Franchise Spotlight: Sign Language Baby Franchise

A baby franchise born of a mother's interactions with her pre-verbal offspring could represent the Holy Grail for many entrepreneurial mothers.

A baby franchise born of a mother's interactions with her pre-verbal offspring could represent the Holy Grail for many entrepreneurial mothers.

Not only are they afforded the flexibility to successfully dovetail running a business with looking after their children, but they can actually aid the development of their children through the business.

Following founder Katie Mayne's appearance on ITV breakfast show This Morning, interest in Tiny Talk's baby signing classes exploded and the business took off, even expanding into Australia and New Zealand.

The Tiny Talk websites describes an ideal franchisee:

"If you are lively, enthusiastic, can sing, have an interest in baby signing (you need experience by the time you start your classes), and are organised, self-confident and want a job with flexible hours which fits in with family life and term time, then call the Tiny Talk office on 01483 301444" or visit the website.

Katie tells the FranchiseSalesBlog about starting Tiny Talk and Tiny Sign (the Antipodean incarnation of the business) and the mutually supportive nature of her franchise network.

FranchiseSalesBlog: What made you franchise the business?

Katie Mayne: I had two months to work it all out. To ensure consistency of standard I decided franchising was the way.

So how did you feel about going on This Morning?

My response was ‘woo'! I was 20 weeks pregnant with my second child, although I thought this was a golden opportunity.

We did really ‘umm and arr' about it. I knew that if I went on television this would be a rollercoaster - and that is precisely what happened.

So how did it go?

I contacted a business advisor who was a specialist in franchising, so when we went on TV in February 2003, I knew it all. We had an eight-minute slot and I did a tiny plug saying I was looking for other teachers across the UK.

We were their highest rating for the show. The switchboard was flooded.

People were asking "how do I become a teacher?" and "have you got a pack?" From that one show we had hundreds of enquiries.

How have you managed to combine running this business with motherhood?

I have always had lots of energy, and I've been lucky.

I do a job that I'm passionate about. I think it's good to have something that you believe in and which really excites you.

How well does the franchise network work together?

Running a franchise is about teamwork. If one person is letting us down then it's really bad for our reputation.

Even though we have territories next door to each other, the reality is that mums don't want to travel very far; they want something on their doorsteps on a weekly, regular basis. We don't work against each other; we work to complement each other.

It's about strength in numbers.

I now have such an amazing team working for me; they all feel passionate about it. I am very, very careful who I have as teachers.