Bach to Rock Franchisees Represent a New Trend Among Gen-Xers
Posted on: January 28, 2020
Embracing Change and Becoming Entrepreneurs in Second Careers
Meet Andrew and Jennifer Flickner – owners/directors of Bach to Rock Carmel, Indiana
- Bach to Rock, Carmel has been open since August 2018
- The school has exceeded target by 30 percent in one year
- A second location is in development
- Approximately 425 students are enrolled, with the most popular class being piano, followed by guitar and voice
Analytics, Family, Relationships and Faith
Married for 29 years, four children, and two successful careers. The Flickners led a busy and rich life before changing careers and deciding to open their own B2R school in August 2018. But what led them to B2R and how have they become so successful?
Andy, an engineer in his former professional life, is a musician at heart. Presently, he and his oldest son, Stephen are in a duo that performs locally. Andy began playing piano and guitar at age eight, and his love of music continued into his adult life. However, Andy’s interests shifted as he advanced into college and beyond. His knack for analytics and managing details surfaced and ultimately led him to a successful 25-year career in R & D engineering and management. Yet Andy’s passion for music never waned and he played part-time in bands and did solo gigs in the Indianapolis area. In early 2017, he felt a change in the wind with his employer at the time, and he began to think about alternative career paths. Music was in his heart and soul. Some internet searching started, and he found Bach to Rock. He was convinced it was his future.
Jennifer started her career as an elementary school teacher and later continued as an educator/event planner at a local high school. In between, Jen took a break from full-time teaching to pursue an even more important full-time job, raising her and Andy’s four kids. Jen’s strong foundation in education, her innate ability to multi-task and her management skills were key factors in the couple’s decision to open a B2R school.
Together, Andy and Jen knew they had perfect complementary traits and strengths, and the utmost faith in each other to embark on this new chapter. Jen often remarks that Andy is very thorough and analytical researching important decisions and Andy notes that Jen brings great “warmth, joy and structure to our school.” Their entire family is involved with the school, loves it and it has brought them closer than ever. For more bio details, click here https://carmel.b2rmusic.com/staff
But how have they become so successful in just one year? The Flickners attribute their success to hard work, persistence, sticking to the franchise development plan, tackling issues head on and finding resolutions in a positive way. They also put great faith in relationships. At the top is their relationship with each other (and their children), followed by their connection with the B2R corporate team, their staff and importantly, the rapport they’ve cultivated with their customers. Their school reflects their personalities – warm, welcoming, positive, passionate, knowledgeable and full of talent.
Andy and Jen knew they had the resolve to launch the business yet recognized that it was critical to rely on the expertise of the B2R corporate team to get it off the ground. B2R corporate came out for site inspections, held weekly meetings and provided support and recommendations every step of the way. Following the franchise development plan was essential. B2R also has a tremendous curriculum and methodology for teaching music. “Bach to Rock makes learning fun. We meet students where they are in their interests and nurture them along the way,” says Andy. And he makes it a goal to meet every student at their first trial. He can engage them where they are musically and show them the possibilities. Students get an outstanding foundation in music theory while learning current songs along the way.
Looking ahead, the couple has big plans. They plan to continue to give high quality, person lessons and to also continue to grow the Rock Band Program. In Rock Bands, students form bands and have an opportunity to perform out in their community! “We know this is becoming a cornerstone of the school. It just takes students to another level,” says Andy. And, there is a second B2R location already in the works. Look out Indianapolis, the Flickners and B2R are poised to rock on even more with their love of music and education!
Keys to Success from Andy and Jen for Prospective Franchisees:
- Choose an Ideal Location: “Choosing a school location is the most important single decision a potential franchisee can make,” says Andy. Andy and Jen note that this huge task requires a lot of diligence and patience. And that it’s critical to find a location with the demographics to support your school’s financial business goals. “Take full advantage of the expertise of the B2R corporate staff to help you make an informed decision.” They chose a location that is well positioned in the community with family income levels that indicate the ability to support childhood enrichment programs. Brian Gross, B2R president and Ralph Rillon, VP of franchise development did site visits with the Flickners and provided the analytics to help make an educated decision.
- Follow the System: Leveraging the experiences and knowledge of the B2R corporate team has been a critical part of their success. Andy and Jen realize the value of the time-tested methods that are working at other successful B2R schools. And they stick to the plan. “In the beginning we had weekly calls with the corporate team, and they led us through each stage of the process in detail and offered their expertise on how to be the most productive at each turn. We choose to believe our successes are tied together,” says Andy.
- Be Passionate: As owners/operators, they are very passionate about their B2R school. “We do whatever it takes on a day-to-day basis,” says Jennifer. And the duo has had that dedication from the start. From researching potential sites to hosting/performing at local events, to teaching classes, answering the phones, and managing the daily operations, the couple has made a full-time commitment to their business, each other, their staff and their students/families.
- Foster Positive Relationships: “It’s really important to realize that this is a relational business, not transactional,” says Andy. The couple prides themselves in the culture they’ve created. Their school is warm and welcoming; they often hear parents say they look forward to hanging out and visiting while their kids are in class. “Most importantly, we listen to the needs of the parents (mostly moms), and their children. We want them to feel at home and relaxed here, and know we have their best interests in mind,” says Andy. “Plus, we’ve raised four children – we understand how tough it is to juggle schedules, and how challenging parenting is,” Jen adds. Their school reflects their personalities – warm, welcoming, smart, passionate and talented. “It’s a fun, happy place to be,” says Jen.
- Hire the Ideal Team Members: In the beginning, it was just Jen, Andy and their children. And it was hard work, all-consuming – but rewarding. Hiring talented and dynamic teachers came next. Andy and Jen have found a team of music education pros that perfectly complements their business model and brings energy, excitement and fun to the school. “First, we were exhilarated, then we were exhausted,” Andy says jokingly. “Once we achieved a certain level, we hired an assistant director and that has allowed Jen and me to refocus our efforts on the future.”
- About Boosting Enrollment: The Flickners follow the B2R system. You’ll see B2R Carmel out in the community – at events, festivals, schools and civic groups. “The key is listening to the kids and their moms. We learn their specific needs, and keep the discussion tailored. And we ask questions,” says Andy. Plus, the B2R Carmel team shows prospective students how easy it is to learn and lets them play too – they make learning fun. “And most importantly, we invite folks in for a tour. The school itself is awesome. That’s where the magic happens,” says Jen. But they note that it takes creativity first. Their school is right across the street from a popular ice cream stand. When the school was about one month from opening, Andy and his son Stephen performed in front of the school. While folks were in line, they were entertained by the duo and learned all about the cool new music school opening!
- Manage Expectations: The Flickners set high financial goals for their first year. And they did better than everyone expected. Again, they credit the B2R corporate team for helping them keep their goals realistic (yet achievable) by following the system. “We worked closely with the corporate team and they did a great job preparing us every step of the way,” says the couple.
- Face Challenges Head-On: Andy and Jen didn’t hit many road bumps on the road to opening their school. However, no undertaking this big goes 100% without incident. So, when they needed to renegotiate details or hire staff, they met challenges directly and with a combination of analytics and faith, they say. With Andy’s engineering background and his musical talent, and Jen’s hands-on, friendly managerial style, together they tackled issues and continued moving forward.