October 2013 - Language For Fun Franchise: Language Learning Goes Large
Language For Fun Franchise: Language Learning Goes Large
How do you turn a good idea in to a viable business? Jessica Bonnard shares how she went from teaching a couple of classes in Newcastle to creating a national network of language classes for adults.
How did you start?
I used to teach children in local primary schools and adults at Newcastle College. I’d thought about creating fun classes for adults, but didn’t have time to start a business. Then a few people asked me for lessons, so I started teaching two ‘fun’ lessons a week. I experimented with what got my learners talking and made them feel relaxed. Speaking a foreign language can
be embarrassing, so I used different techniques to build confidence, mixing activities that kids loved with formal teaching techniques. I also organised opportunities for learners to socialise, with free social events that often included a glass of wine and two years later I had 60 learners and I decided to expand.
How are you doing today?
5 years on, I’ve written four books and 120 lessons in French, had them translated in to Spanish and refined a teaching
method that really gets learners talking! I’ve helped three licensees set up classes in Alsager, Biddulph,
Newcastle, Loggerheads and Stone where we teach over 100 learners and created eight other language schools throughout the UK. I still teach myself and at the moment I have about 60 learners.
How did you grow?
I sold licences to fluent French and Spanish speakers. I gave them everything to set up a business; materials, method, marketing and mentoring. Some are adult education teachers and some are native speakers who I’ve trained to teach. For several licensees, Language for Fun is now their main source of income and I’m aiming to have 50 by 2015!