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No man is an island

Written by David Graham on Monday, 06 January 2020. Posted in Franchise Diaries

There’s a reason the phrase ‘no man is an island’ has stuck around for close to 400 years.

No man is an island

David Graham, CEO and co-founder of Code Ninjas, has a long track record of establishing technology start-ups. Before launching the international kids coding franchise in 2016, he started Coder Camps, a program which teaches adults to be successful software developers. He’s the first to admit that much of his success comes from playing to his strengths and utilising the support of experts for everything else. And he’s proud to share that insight with his 295 franchisees around the world.

There’s a reason the phrase ‘no man is an island’ has stuck around for close to 400 years. It encapsulates a person’s need for support and community to be able to thrive, in both a professional and personal capacity. As a programmer and entrepreneur for over 20 years, I’ve learned that collaborating with others leads to great things. And whilst I might have got there on my own eventually, learning from other experts whilst working alongside them has made me a better leader. And I’d like to think I’ve helped one or two people along the way, too.

This mutual transaction of knowledge is one of the best tools at an entrepreneur’s disposal. I’m a huge advocate for playing to your strengths and outsourcing talent for the bits in-between. Asking for help isn’t a weakness – it’s a quality that demonstrates the ability to collaborate, share in best practise and learn. Trust me, as a business owner, the learning never stops. If you can honestly say you know everything there is to know about your field, then you’ve likely taken your finger off the pulse – progress never sleeps and there’s always more to do and more to learn to remain at the top.

Though many people do come into business with a specialism – many don’t. A franchise opportunity usually appeals because of the breadth of support and training available from a franchisor. This means that an investor can bring their specific skillset and passions to the table and work with their franchisor team to fill any gaps in knowledge or experience. At Code Ninjas, we understand that it’s unlikely our franchisees will come with the full package of skills needed to operate a successful Code Ninjas franchise, which is why we have a support staff of over 50, specialising in all business disciplines.

I recently travelled to the UK to host a Discovery Day, meeting with prospects in central London to introduce the Code Ninjas franchise model. I didn’t come alone – a few of our team of specialists made the 10,000-mile round trip with me. Aside from the fact that they’re just as invested as I am in our ongoing UK expansion, they were also pleased to support me in presenting the whole franchise package to the UK market.

Now, it goes without saying that my strengths lie in programming, business development and innovation. I’m extremely passionate about what Code Ninjas delivers, in terms of both coding education for kids and business opportunities for prospects. So, I will happily speak openly about our curriculum and business model until the proverbial cows come home. And whilst I know my business, inside and out, I work alongside some of the greatest minds in marketing, franchise support and finance, and their expert opinion counts. I have complete faith in my team to handle their respective specialisms, in line with the Code Ninjas framework. It goes without saying that they stood alongside me on that Discovery Day, greeting prospects and explaining their place in our business.

The thought of anyone struggling alone to operate their business fills me with great sadness. As a franchisee, you should feel safe in the knowledge that you’re not alone. Chances are, you invested in the model for that very reason.  But if you’ve fallen off the grid lately, don’t feel ashamed to ask for help. As a franchisor, I encourage you to utilise your network of contacts by reaching out and asking the question that’s been perplexing you. Sometimes, all that’s needed is a nod in the right direction. It might be the best thing you ever do for your business.

About the Author

David Graham

David Graham

David Graham is the founder and CEO of kid’s coding franchise, Code Ninjas – launched in Houston, Texas, in 2016. Three years on and the former programmer and entrepreneur has taken the business to incredible heights, with an international franchise network and over 125 Code Ninjas centres.

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