business practices at winbe start with selling the franchise. to join a typical franchise you need demonstrated
expertise in the field and money in the bank. most companies will open talks with you if you have 10 years' experience and
one million dollars in reserve above the cost of the franchise. not at winbe. most franchise owners at winbe have never attended
an eikaiwa school, let alone managed one. instances of the owner running out of money and having to cut the teacher's pay,
close the school, or go heavily into debt testify to the fact that there is no capital requirement at tact. most companies
selling franchises will recruit an owner for a predetermined location. this location has been selected for its suitability
for the type of business, subjected to market research and guaranteed to succeed given a strong commitment by the manager.
not at winbe. owners choose their own locations that may be thirty minutes' drive from a station, in the same building as
a rival company, or even in the owner's living room. you'd assume that owners interested in running an english school would
either speak or have an interest in speaking english. not at winbe. many owners have professed complete antipathy to both
english and the teaching of it. is it any wonder then that their school does not succeed? it is no surprise that tact finds
itself in the top ten list of franchises sold in japan, but in the bottom ten of returns from existing franchises. tact franchises
are amongst the cheapest to buy, and amongst the least successful in the country.
one of the main contributors to this lack of success is the poor choice of location. there is no market
research carried out before a school opens. it is decided on the whim of a head office member or a franchise owner. while
it is not impossible for a school to succeed in a low visibility area, it requires great luck or concerted effort. it especially
requires strong advertising to counter the low street presence. owners are told that "there is an eikaiwa boom at the moment,
open a school anywhere and it will succeed". anyone with experience in the industry knows this is not true, but owners with
no knowledge of english schools in japan believe the sales pitch. when the school has only thirty students after a year or
two, the owner realises that he is barely covering the teacher's salary, and that his prospects of making money are close
to zero. this is usually when problems start. the owner blames the teacher. gradually the teacher begins to look worse and
worse in his eyes. complaints get filed. it's only a matter of time before a new teacher is ordered from the winbe factory.
if you are a new winbe teacher, the number of students will have a direct bearing on your ability to complete your contract.
a location near a station will cost at least 200,000 yen in rent. the minimum salary is 250,000 yen.
overheads will be 20,000 yen on average. advertising will cost about 30,000 per month. at a very conservative estimate, it
will cost 500,000 yen per month to run a winbe school. what does a franchise owner want to earn in salary? let's say the same
as a teacher, 250,000 yen to cover rent at home and living expenses. that brings the costs to 750,000 yen per month, before
the school is making a profit. if your school has one hundred kids, the owner is still taking home less money than you. you
might wonder how many schools have one hundred kids. none. not one single school. this means each teacher takes on responsibility
for the business whether they like it or not. each time you get paid, your owner goes without. don't mention going to
disneyland on the weekend, because your owner's daughter just lost her ability to go to university.
winbe is crippled by in fighting. winbe head office staff are puppets of the president. they make no
decisions themselves, they instigate plans from above. often those plans are so vague that everything ends in inertia. with
no ability to create, the powers that be at winbe are left with nothing but the option to destroy. at any one time at winbe,
there is at least one plan to bully a fellow worker out. it is a running joke in the company of "who's next
at winbe" because the hit list is not fiction, it's a reality. recently, each head of winbe has arrived with a big comfort
zone and displayed the huge arrogance that comes with having seen the hit list and not being on it. over time, their
arrogance dissipates as they realise someone has recently pencilled their name in, and it is only a matter of time before
they become the target. this has reduced grown men to tears and violence. sadly, they fail to connect the dots initially,
and end up victims of the same system they enthusiastically espoused.
tact needs to change the way it recruits franchise owners. it needs to change the way it selects
school locations. it needs to find a way to allow winbe franchise owners a livable salary. it needs to stop searching
for enemies within its ranks, and turn its hitherto blinkered eyes to its true rivals: the other eikaiwa companies in japan.
until this happens, winbe will be permanently in the red.