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How One Sylvan Franchisee’s Long-term Exit Strategy Positioned The Next Owner For Success

Becky Taylor sold all units to Kelly James, but not all at once. The gradual transition benefitted them both.

By Madeline LenaStaff Writer
SPONSORED 8:08AM 08/14/18

Becky Taylor worked as an educator for more than three decades. Beginning her career in the field of special education, she became a Sylvan Learning franchise owner in 1998. In the two decades since, Taylor grew her franchise footprint, owning and operating multiple learning centers across North Carolina, and throughout her tenure with the leading education brand, served on multiple councils and committees. The success and impact of her efforts in the cities of Washington, Greenville and New Bern, North Carolina made the decision to retire a difficult one, but she was determined to execute the sale of her franchises in a way that was seamless for the community she served for so long and for the Sylvan Learning brand.

Taylor knew that the next person to take ownership of her centers needed to embrace and be passionate about Sylvan’s mission to enrich the foundation laid by classroom education.

Sylvan’s franchise development team had just the person. The Sylvan team contacted Taylor about North Carolina native Kelly James, a speech pathologist with more than two decades of experience who was looking for a change. James felt business ownership would be the ideal next step in the evolution of her career and as she explored options that afforded her the ability to utilize her speech pathology background, she came across Sylvan. “I learned of Becky's centers for sale through an ad online as I did research to buy a speech therapy company. I contacted [franchise development manager] Kristie Kalinowski, we discussed the process and she put me in touch with Becky,” James said.

James said after their initial conversation, both parties knew they had found what they were looking for in one another. Taylor conveyed Sylvan’s commitment to fostering a positive, stimulating environment by personalizing each student’s learning experience, going far beyond simply providing homework assistance and standardized test preparation. “I decided to purchase Becky’s territories because of the reputation that she and Sylvan has in our community, in addition to the quality of business that she developed. She and I discussed the purchase of Greenville and Washington initially, then New Bern territory later the next year,” James said.

Taylor served as a mentor to James, maintaining the center’s income while she was brought up to speed on how to handle the transition. “Becky is a strong leader and successful business woman from whom I felt privileged to follow and learn,” James said. This process helped James get acclimated with the centers and learn best practices before taking on additional locations.  Sylvan’s leadership team was involved every step of the way, providing support and resources to maintain the quality product standards it has fostered since its inception. With more than 750 points of presence, Sylvan provides a wealth of invaluable experience that franchisees are able to draw upon, easing the process substantially.

“Taylor’s gradual retirement and James’ extended onboarding proved to be the ideal long-term exit strategy for all parties, especially Sylvan,” said Georgia Chasen, Sylvan Learning’s VP of Franchise Development. “Sylvan can help our franchisees with the retirement process. We can source prospective candidates drawn to the premium Sylvan brand, and we walk both the buyer and seller through the application process for a successful sale. With Sylvan Learning’s support, both Taylor and James were able to complete a seamless business transaction that was beneficial for both them and the students they serve.”

Start-up fees for Sylvan Learning range from $70,980 to $159,885 with a $24,000 initial franchise fee.  For more information, click here.

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.