Inside the Mind of a Successful Franchisee: What Makes Them Tick?

Published on: 01/02/2018 By
Last Modified on: 09/08/2018

If you’ve worked in the franchise sector already (or even thought about it) you may think you already know the answer to this question. But it takes a special kind of person to want to join the world of franchising, and at Wall Street English (WSE) the more we understand their mindset, the easier it is to make things work.

Wall Street English is the world’s leading English language business opportunity and has been operating language school franchises across the world for more than 40 years. Wall Street English operates in a global market where 1 in 4 of the world’s population are currently learning English. It is active in 28 territories and already has more than 400 centres in place with around 180,000 students currently enrolled around the world.

But it’s the quality of the experience that sets Wall Street English apart with 96% of  students saying that they would recommend WSE to a friend – a tribute to the amazing learning experience that franchisees around the world are delivering every day to their student communities.

But if Wall Street English doesn’t get the right partners on board for the right opportunities, there will be trouble ahead.

That’s why they spend so much time researching their proposition up front, getting under the skin of what makes an entrepreneur (or anyone else) take the leap into the world of franchising and why it can be such a successful and rewarding proposition for those who choose to get involved. Wall Street English have been doing it for 45 years, so they know what they’re talking about.

According to Lex Baker, Franchise Management and Development Director for Wall Street English: “It’s absolutely vital that we get the right people in at the right level. We need to work as a team with our franchisees and we need to know what makes them tick. A lot of time is spent up front, understanding their needs, their aspirations, their skillsets – and ultimately deciding if they have the right stuff to support our brand.

Our franchisees come from all walks of life and all backgrounds – and previous experience in language schools or education is not a prerequisite. In fact, our franchise partners come from a variety of backgrounds, countries and age groups, which makes it even more important that we understand their needs and match them with the right opportunity.


At Wall Street English, we have 3 levels of opportunity for franchisees looking to build a rewarding career with us:

  • Small sub-franchises within their own country (typically, networks of 1-3 centres).
  • Middle opportunity, to be a franchisee of a medium sized country (typically with somewhere between 5-10 centres).
  • Big one: a master franchise of 15+ centres in a large country.  For the right person, our returns can be high – with a profit margin as high as 35% over a two-year period.


To make it easier to understand, Wall Street English has spent some time identifying a number of characteristics and personality types that are most suited for these opportunities. While these are only guidelines and in reality anybody with the right background and qualifications can apply, it’s helpful to get inside the minds of potential partners to understand their needs and aspirations so that eventually they can form a rewarding partnership with a career path that they can follow should they choose to.

Lex continued: “We’ve been running successful franchises for more than 45 years now and one thing is certain, not all franchises are created equal. Nor are all franchisees. That’s why we need to ensure that we choose exactly the right people to work with. Ultimately, we’re looking for a productive partnership with our franchisees, so it’s vital that they not only have the right skills, but most importantly, the right personality traits to see the job through. Franchising is a unique business approach and it’s not for everyone, which is why it is so vital that we get the right people on board.”

We run the world’s leading English language school franchise and we know that investing in the right franchise can bring high returns on investment to our franchise partners. Not all franchises are the same and often they require different personality types depending on the scale, sector and complexity of the opportunity. Running a small franchise selling beauty products locally is very different to running a car dealership or a fast food restaurant. That’s why it is so important to get the right people in for the right opportunity. At Wall Street English, we have opportunities and each of these require different skills and even offer different rewards”.

However, for a franchise operation to succeed, franchisees must be entrepreneurs at heart – and what does that mean?

Lex continues: “Sheer determination, a voracious appetite for hard work and resilience – these are some of the basics that we start with when looking for the right franchise partners. We then look for further character traits to support these qualities – a laser sharp focus on success, a willingness to be hands-on and a sense of community responsibility are also strong attributes for potential franchisees.”

Obviously, each of our opportunities has different barriers to overcome and not everybody has the funding in place or the immediate ambition to take on a master franchise, which is why it is so important for us to guide potential franchisees to the right opportunity for them.

To make this easier, we’ve drawn on our extensive global experience and had a good look at the personality traits most suited to each of our franchise options to ensure that we’re attracting the right talent (and the right level of service) for each franchise model. It’s a little peek into the minds of our franchisees and might help to match you to the right opportunity in your career.


Motivated Martin:  

I’m tired of other people telling me what to do. I already know that I have what it takes to run my own business but I need some help and some structure to get me going.

Martin is married with young children, He’s already in his 30s and has been building his career ever since he left college. He’s now earning decent money, but he’s hungry for more – after all, those college fees will come up sooner than he thinks and they aren’t going to pay for themselves. His $80,000 p.a. salary is alright for now, but he’s already thinking about the next opportunity and starting to plan for the future – and he fancies being his own boss.

