Greg Helwig - President of Kiddie Academy
Greg joined Kiddie Academy in October, 2008. He provides overall strategic leadership for the entire company, while maintaining direct supervision of the Franchise Sales, Real Estate, Construction and Marketing departments. Greg received a BA degree from Kean University and attended Fairleigh Dickenson University’s Graduate School of Business. Greg has over 25 years of executive-level franchise industry experience.
- Tell us about the Kiddie Academy concept.
- How and when did you become involved withKiddie Academy?
- What was your background prior to joining Kiddie Academy?
- What are some of the advantages in being a Kiddie Academy franchisee?
- Who is your ideal franchisee?
- Tell us a little about the Childcare Market?
- What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?
- Do you have a mentor and is their someone you use for inspiration?
- What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?
- In your opinion, why do you think that Kiddie Academy would be a great opportunity for someone?
Founded in 1981, Kiddie Academy® has grown from a single academy to an industry leader, with over 100 locations across the United States. Our long-term strategy is focused on building our brand presence through the consistent application of our proven business model. By continuously strengthening and growing local and regional brand awareness, we support ongoing progress and growth for our franchisees. We work closely with each of our franchisees to promote best-in-class Customer Service, providing the tools and guidance they need to run their businesses efficiently, and consistently deliver a superior level of care to the families they serve. At the core of the Kiddie Academy philosophy is our passion for educating the whole child. Kiddie Academy continuously leads the industry in meeting and exceeding the highest standards of early childhood education with our proprietary Life Essentials® program.
I joined Kiddie Academy in October 2008. I had been familiar with the Company for several years prior and became more informed (and interested ) as a result of a business meeting, where I was introduced to the CEO. A business relationship was formed and we remained in contact with each other and frequently discussed employment opportunities. We ultimately agreed on a mutually advantageous time for me to transition over to Kiddie Academy.
For eight years prior to Kiddie Academy, I was Vice President of Franchise System Development for an international franchisor of tutoring programs. Prior to that, I spent twenty years at the management / executive level with a national optical retail company, overseeing various functions, including corporate / franchise operations and sales.
We offer our franchisees a number of advantages, including a well-recognized and respected brand, outstanding support, and a comprehensive business model. As our franchisees start their businesses, we assist with finding real estate (leased or owned), managing the construction or retrofit, training and hiring, pre-opening marketing, and preparing for the opening. Once your Kiddie Academy doors open, your assigned Franchise Business Consultant will guide you through ongoing initiatives in financial management, marketing, education and operations. We keep you a step ahead of the competition with consistent training on our industry-leading, proprietary Life Essentials® system, including best practices in education, character development, technology, and health and fitness.
The commonality among successful franchisees is a keen understanding of the intricacies of a service business. The families who attend Kiddie Academy, place their trust with us. These customers seek a high degree of quality and want to ensure that their child is getting the best care possible. As a result, our franchisees quite often develop strong relationships with their customers, which last for years. I might add that a vast majority of our franchisees have families of their own and have experienced some type of childcare with their kids – they understand what their customers’ expectations are and strive to surpass them. We provide the franchisees with the tools to achieve that level and quality of service.
The childcare industry is relatively recession resistant – working parents need child care and many families have decided to buffer their financial situation by having both parents in the workplace. As a result, the demand for quality child care consistently outpaces the supply. At the same time, families are placing a higher premium on school readiness for their child, which has created a shift in the market toward center-based child care.
Developing a strong, working relationship with our franchisees continues to be a competitive advantage of ours. We recognize that Kiddie Academy needs to understand what is happening in the marketplace, especially with the changing needs of families that attending our learning centers. Our team engages with our community of franchisees to learn how we can provide better services and distinguish ourselves from the competition. In addition, we pride ourselves on developing industry leading programs/partnerships, which further differentiate Kiddie Academy from the competition.
My inspiration comes from the work we (at Kiddie Academy) do every day. There is nothing more noble than educating children. By providing strategic leadership and guidance, we provide our franchisees with the tools and support they need to change the lives of the children and families they serve. I’m proud to be part of that equation.
The best franchise opportunity is one that meets your personal, career and financial goals. When vetting opportunities, I recommend looking for sustainable industries that have a demonstrated opportunity for growth—both within your initial business and in the form of multi-unit development and additional revenue streams. It is also important to meet the management team and be able to evaluate their expertise and commitment to the business. Other things to look for are brand equity, ongoing support, easy to understand fee structure, and assistance with an exit strategy—if and when the day comes that you want to sell your business.
Kiddie Academy continues to do a fantastic job of supporting our franchisees, recognizing that their success is instrumental in achieving our growth strategy. The organization is also at an advantage because of the continued, growing demand for high quality child care, and Kiddie Academy’s leadership in educational child care is one of the strengths of our business. The company continues to invest in the ongoing development of our proprietary Life Essentials® curriculum and methodologies, which truly sets Kiddie Academy apart from the competition.