Interview with Franchisee of the Year 2018
Interview with Samantha Obiorah
Our Franchisee of the Year 2018
Samantha where do you operate your franchise?
In West Surrey
How did you feel when you won Franchisee of the Year?
Very emotional, I wasn’t expecting it at all-in fact I thought i’d been forgotten completely when all the yearly mentions were being announced. I was thinking, this is going to be really awkward when I have to tell Jane she’s forgotten me and then she announced that the Franchisee of the year winner was somebody that had doubled their business in the space of 6 months…I started thinking “hang on a minute” I think that’s me!
What do you think are the key elements of success?
Goal setting, going above and beyond for your customers and goal setting.
Why did you choose Little Voices as opposed to setting up alone or choosing another franchise company?
I loved teaching, and I did both group teaching and private one to one teaching but it got to the point that it was becoming unsustainable for me (working very unsociable hours). I liked that Little Voices lessons are after school and not at the weekends and I loved the smaller class sizes and exam focus as I had seen through my teaching that children that are working towards a specific goal improve much quicker than those that don’t. I also met with Jane, asked lots of questions and sat in her lessons and I felt that the culture of the company was one that resonated strongly with the kind of person that I am. I had taught for a performing arts franchise before and whilst I enjoyed it, I felt that Little Voices was more me.
What is your background?
I trained in Dance and Theatre Performance (BA Hons) at Bird College in Sidcup Kent, performed on Disney Cruiseline and at Tokyo Disneyland as a Principal Vocalist, was an Associate trainer with the SpeakersTrust and am a certified IVA Vocal instructor. I have also taught as a peripatetic singing teacher in schools across Surrey.
What would you say to someone considering the franchise opportunity and hesitating about making a decision as I am sure that you know how that feels?
I’d say that it’s important to do your homework. Explore your options, and in particular, look at the support that each company offers new franchisees. I literally had no idea how to run a business in 2015 and by 2018 I had won an award and a large part of that is because of the support I received from Head Office. Then ask yourself if you really want to push forward in your life and if you are willing to do what it takes to succeed, it takes determination, focus, long hours and hard work, but if you are willing to do it, you will be successful. It is a tried and tested business model but you have to work it, even when you don’t feel like it.
What advice would you give them now you have been in the network for a while?
Know that success rarely happens overnight and that you have to chip away at it everyday and have faith that it will all pay off. It takes time to build a reputation but once it is built it all just flows from there. Understand your “Why” as well. Why do you want to be successful, what will it give you? You keep the end result in mind all the time so that you will have a reason to work hard.
What has your journey been like with Little Voices?
It has been an adventure of ups and downs, it has certainly developed me as a person and as a businesswoman. When I look back over all that I have achieved in these 3 years it seems quite unbelievable.
What do you do when you are having a bad day? How do you cope?
If i’m having a bad day it’s usually to do with something I feel is an impossible situation. The first thing I do is pray about it, and the second thing I do is call head office to find out what Jane would do. She always has the best advice having years of experience and always knows the right thing to do. Then I implement the advice, trust it’ll all be OK and every time and the day turns around!
What are the main benefits of running your own franchise with Little Voices ?
Being in business for myself but not by myself, having the benefit of the training and advice from head office and also getting to chat to other franchisees in exactly the same boat as me so I don’t feel alone. The regional hubs are a great opportunity for local principals to get together in an informal setting and share their achievements, problems and to cheer each other on. I always leave re-inspired and it’s also nice that now i’m 3 years in I am able to pass on things I’ve learned to the newer principals in the network