Faieka Abrahams - Franchisee Profile

Category: General
Aug 20, 2013

Faieka and Faisal Abrahams arrived in New Zealand from their native Cape Town, South Africa in 2004. They invested in a sKids franchise soon after Faieka had served at sKids head office in an HR role.

Faisal helps “behind the scenes” when his full-time work in the auto-electrical industry allows. Their daughters, Bilqees (18) and Munawwar (13), also help out.

“It’s good to have children of your own in this service. It keeps you grounded,” said Faieka.

1. How did you first hear about sKids?

My children’s primary school had a sKids programme - that’s how I first got introduced to sKids and the concept.

2. What circumstances led to your decision to invest in a franchise?

My family and I relocated to New Zealand nearly nine years ago.

Emigrating with a young family and having to start life again, is a challenge.

I found permanent employment so we could start our new life. However, this was not quite the type of work I was seeking.

Owning my own business had always been a desire.

When I found out about sKids at my children’s primary school, I investigated the franchise model and found that there were so many systems in place already.

3. How did the first three months in business unfold?

The first three months were exciting and scary all at the same time.  There were a lot of policies and procedures and business protocols I had to get my head around.  I found the franchisor a fantastic support in this start-up period.  They were there all the way and helped to steer me in the right direction!  It was exciting to get to know new people in the communities we served - to find out their various needs and to offer a service that made a difference to them.  It was hugely challenging as I was still working full-time whilst trying to run the business at the same time.

4. What has happened since?

So much has happened since then! It’s been an absolutely fantastic experience along the way!  Lots of challenges, but that is what happens when you’re growing.  I purchased a further two franchises in 2008 and 2010 and subsequent to that have become a Master Franchisee, purchasing two areas, Epsom and Tamaki.

The company’s gone through fantastic growth in child numbers, financial growth.  We’ve also seen fantastic staff retention rates due to various factors within the business, which helps with stability of the programmes on site.

We've won numerous awards:

2012/ 2013 - Westpac Franchisee of the Year for the Lifestyle Services Category

2011/ 2012 – Westpac Highly Commended Finalist

2012 - sKids Excellent Employer of the Year 2012

2009 - Excellence in Multi-Site Owners

2009 - Community Award

I’ve also been asked to talk at a recent Franchise Association of New Zealand Conference about my experiences of the Westpac Awards and the benefits to the business with entering awards.  Proof that what we’ve done has been noticed by key people!

5. What are the numbers of children you look after each morning, evening and in the holidays?

We care for a total of 115 children a day across all our sites for before and after school care. During school holidays we care for between 100 and 120 children per day.

6. How many staff do you have?

I employ 25 staff, 12 of which are permanent staff and the remainder casual on-call relieving staff.

7. What do you think the next five years holds for you?

Exciting stuff!  The next 5 years will see me bringing new schools on board in the Epsom and Tamaki areas. I will be able to match these schools to successful franchisees for the benefit of those school communities. Furthermore, I would support the franchisees to grow their business and make it a success.

8. What do you like most about this business?

I love the fact that our service makes a difference to so many children’s lives.  I believe we help shape their lives and help them flourish as individuals.  We give them experiences they take with them forever.  We also support working and studying families to help offer them a better quality of life.

9. What is your biggest challenge in the business?

Staffing and cashflow.

Staffing: because we can offer most staff part time hours only, but as the business has grown over the years, I have been fortunate enough to be able to offer key staff additional hours, with many staff working 30 hours per week.

Cashflow: as the business has grown, I've had to keep a closer eye on cashflow.  Forecasting and budgeting have become more and more important to ensure we are able to operate successfully.

10. What do you think you have learned that has surprised you?

My biggest surprise was how fast I grew personally as the business grew.  I now feel I am a confident business owner.  It's also surprised me just how many other business owners have asked me for advice, within the sKids franchise and from other networks.



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