This #FranchiseFeatureFriday we are highlighting Lollipop’s Playland franchisee Zeina Hakim. Zeina and her husband have been franchise owners for over 2.5 years. When they initially decided to buy a business they knew straight away that a Lollipop’s Playland was the franchise for them, and never looked back! Fast forward a little under 3 years later and now Zeina and her partner are running the very successful Bundoora Lollipops Playland location. Keep reading for more insights into Zeina’s franchising journey!
Q: What type of training and support did you receive from your franchisors along the way?
A: The operational side of the business training was conducted at the head office site. The franchisors played a massive part in the setup of the business in terms of play equipment and design, including all of the ordering for the play frames. They were there when all of the containers arrived on site, and helped in supervising the entire project. We had the franchisors support throughout the entire journey, from negotiating the lease, council permits, tradesmen, merchandise, software, signage, to interviewing potential new staff members, the list goes on. During our opening week the franchisors were at our site from open to close, and since then have only been a phone call away!
Q: How did opening your first unit go?
A: Opening our first store was a bit nerve-wracking, but we managed to pull it off, and everything went well. In order to transition smoothly we were advised to have a family and friends day prior to opening our doors to the public, which was extremely helpful advice.
Q:What advice would you have for franchisees looking to buy a business in the near future?
A: There are many things to factor in when looking to buy or more importantly open a new business.
Location is very important. The closer to your home, the better.
Rent, must be affordable and realistic.
Competition, you need to know the scope of your competition. Know who and what you are competing against, and visit your competitors so you know exactly where and how you can improve your franchise site. Confidence in yourself is a must!
Family, is important, so try to plan opening a business around the right time for your family. Taking on a 7 day a week franchise requires dedication of at least one year of your life to getting the business up and successfully running. Remember, no employee or manager will run YOUR business better than you.
Q: Has the business met your lifestyle and income expectations?
A: Our income expectations were met pretty quickly. Lifestyle expectations took a little longer because the business was growing rapidly, and we felt as though we needed to be hands on in order to continue the success trajectory. Now, our lifestyle has taken the lead while the business continues to run just as successfully.
Q: Are your personal working hours more, less, or about what you expected?
A: At the beginning of opening our business, hours were exactly what I expected, LONG. 9am-7pm seven days a week, not including private events and functions that could finish between 9 -10 pm. Gradually, the hours started to get better, and after two years they are actually less than i expected!
Lollipops was founded in 1993 and since has expanded to a multi-national franchise with locations extending over Australia, New Zealand, and Asia. While the business itself has grown, the initial goal has remained the same- to provide a safe space where children can safely play in a creative environment, and parents can relax and have peace of mind. Want to know more about franchising opportunities with Lollipops Playcentre? Take a look at our website! Come for a party, come for a play!