Profiles in Franchise Development: Jennifer Griffard of Little Medical School
Profiles in Franchise Development: Jennifer Griffard of Little Medical School

The STEM-oriented education brand’s chief operating officer on what she loves about franchising.

Little Medical School is a mobile supplemental-education franchise that brings science- and medicine-focused programs to children in after-school programs, summer camps, classrooms and parties. By providing children a fun introduction to medical sciences, the franchise is hoping to encourage the next generation of doctors and scientists to start honing their skills at a young age.

That concept has proved appealing to entrepreneurs in a number of markets, and not just in the U.S. Little Medical School has grown rapidly in just three years of franchising and now offers both domestic and international franchise opportunities. Much of the brand’s appeal for franchisees comes down to its flexible operational model, which allows owners to run the business out of their homes and maintain a low overhead.

Jennifer Griffard, Little Medical School’s chief operating officer, helps oversee the franchise’s development efforts. We talked to Griffard to learn what she loves about franchising and what she’d change about the industry if she could.

When did Little Medical School decide to franchise?

We began franchising just three years ago, in 2015.

What do you love about franchising?

I love learning about each new market as we partner with new franchisees, especially internationally. Each market is different and comes with its own unique strengths and weaknesses, and watching the brand grow and expand to work in each market is exciting. Each individual franchise brings a lot to the LMS family by sharing thoughts and ideas that make them successful. Open communication is key in the franchise business.

Is there anything you wish you could change about the industry?

I would like to be able to share actual figures about our business model and profitability with prospective franchisees on the business model. The FTC has very strict rules about what kind of financial data franchisors, especially young franchisors, are able to share, and I see the value in that. But for franchisors who are not making false claims, it would be great to be able to be more transparent about our success and help candidates better understand our systems. The true value of the franchise system is that a franchisee does not have to reinvent the wheel. The more we can share with prospective franchisees about our system up front, the better.

What’s the biggest change you’ve noticed in franchising since you started?

One of the biggest changes was implemented by the Financial Accounting Standards Board in 2018. The change affects the way we record revenue every year. The economy has definitely changed over the past few years and we have worked diligently to ensure we are changing with it and encouraging more people to own their own business. We are still a young franchise business and are learning new things every day, but we enjoy the challenges and look forward to adding more franchisees.

What makes a great franchisee?

Qualities that we look for in a franchisee are a great personality, the ability to multitask, sales experience, business experience, a genuine love of working with children, and a willingness to grow the business. Some medical knowledge is great, but not required. We also look for franchisees who are willing to run their business full time.

What’s the number-one thing that sells franchises?

The concept and brand sell the franchise first. If a potential franchisee doesn't love your concept or brand right away, they will move on to the next franchise that sparks their interest. I also think the cost of the franchise is another great selling point