Cindy Mae Cua: Franchisee, Entrepreneur

Choosing a Hometown Business to Stay Ahead

After graduating from college, Cindy Mae Cua, 23, took a career route not many of her peers would be willing to take. Instead of applying for a job and trying her luck in Metro Manila, she decided she would rather put up a business in her hometown in Dagupan City.

I wanted to have a career re­lated to my course, BS Business Management,” she said. “I also wanted to stay in Dagupan so that I could be near my family. I would be able to help them and they could help me as well.”

In the beginning, Cindy did not know what kind of business she wanted to start. She stud­ied her area and discovered that the market was saturated with food and clothing establishments. Perhaps by coincidence or by stroke of luck, Cindy re­ceived a call from the sister of Rossana Llenado, the president of Ahead Tutorial and Review Center, and she mentioned that Ahead recently opened its doors to franchising,

Cindy knew about the com­pany since her younger brother enrolled in its College Entrance Test Review and was very sat­isfied with their service.

I thought it was a good idea because out of all the basic needs, I noticed Dagupan lacked services related to education,” she said.

There is actually one tutorial center in the area that can be considered good enough. Having been in the business for a long time, Ahead has estab­lished a proven teaching method.”

In 2005, Cindy applied for a franchise. Thanks to her parents from whom she got her business-mindedness, she was able to raise the capital. She even mentioned that they do not even expect her to return the money they gave her. Aside from raising the capital, there were still other requirements before Cindy could open her business. She had to find a good location for the center, and pass a suitability test.

According to Edgar Corbe, business development officer of Ahead, it was very critical for the company to assess the char­acter of the franchise appli­cants. “We need someone who believes in the noble cause of education, not just the business side of it,” he said. “And because she will be the one to person­ally administer the branch, it is important to see her dedication, commitment and passion,” Corbe added.

Finally, after successfully satisfying all the requirements, on January 2005, Cindy opened the first franchise of Ahead Tutorial and Review Center in Dagupan.

After almost more than a year of operations, this young man­ager learned the challenges and rewards of the business.

One of the challenges was introducing Ahead to the com­munity. In Dagupan, it is not as well-known and the price is a bit higher than that of the other centers in the area. But after some time, we were able to prove that they’re getting their money’s worth, ” she said.

Presently, the center has around 70 to 80 students for tu­torials and 40 to 50 students for review classes.

It’s not easy being a man­ager at this age. There are a lot of responsibilities like handling people and trying to get the best out of them,” Cindy confessed. “I have a total of nine staff and I am at the center from Monday to Sunday. When I have to go to Manila, I make sure I have my cell phone on hand just in case.”

The management of Ahead, Llenado in particular, has expressed satisfaction with the way Cindy and the Dagupan franchise has been performing, “I am very happy with our relationship. She really cares about her students and in maintaining the good name of Ahead,” she said. Unknowingly, Cindy has also become a role model in their community. “I also have parents com­ing to me asking me to help them change not just the grades of their children but also their attitudes.”

But this is only the beginning for Cindy. Even as her new busi­ness is still thriving she is already Iooking at the possibility; of expanding and opening another branch of Ahead in Urdaneta City.

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