How a married couple found success and a meaningful life in business with the top-rated education franchise
Brian and Jennifer Telford opened the doors to their Huntington Learning Center franchise in Brentwood, Tennessee, an affluent suburb of Nashville, on March 1st, 2020 – right at the height of a global pandemic.
Because the Telfords are parents of a kindergarten-age son, they uniquely understood the impacts that the pandemic would have on families in their communities – and the role that their Huntington Learning Center franchise could play in meeting the overwhelming demand for helping kids get back on track with their studies.
Now, more than a year later, the Telfords are doing exactly what they hoped their business would do: helping students get the best education possible.
In this wide-ranging interview, Brian and Jennifer open up about their backgrounds, the incredible demand for academic support, their hopes for the future, and much, much more.
This is their story:
What were you doing before you became Huntington Learning Center franchise owners?
B: I’ve been in the corporate world for a long time. I had the itch to own my own business for a while, so, I started looking at franchise opportunities. One of the first options that really appealed to us was Huntington Learning Center, and when we found out that the center owner here was retiring, it felt like we were in the right time at the right place.
J: I have about 20 years of marketing experience. I stopped working to start our family. When Brian and I started talking about doing something different, I knew that I wanted to get back into a marketing role. Huntington Learning Center provides amazing marketing support – and it’s an easy business to market. I feel like I have the best job in the world.
What attracted you to invest in a Huntington Learning Center franchise?
B: I’ve always loved learning and education. My mom is a retired second grade teacher, so I grew up with conversations about the importance of education around the dinner table. When we were looking at businesses, we wanted to do something that would become a part of the community, and we love kids. So, Huntington Learning Center was a natural fit for us.
Does being a parent help you relate to the families that you serve?
J: Being a mom gives me a lot of credibility with other moms when I’m trying to market Huntington Learning Center. For example, with the pandemic, all of the schools went virtual, and mothers felt that decision most of all – I was right there with them. It makes the business so much more personal, and it allows us to connect to other families on a deep, authentic level.
Has the demand for academic support increased in the wake of the pandemic?
J: We’re just scratching the surface of the impact of Covid on education. During the 2020-2021 school year, a lot of parents went into survival mode – they just wanted to get through it. But now, parents are very worried about how far behind their kids are, and they’re not waiting to take action. There’s so much need out there, and we’re really seeing that in our own business.
How are you finding the training and support from Huntington Learning Center?
B: The training team at Huntington Learning Center is exceptional – and the process is thoughtfully laid out to new franchise owners. There’s a well thought out plan for every aspect of the business model, including how to train any staff that I bring on. They have a vast library of online training modules that address just about anything you will need to know about how to run this business. There’s also live sessions with trainers that are scheduled every month – so there’s really a lot of great resources available. They leave nothing to chance, and they put a lot of energy into making sure that their franchisees are successful.
Do you have any examples of students that you’ve helped so far?
B: We have so many examples of our impact on our students and their families. We had a student who had a nine-point increase in her ACT score, and that completely changed her future. She has Ivy League schools reaching out to her now. We recently had a mom come to us with twin daughters in the second grade. They really struggled with reading. It was a battle in their house to get them to read. I met with that mom three months after she started with us and she said, ‘Reading is now so enjoyable in our household.’ We’re not alone in this. Every franchisee has countless examples of the impact they’re having as well. It’s a powerful thing to be a part of.
What are your hopes for the future?
B: We’re hoping to continue to grow. With the demand that’s out there, with Jennifer’s great marketing, and with the right team in place, there’s no limit as to how fast we can grow. Our primary goal is to help as many students get the best education possible. The more successful we become, the bigger the impact that we can have.
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