When the UK went into a third national lockdown on 6th January, business owners around the country leapt into action, reinstating pivoted business models that meant customers could still access their product or service.
When the UK went into a third national lockdown on 6th January, business owners around the country leapt into action, reinstating pivoted business models that meant customers could still access their product or service. Kids coding franchise Code Ninjas was no exception. In 2020, Justin Nihiser, CEO, and his support team curated a whole host of additional online resources that students aged five-14 could take advantage of whilst locations were temporarily closed. By maintaining and updating these resources on a frequent basis, the entire network was able to pick up where they left off following the end of the November lockdown, signing their students up to online programmes within hours of the announcement. Here, Justin talks about the benefits of maximising online resources to maintain your franchise.
For our generation, the fight in fight or flight responses has never been more necessary in business than it has over the last 11 months. Early on in the initial lockdown last March, everyone, from retailers to restauranteurs, found themselves frantically pulling together new ways of doing business, whether that meant improving existing e-commerce stores - or, in some cases, starting them from scratch - or switching to takeaway and delivery menus. As a kids coding provider, it was a no-brainer for us to follow suit and convert as much of our programme as possible to an online variant.
But, as part of the reputation that comes with being the world's largest and fastest-growing kids coding franchise, we had a responsibility to ensure what we were offering our students was up to the stellar standard we provide in our physical locations. The first step was for our in-house education team to devise a new online programme, which would still deliver our training in the fun and engaging way the curriculum is usually delivered by our coding instructors, our Code SenseisTM. We also needed to make sure that the online offering aligned with our core value of equipping our students - we call them ninjas - with team building and communication skills. But how do you manage that when ninjas are taking part in sessions remotely?
First and foremost, ensure you utilise all digital tools available to you, including social media, whether that’s in terms of keeping in touch with your own clients or customers, or by ensuring your network are doing that for themselves. By encouraging our franchisees to make the most of their online communities, through Facebook, Instagram and, where possible, YouTube, ninjas can stay in touch with their friends and peers, comparing notes on how they’re finding the digital sessions and how staying online with Code Ninjas has benefited their standard schooling.
Once again, now that the UK is back in a national lockdown, this crucial resource is maintaining the growth of our brand. Having access to a full portal of online resources and activities means our franchisees can get on with the task in hand - growing their businesses. Unfortunately, due to the restrictions, our franchisees have had to delay the opening of their locations. But with demand high, many are already almost full to capacity in terms of student numbers. So, our online offering appeases any parents wanting to enrol their child now and gives their child time to fully immerse themselves in the Code Ninjas way of life before being able to meet at their local location.
For both professional and personal reasons, on an almost daily basis, I find myself thanking my lucky stars that we are able to utilise video calls, online shopping and film streaming during a pandemic such as this. As the CEO of an international brand built on the fundamentals of digital technology, it may seem a given that we were able to provide our ninjas with a remote solution. But it is only down to the prowess and proactive nature of the specialists within my team - and, let’s not forget, the flexibility and positivity of our network - that this online offering has been as successful as it has. I’m sure there will be many lessons to learn from this period of uncertainty, but I do feel as though Code Ninjas has come out fighting.