How a NJ teacher with no experience became an award-winning franchisee

  • Lynn Ann Zazzali is a former public college teacher who purchased her first franchise location of The Learning Experience in 2006 with a mortgage from her household.
  • After three years of enterprise, she repaid the mortgage and now owns eight TLE places within the larger New York metro space.
  • Business Insider spoke with Zazzali about why she selected to companion with a franchisor, and the way she was in a position to translate that relationship into her present success.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for extra tales.

Lynn Ann Zazzali became an entrepreneur the way in which many others have — she turned necessity into alternative.

After 12 years as a public college teacher on a profession monitor to changing into a principal, Zazzali determined to take a completely different route and grow to be a enterprise proprietor.

She had seen a lot as a teacher, from excessive faculties in tough communities to quieter elementary faculties, and he or she’d earned a pair of Masters levels.

The scales tipped when Zazzali was on the lookout for childcare for her then-preschool-aged son and toddler daughter.

“It was just a difficult process,” she advised Business Insider. “I’ll admit, I actually started crying on some of the tours because the thought of leaving them with complete strangers was really daunting to me.”

That’s when her father recommended beginning a enterprise.

A household affair

“We explored all different franchises, and we also explored opening our own [brand]. I have an education degree, I have knowledge of, the content, so it made sense,” Zazzali mentioned.

But when Zazzali and her father met The Learning Experience founder Michael Weissman and his son Richard, she was impressed by their ardour for constructing a group round childhood training.

“You can tell by meeting them that they’re vested in their company, and that it’s not just a business, but it’s a family,” she mentioned.

So in 2006, backed by a mortgage from her father, Zazzali signed on as a franchise proprietor of a new TLE location that opened a little over a yr later in Waldwick, New Jersey.

Developing confidence on the job

Having her household’s hard-earned money on the road proved to be vastly anxious for Zazzali, who started to undergo sleepless nights worrying about letting her family members down.

Things received so troublesome she requested the Weissmans about getting out, and so they known as her and her father into the workplace for a assembly with the company workforce.

Sitting across the a convention desk, Zazzali remembers Michael Weissman saying, “We believe in you, and we know that you can do this. People like you — who really do have everything to lose — fight even harder.”

“And he was right,” she added, saying that he gave her his private telephone quantity to name if she suffered one other 2am disaster.

The pep-talk labored.

The following yr Zazzali was acknowledged because the TLE franchisee of the yr, and inside three years of working her enterprise, she managed to pay again her father.

The significance of location

In addition to its instructional curriculum, TLE boasts a proprietary actual property growth technique that guides the company workplace’s collection of new websites.

That was a large benefit for Zazzali, who defined that business actual property and zoning permits are particularly troublesome to navigate in New Jersey, and have a vital bearing on the success of a enterprise.

When she seen new TLE places popping up close to hers, she requested Richard Wessman if there was a new alternative for her. There was, and shortly after these doorways opened in 2016 there have been much more.

In truth there have been many greater than that — TLE has added 62 models previously three years, based on Entrepreneur — so Zazzali received a record of accessible places within the larger New York metro space and went exploring.

Now Zazzali is the proprietor of eight TLE places, three of that are nonetheless beneath building, however all financed utilizing the returns from her unique heart in Waldwick.

Using economies of scale to supply personalised service

More than actual property choice, Zazzali says a key benefit of working with a bigger firm is that it permits her to focus extra on serving her purchasers and fewer on maintaining with altering applied sciences and curricula.

“Something that a lot of families tell us is that when you walk in the doors, you feel like you’re part of a family,” she mentioned.

That’s made simpler because of sturdy instructional programming that Zazzali trusts, in addition to up-to-date classroom tech and buyer relationship administration instruments.

“We all have the same curriculum, and we hold each other to the same policies, procedures, and standards, but we’re all going to have that unique culture,” she mentioned.

After all, with actual limits on classroom capability, TLE’s enterprise is dependent upon getting the private contact good in order that households signal on and keep linked all through their kid’s training.

“When we have conversations or staff meetings, we always say our field is very different because we really can’t make mistakes. You just can’t,” Zazzali mentioned.

In a enterprise like that, it is simple to see why you would not wish to go it alone.

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