Leena Thakker bought the Musical Minis franchise in February 2009, looking for a solution to enjoy family life as well as having her own business. Leena has two girls aged 7 and 2. “After having Anya 7 years ago, it was not an option for me to go back to my previous employment” Leena commented. Leena worked as an International Business Development Manager and this involved extensive travel. “I decided to set up my own Marketing Consultancy firm, offering marketing and PR to small companies that could not afford a marketing department. This was very successful but the hours were very long and I always had tight deadlines which needed to be met.” After a difficult pregnancy with Alaina, I decided that I did not want to return to consultancy work”.
Leena attended Musical Minis in Bicester with Anya. Anya gained so much out of the Musical Minis programme that when Leena moved to Calvert Green she decided to seek a Musical Minis class to take her youngest daughter to. “We started attending Musical Minis in Adstock and Alaina loved every minute of it. She was quite shy and ‘clingy’ when we first started attending but her confidence has come on in leaps and bounds. Musical Minis has really helped her socially and given a great start to her development. She gets really excited when she puts on her Musical Minis T-Shirt and she loves carrying her Musical Minis book bag.”
When the Oxfordshire franchise came up for sale just after Christmas, Leena made enquiries and was put in touch with Karen Sherr, founder of Musical Minis. “I found Karen very friendly and warm. She was very helpful in answering my questions. After the initial phone call with Karen, my husband and I met up with Karen and Rob. I just got a really good feeling when we met them both. They were very honest and down to earth. Also they put us under no pressure to make a decision quickly, which was great as it was such a big decision. By the end of the meeting I knew I could work with Karen and was 90% sure I would be going ahead. I just needed to get the business plan and financials checked out by my Accountant.”
Leena signed the contract at the annual Musical Minis franchise meeting in February and was able to participate and meet all the other franchisees. “This so far has been the best decision I have made. My feet have not touched the ground since February as I am gearing up to start classes after Easter”.
Leena has undergone training and assessment over the last month. “The business is so well thought through that everything is provided to start the business. It is a very cleverly designed programme for babies and toddlers. I received excellent training and then had my formal assessment, where I had to run a live class. I have been provided with all the instruments, MP3 player, puppets, props, storyboards and all the necessary manuals and training DVD, as well as all the marketing material so I am now raring to start my first lesson”.
“I had thought that I would initially start off with 2-4 classes but didn’t realise how much demand there is for Musical Minis. I have been inundated with emails and phone calls, since I started marketing the classes. A combination of leaflet drops, advertising and mailshots has enabled me to grow the business quite rapidly. I had no idea that the business would take off in such a big way. I am actually going to be starting 6 classes after Easter, working 2 days. As Alaina gets older I can really grow the business and take staff on. I really do have the best of both worlds as I can enjoy my children and will be able to continue doing so as the classes are term time only, and I can still use my marketing expertise and business acumen to grow the business. I think I am fortunate to have finally found the perfect solution, which many women just do not find.”
Leena also describes her typical day as a franchisee and mum. Click here to find out more.