He prefers face-to-face meetings and chooses phone contact over constant emails – and he’s passionate about his own country, so he’s looking for an opportunity that can work for him locally. He’s self motivated, on the road to success and right now, his ambition is starting to kick in. He wants to be his own boss and start his own business, but he wants a low risk start up. He’s also well connected to his local community and feels that it’s right that he should be a part of it and contribute to the greater good.

Martin is perfect for a small franchise opportunity that keeps him close to home and family and that will pay off and offer him further opportunity in the coming years. He’s looking for success and is willing to work for it.

Ideal opportunity:

Sub-franchise or small network of up to 3 Wall Street English centres in one country, 25% + profits and the initial investment returned after only 18 months. He’s glad to be part of a proven network and glad of the ongoing support. He also likes the idea of making money while helping others. He loves the ”Business in a Box” approach and is comforted by Wall Street English’s heritage and track record. He might even expand as time goes by and he becomes more ambitious.


Ambitious Andy:

I need to accelerate my learning curve by buying into a proven concept, since I don’t have the time to wait 5-10 years to build my own business. I can see the opportunity, but need some help to make it happen and to minimise my personal risk.

Andy’s a bit older. He’s into his 40s. He might have a background in investment banking (or something similar), but he’s also happy to go where the money is. He wants to set up his own business, but he’s risk averse and is looking for safe opportunities. He’s spent around 20 years in business already and he’s invested in his own projects before, so he knows the ropes, but he’s not necessarily experienced at the business end of things, so he needs an easy approach to setup and some operational support – just a little initial handholding to get him up and running. Andy reads and studies a lot to stay ahead of the game.

He has bucketloads of common sense and he likes to get to the facts quickly. But it’s time now for him to think ahead and find “the next big thing”. He’s currently earning $150,000+ but it’s time for him to build something that he can “sell on” or possibly looking to build as a family business/pension fund etc. He’s also interested in giving something back.

While all the basics are in place, Andy needs training, systems and support, end-to-end processes, proven operations and a reliable profit model. But he will need help building his operations team and recruitment and that’s why WSE is an attractive option.

Ideal opportunity:

Medium sized franchise operation, medium sized country, 8-12 centres. He’ll be glad to have the support of the Wall Street English franchise team to help to get him up and running. He knows that the model will offer fast results and excellent payback. He also values the proven business model and understands the great potential of this market for offering fast returns. Having said that, he’s in a hurry. A 5-10 year plan and an exit strategy would be just what he needs right now.


Corporate Kevin: Master Franchise Operator

Money is not an issue for me, finding the right opportunity is. I’m looking to sell (or go public) in five years, so I really need to make sure I have the full support of my franchise partner to make this happen. I can really see the potential here for a swift ROI and even a possible exit strategy in a few years.

Kevin’s a bit more experienced than Martin and Andy. He’s built a successful career already (possibly in private equity or something similar). He’s got a business degree from a top management school and is probably based in some sort of global financial hub. He’s in his 40s, married with kids and earning a significant amount of money – a decent 6 figure salary

His mind works differently as well. He thinks in numbers, makes quick decisions based on clear criteria and he’s not overly interested in the detail. It’s the facts he needs.

Kevin already has a portfolio of opportunities and investments and he’s looking for mid-term returns. He knows where he wants to operate and is not held back by international boundaries and his dominant personality has served him well so far – but he’s not satisfied and is looking to advance his career and his wealth.

His brain and personality have got him to where he is, but he’s never had to worry too much about running teams and he has limited operations experience – so far, it’s all been about investment and strategy. Kevin is used to working with investors (after all, that’s where much of his money came from). However, this is new territory for him and he needs detailed reassurance, a clear development plan, standard operations and procedures.

He knows that with some initial support (particularly with recruitment and business set up) he could possibly go public in 5-8 years or sell on. And while he recognises that his experience in this area is limited and he carries a higher risk than the others due to his entry into brand new territories, he thinks that his skills as a great negotiator and a strategic investor will pay off with high returns.

He’s looking for a scalable opportunity with clear returns, proven business opportunities, a simple operational model and evidence that this model will deliver high return in the timescale that he requires.

He wants all this but he’s also looking for something socially responsible, so a language school fits his requirements well.

Ideal opportunity:

large country Master Franchise (15+ centres), He’s glad that Wall Street English has a proven financial model and can show substantial business returns. He’s also grateful that we can map out a development plan for his new business and demonstrate clear standard operating procedures and business structures. He knows that Wall Street English will support him in team recruitment and general business set up. This might be just what he needs to advance his career, add to his wealth and get great mid-term returns. All of this with minimum risk.

For more information about  Franchising see our What You Need To Know page and download our brochure. Alternatively get in contact.


Further information:

Lex Baker, Franchise Management and Development Director, Wall Street English



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Lex Baker

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Lex Baker is the development director at Wall Street English.