated company. I truly believe that because my family and I have invested and continue to operate the business on a day-to-day business, this leads to a very unique experience for franchisees as our interests are never misaligned with the direction of the company.

In general, Scholars offers a number of competitive advantages, which include: special needs program offering; a Canadian based proprietary curriculum; a product with a proven track record of success; a wide ranging product offering that allows franchisees to appeal to a variety of demographics; essential support in advertising and marketing from working with our agency to working with our in-house creative team; consistent operational support; a structured hands-on training regiment; a proprietary database management system that helps keep your centre operationally and financially organized; ongoing research and development from Head Office); and we are currently giving new franchisees $10,000 of their franchise fee back to be put towards opening marketing and advertising – this is vital to us. We want our franchisees to get off the ground and running and we believe investing in them from the start is critical, so we feel the media subsidy helps a great deal in growing the brand from day one in their community. I can go on and on about the benefits and advantages of joining our franchise team – these are really just a few.

BTB: Who is your ideal franchisee?

SS: Our ideal franchisee is someone that demonstrates a variety of characteristics. We look for financial stability, a background in business is an asset, strong sales and intrapersonal skills, strong organizational skills and the understanding of brand management. We have a very strong vision in brand maintenance and brand development so we want to bring on franchisees that understand the importance of working within a franchise system and maintaining brand consistency. Finally, we want franchisees that are entrepreneurial and hungry to grow their business.

BTB: Tell us a little about the Scholars Education Centre Market?

SS: The market for Scholars is large and growing. We are talking about a sector that continues to grow year over year and is valued in the billions. Post-secondary requirements are becoming more and more competitive and families across Canada are becoming extremely conscious of the economic changes that we are experiencing. The result is growth in private and supplementary education.

BTB: What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?

SS: I think the biggest lesson I’ve learnt in growing this franchise is the importance of finding franchisees that are committed to brand development and forming a long-term franchisee – franchisor partnership. I also understand the importance of providing premium franchisee support and the impact this can have on a franchisees success. We believe in 24/7 support to all franchisees and have head office staff on the road weekly to support all new and existing franchisees.

BTB: What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?

SS: The best advice I can give to someone looking to acquire any franchise is pretty simple – do your due diligence. Really understand the entirety of a business before you consider making an investment. I think people are quick to jump on board with a concept or franchise before sitting back and looking at every aspect of a particular business. I think there is a big misconception that opening a business equals financial and personal success. The truth is, it takes a great deal of consistent hard work over a long period of time before success will come – in any business. As a result, doing proper due diligence right from the start is critical in understanding what it will take to be successful, and if the business is a good fit for your skill set.

BTB: In your opinion, why do you think that Scholars Education Centre would be a great opportunity for someone?

SS: Scholars is a great opportunity for so many reasons. This is the most rewarding business and industry I have ever been involved with – and I stress that to everyone I meet. Every night you go home knowing you’ve positively impacted a student’s and family’s life – it’s incredible. From a franchisor perspective our unparallel support, innovation and structured franchising model make the process very easy and smooth for potential franchisees. We are extremely transparent so franchisees know exactly what they are investing in.

Finally, working with Parry, our Director of Franchising is very beneficial to potential franchisees. Parry ran our corporate location for one year, plays a pivotal role in operational procedures, is involved with our suppliers, plays a major role in assisting with leasing and lease hold improvements and has been with the company for a number of years. Working with Parry really assists potential franchisees in understanding the history of our company, the future vision of our company and simply put – he can directly answer any question potential franchisees have.