You might refer to it as camp or education but if your child enjoys working with technology, they will most likely just call it fun. Bits, Bytes, & Bots provides “FUNdamental Technology Educationâ„¢” for children that want to have fun while learning.
Tom Marx, the founder and CEO, had sent his own son off to computer camp and when it was all over, he was very disappointed in how it was run. By putting together his interests in education and software development, Tom was able to create a fun educational camp experience for children and a licensing business opportunity at the same time.
We recently had the chance to learn some more about Bits, Bytes & Bots and their business opportunity straight from the CEO himself, Tom.
Tell us a little about Bits, Bytes & Bots.
Bits, Bytes & Bots has been providing FUNdamental Technology Educationâ„¢ classes, birthday parties and summer camps in LegoÂ® Robotics, Game Creation and Animation since 2002. Kids love technology and technology provides an unparalleled opportunity to teach logic, creative problem solving, math and other concepts. Schools can rarely provide the kind of exciting activities that we bring to children. Kids, parents and teachers all love what we do and we provide a valuable service to the community. Plus, it is a lot of fun to teach.
What inspired this business opportunity?
I was a software developer for about a decade but my background was in education and I wanted to bring the two fields together. My son had taken a computer camp that I was disappointed in and I felt that I could do better. The rest, as they say, is history.
A number of things separate us from the competition. One of the main differences is that we teach. Many computer education programs have kids learn the material from a computer-based tutorial. We have teachers conducting a class together. This means our classes create coherence and enable friendships to form because everyone is working on the same thing.
Another aspect that separates us is that we are an inexpensive license opportunity with no royalties. This makes it much easier for licensees to make a profit. I’m not sure prospective franchisee owners realize how much more they need to earn to pay a 7-10% royalty fee on gross sales.
Finally, our curriculum separates us–our classes are fun but challenging. Students learn sophisticated programming structures and concepts like algebra and coordinate systems but they are having fun and can’t wait for the next class. It is exciting to see.
What are some of the features of this business?
Bits, Bytes & Bots licensees have access to a web portal that includes curriculum, marketing materials, training videos and a discussion forum. Licensees and their teachers also have access to our sister site, Tektoma.com, to learn game creation. This site has complete video tutorials walking teachers through our game creation classes.
Licensees work from home, organizing classes, parties and summer camps. Licensees can teach or hire others to teach for them. The opportunity can be part-time or full-time.
Who do you feel will find the most interest in this opportunity?
While anyone interested in children’s education would enjoy this opportunity, it is especially appealing to teachers, stay-at-home parents, and refugees from the computer industry.
What are your requirements?
The license costs $3,000 plus an annual $900 support and renewal fee. Licensees purchase their own equipment. A typical equipment setup for teaching one class at a time would be $7,500-$8,500, less if using a computer lab.
What goals do you hope to accomplish with Bits, Bytes & Bots over the next year? Do you have any long term goals?
Bits, Bytes & Bots continues to develop new and exciting classes for our students. Our goal is to expand our operations at a pace of one to two dozen new units per year.
What are some of the lessons your business has taught you over the years?
One of our most valuable lessons was the difficulty of making a retail storefront successful. Our first 3 years, we operated out of a retail location. We were successful and profitable, but a retail location requires a lot of time, money and staff. Since switching to a home-based business, we have become more profitable, successful and reduced the hours we need to work.
Another lesson is the value of word-of-mouth. We’ve all heard how important it is to have happy customers. In the children’s service industry, it is essential. Parents are rightly reluctant to hand their children over to a new business. You have to earn their trust and that doesn’t occur through advertising. It happens from happy parents telling other parents about their experience.
What advice would you give to someone that is considering this opportunity?
Do your research. See what other children’s technology businesses are in your area. Research summer camp offerings and how they advertise. How much do after school programs charge? Are there a lot of programs in your area, or not so many?
When investigating other business opportunities, see how much support they offer, how much they charge, whether they charge a royalty. Will you be able to make a profit with the cost of the license or franchise fee, the equipment costs and a royalty fee? We strive to keep our licensee’s costs low to make turning a profit easier.
Examine your own needs and expectations. Do you want to teach? How much time do you want to put into the business? Do you want the flexibility of business opportunity or the rigidity of a franchise? Do you want to be tied to a storefront’s hours and lease or do you want a home-based opportunity? Do you want to do something that is intellectually challenging? Do you enjoy working with children and are you good with people?
Depending on how you answer these questions, we recommend a visit to www.runcomputercamps.com to learn more about owning your own Bits, Bytes & Bots Computer AdventuresÂ® business.
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