How Sylvan Learning’s Franchisee Support Systems Promote Sustained Success
A corporate leadership team with center-level experience, a dedicated Franchise Business Consultant and real-time access to the Sylvan Support Center all contribute to the unmatched support Sylvan franchisees receive.
The long-term success of many franchise owners is predicated by the tools with which they are supplied. Buying into a franchise means signing up for a specific system; with dedication and hard work, financial and professional rewards follow. Getting new franchisees from their grand opening to celebrating their 10th anniversary takes corporate investment into a business model that supports those operating within it at the unit level, and no one knows this better than Sylvan Learning.
Even now with a franchise system of more than 750 points of presence—many of which are owned by franchisees who have spent decades with the brand in various capacities—Sylvan Learning continues to redefine what it means to truly support franchisees.
Franchisee-turned-corporate team member Susan Valverde is Sylvan’s Chief Franchise Operations Officer. Having spent 15 years as a member of the brand’s franchise system, Valverde has unique insight into center-level operations that she’s been able to draw upon in her current role guiding the brand’s strategic approach to franchisee support. Valverde’s belief that a system is only as strong as the franchisees within it is apparent in the way she’s assembled her team—every member has worked in a Sylvan center at some level.
“I feel fortunate to have had that experience as a Sylvan franchisee—it serves my role very well,” she said. “I can relate because I’ve been in their shoes, and every single person on my team has worked in a center. That’s something not every company can say; having run the business from the front line shapes our perspective. I wouldn't change it for anything because it’s what keeps us focused on reality: what the customer wants, what really works operationally and ways we can improve.”
That relatability serves as a strong connection point between the corporate team and those that make up its franchise system, creating an environment where concerns are voiced, opinions are heard and support evolves, as a result.
Terry Wettig, a franchisee who opened his Sylvan Learning in Prattville, Alabama in March 2019, said the support he and his wife and business partner, Carol, received from the moment they began interacting with the brand has been authentic and comprehensive.
“We were welcomed with open arms and with genuine interest—as new franchisees and as people, too,” Wettig said. “Through the recruitment process, Discovery Day, our opening and beyond, we have been able to interact with other franchisees and with corporate team members who not only address our interests and concerns, but offer practical advice as well.”