Ashish Gandhi and Sapna Chordia became a part of the Sylvan Learning community long before investing in the brand as franchisees. Gandhi’s son, Rohan, was struggling with his reading comprehension skills, so the couple enrolled him at their local Sylvan Learning center to give him extra support. Within months, Gandhi recalled, his son’s comprehension and writing skills improved immensely.
“We learned a lot from the process of evaluating tutors for our son with Sylvan and thought that these lessons were valuable and something we could share with other families,” Gandhi said.
Gandhi was working as an IT executive for a financial institution in addition to maintaining a career as a licensed real estate agent in Virginia when he decided to act upon his dream of small business ownership. He and Chordia opened their Sylvan Learning location in Reston, Virginia, in June 2017 with a goal of giving the students in their community access to the same innovative programs that made a positive impact on their son.
Since making the transition to franchise ownership, Gandhi has found his career background to be incredibly useful in his role as executive director of their Sylvan Learning location. His real estate experience aids in the sales and customer relations aspects of running the center, while his IT background provided useful management experience he is able to leverage in center operations, from financial planning to employee management. Chordia, too, has a background in IT and works as a program manager with the U.S. government when not serving as associate center director. The husband-and-wife duo’s IT experience also shed light on the advanced technology present throughout both the front and back ends of Sylvan’s franchise system.
“From satellite locations that provide more convenience for families—and attract more clients for owners—to innovative STEM curriculum, Sylvan uses technology to strengthen its offering for families and franchisees alike,” Gandhi said. “As the largest provider of supplemental STEM curriculum, more and more students are coming to Sylvan for help beyond just tutoring services. More than a quarter of our incoming calls coming from families interested in our STEM programs alone.”
This added breadth of services has helped Gandhi and Chordia better fulfill the massive consumer demand for supplemental education services in their area.
“Living in Northern Virginia, a stone's throw from Washington, D.C., we have found a huge demand for supplemental education,” Gandhi said. “Students and families are striving for greatness, and overall competition in the schools is very high. Sylvan gives students an opportunity to expand on what they are learning in a school setting to reach greater heights of academic success.”
Being able to provide an environment for students to connect with the material they’re learning or struggling with in school in a dynamic, technology-enabled setting is made possible, Gandhi explained, through Sylvan’s outstanding franchisee support.
“While my background has been of use in owning a Sylvan franchise, the real difference has been made in the support and training we’ve received,” he said. “We have our own dedicated franchise business consultant who provides overall guidance through weekly calls. Our Sylvan marketing consultant has been very helpful as well, aiding with our local marketing efforts to drive effective campaigns. We have access to a support line seven days a week, which is a quick and easy resource for everyday questions and training. We wouldn't have made it this far without them.”
Since opening their center, Gandhi and Chordia have seen countless moments of progress among the students they serve.
“After a student has been enrolled for a bit and their follow-up assessment reveals a 30, 40 or 50 percent jump, that makes us smile and motivates us to keep going,” Gandhi said. “When students are excelling and making such significant progress across the board, it brings satisfaction to the work we do and drives us to get there with all of our students.”
As a testament to the difference they’ve been able to make with the brand, the two are currently finalizing an agreement to open another Sylvan Learning center in the Fairfax, Virginia area.
The success of franchisees like Gandhi and Chordia has played a huge role in who Sylvan is looking to partner with as it expands across the U.S. As former customers of the brand, they’re able to attest to the positive impact of Sylvan’s services while simultaneously drawing upon the skills established by their corporate backgrounds to run their business effectively from the start.