Education, in one’s life, holds as much importance as breathing air. We all know that the learning process never stops, it’s a lifelong process. However, the resources that children have for learning have changed over the decades. Traditional schools are still a viable education option, though in recent years parents have increasingly shifted to favoring supplemental education from independent learning centers as a vital after school activity. Learning centers are designed to enhance children’s overall academic development, including interactive learning and child-focused teaching.
One of the most exciting factors of these learning centers is how they stay relevant and provide a high standard for education across all their locations. Consistent quality and a trusted brand are the foundation of a successful franchise, which is why the learning center format makes such an appealing option to invest in. Education franchises have exploded in popularity with no signs of slowing. With a widening field of options, parents can pick and choose the right franchise for their child, one that provides 1-on-1 attention, a proven curriculum, and owners who are genuinely invested in their students and families.
We at The Franchise Universe set out to seek such franchises that elevated education principles and came across Best Brains Learning Centers. Best Brains describes themselves as the premier US-based learning program designed for every child who wants to be their best.
We caught up with the company’s President and Co-founder, Ajay Sunkara, and Vice President, Hana Adas, to know more about Best Brains and how the company has grown to over 130 learning centers in the US, Canada, and beyond!
The “Best Brains” Behind the Concept
The goal of Best Brains is to bring higher quality and value to the supplemental education market than previously available. Over the past ten years, they have created a valuable product for their franchisees, teachers, clients, and – most importantly – for their students.
Every Best Brains location offers Math and English for students ages 3-14, Abacus and General Knowledge for students ages 7-14, and Coding for students ages 5-14. They have developed many additional programs throughout the years, including Public Speaking, Creative Writing, ACT/SAT Prep, and Summer Camp.
All Best Brains programs are designed to help children become more knowledgeable by increasing their understanding of concepts, to perform better in school, and have more confidence in their academic ability.
Best Brains has a high standard for staffing. All of their Math and English teachers are state or provincial board certified. The franchisee hires instructors who have experience teaching or working in the subjects they’re hired to teach, which provides quality instruction and valuable feedback for parents from trained professionals.
A Growing Brand with Community Loyalty
Best Brains’ strongest asset over the past ten years has been positive word of mouth. Over one-third of its current students are from referrals. Numerous Best Brains’ franchisees started as parents themselves who transitioned into the franchising model, growing the brand in key territories like Texas, California, and Washington, DC. Due to COVID-19, the franchise pivoted towards online education, reaching more people than ever before.
This includes a complete visual overhaul of its websites, increased presence and brand awareness on social media like Facebook, Yelp, and Google My Business, and new avenues of customer acquisition such as monthly webinars and creative advertising. Best Brains maintains a bimonthly blog which provides quality information to current and prospective parents. As educators who pride themselves on their qualifications, they want to be seen as thought leaders in the education industry who provide valuable knowledge and support in all areas of a child’s life, not just academics.
Adapting to Abrupt Changes
Best Brains responded swiftly to the COVID-19 pandemic. They quickly created new protocols and communicated with all franchisees to get them on board. They also provided instructions for securing small business loans and coached owners how to speak with parents, property managers, and other vendors during this unprecedented time. These owners pivoted from 100% in-person classes to 100% virtual classes in most cases within a week.
Parents appreciated how quickly Best Brains adapted to online courses. They still received the face-to-face instruction they were used to, except over the computer. The franchise also reduced the maximum student-to-teacher ratio of its Math and English classes from 5:1 to 3:1 so that teachers could focus and students weren’t overwhelmed with classmates on screen and in their headsets. During their 2020 End-of-Year survey, parents also reported that their children participated more in online school and understood concepts better. This was a huge validation for the Best Brains method, since the majority of public school students have fallen behind due to the COVID slide.
Improving the Old, Embracing the New
We live in the 21st century, and it is a must to raise children to be 21st century learners. Embracing and utilizing technology is a huge part of that. Best Brains values pen and paper (and crayon!) learning, but they have been adapting their curriculum for digital distribution alongside physical media.
Best Brains also spent a great deal of time and resources during 2020 to create a Coding program that has become the first new core program added to the company since its founding. During the 2021 rollout period, every center is to start offering Coding programs for students, both in the center and online. Best Brains has designed these courses to be fun, engaging, and valuable for its students’ academic improvement. Their Coding program teaches logic, cause and effect, and perseverance – skills that can be applied to any area of life.
A Resource of Knowledge and Support
From the start, it was Best Brains’ mission to connect certified teachers with students who needed 1-on-1 attention to succeed both inside and outside the classroom. Their students endeavor to be their best in their communities every day. Some students have organized volunteer efforts, or in the case of a couple of Best Brains students, founded a company called Recycle My Battery.
Best Brains students inspire the company to be their best, too! In Q4, the franchise has plans to embrace the season of giving by debuting its new non-profit venture, Best Brains Kids Alliance. This organization will help its students plan, fund, and raise awareness for charitable causes in their community and provide scholarship opportunities to children in need. Beyond corporate efforts, the brand’s owner-operators are in their centers every day, building relationships and participating in local events alongside their families. Supportive and individualized attention is one of the most important aspects of the Best Brains experience and is something that families don’t always get from traditional learning.
Preparing the Next Generation
Best Brains wants their students to be successful inside and outside of the classroom. They have recently redesigned their ACT/SAT Test Prep course for 7th to 9th graders to help them with high school level end-of-year exams and prepare for college entrance exams. Their Public Speaking courses, available for 2nd through 8th graders, teach valuable skills necessary for post-secondary education endeavors like college, vocational school, and careers.
Why Best Brains?
“There is nothing more rewarding than making a difference in a child’s life,” explains Mrs. Adas. Franchising with Best Brains is designed in all aspects to attract and foster a community of respect, knowledge, and aspiration. The low cost of entry means that new owner-operators start their business strong, with the resources they need to invest money where it counts: quality staff, community involvement, and local awareness. Best Brains maintains a network of franchisees who work together to strengthen the brand, uplift their students, and show their communities what it means to be their best. To be successful in the education franchising business, you have to rely on the talents of experts. That’s why Best Brains puts certified teachers in their classrooms and their curriculum development teams.
A Best Brains entrepreneur succeeds through supporting their students and parents by being visible, engaged, and accountable. Mr. Sunkara, describing the ideal franchising applicant says, “You don’t need a background in teaching to operate a successful center, though there are many advantages for those that do.”
“What you need is that sense of purpose, the empathy with your students, the belief that you can and will make a positive impact for every child who comes to your center.” Mrs. Adas continues. Mr. Sunkara agrees, adding, “When our students succeed, we succeed. If you feel the same way, there’s a place for you at Best Brains,”
Looking Ahead to the Future
Best Brains is celebrating in 2021, as it marks the completion of 10 years in the business. The franchise is focusing on its goal to expand to 200 centers by the end of 2022. They will bring the brand to more states around the U.S and more provinces in Canada. The franchise is also expanding its availability of Summer Camp and Public Speaking for 2022.
Its online presence is also increasing, making it easier than ever to connect a franchisee to the customer and a franchisor to the franchisee. It is an exciting time for Best Brains! They have been working on many projects that will debut in the next year. They are also looking for talented, passionate, and business-minded individuals who can grow their brand over the next ten years!