Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Dora Barton Runs her Business to Become Part of the Community, with Kumon...

Dora Barton has returned to Liverpool, and she is bringing with her, a new business for Aigburth – Kumon. 

Kumon (if you haven’t heard of it) is a supplementary Maths and English franchise programme which is for children of all ages and abilities. It uses Maths and English as a tool to develop independence and study skills, so that they can self-learn. And Dora Barton is bringing it to Aigburth by setting up a new centre, so far the response has been fantastic.

Dora worked at the Crosby Kumon Centre when she was a teenager and in 2005 left Liverpool to complete a Bachelors and Masters in Forensic Science. Following this she worked for Aviva Private Medical Insurance and Calor Gas but always felt; ‘I was never fully pushed at previous jobs and I believed I was capable of achieving a lot more in life.’

When she returned to Liverpool with her husband in the summer of 2014 she began to think more and more about pursuing Kumon as a business, ‘Having worked for Kumon previously I always wanted to run my own business. I enjoyed working with the children and families who attended the Crosby Kumon Centre and the challenge of setting up a business was very appealing. I wanted to stretch myself and create a new lifestyle for me and my husband.’ 

Dora and her husband named 2015 ‘the year of change’ as they moved houses, moved cities, and left and started new jobs all within a few months of each other.

To make the next move Dora began to research Kumon and how to go about setting up her own centre by going to an Open Day in Leeds last May. She was then invited to an interview and training in London over the Summer. ‘The training in London was quite a commitment, and if even you’re invited there you’re not necessarily through to having your own centre. It was great, I already had an insight into what Kumon was about, but you don’t have as much as an appreciation for it until you go to training.’

As Dora continued to find out more about Kumon, she approached The Women’s Organisation to get support on setting up and running a business;

‘The Women’s Organisation has played a pivotal role in helping me set up my business. I would not be sat here today if I hadn’t contacted them. I first met with Yan (A W.O Business Advisor) back in October 2014 where we spoke about my hopes and intentions. I then attended classes on Bookkeeping, Tax and Insurance and LinkedIn, all of which were incredible informative and useful. I use the skills I gained from these courses on a daily basis and I believe they contributed to me being a better business woman.’

‘The Women’s Organisation are a very open and inviting group who are eager to help new women in business. From my very first meeting up to today I always feel very welcome and supported which is reassuring.’

At the moment Dora’s centre has been open since December and at the start she had one child enrolled and now has 27! Having come a long way in a few months. National free campaigns where children can try Kumon free for a few weeks have helped Dora build up her centre, as well as making connections with the local community.

‘I have started to make links with local groups, particularly with the Liverpool Cricket Club as I am sponsoring their Tennis section. I’d like to be an established part of the community.’

One of the most difficult challenges that Dora has faced has been getting her head around advertising; ‘I now understand that people won’t come if they don’t know you are there! I’m keen to find the best ways to help people know about the centre, and the best places to spend my money on.’, and has been pounding the streets leafleting with her family as well as being featured in local press such as FamilyGoLive magazine.

As Dora’s Kumon centre continues to grow (she currently employs her Mum and another assistant Alex; and will soon need more staff), it is clear to see that 2014 and moving into 2015 has been ‘the year of change’ for Dora and she has achieved a huge amount in a short space of time;

‘I am delighted with what I have achieved so far, particularly over the last 3 months. I am proud of the lessons I have learned and the skills I have gained. I do not think I have ever achieved so much in such a short space of time. Hopefully this will be reflected in the future of my business.’

We are sure that the future of Dora’s business is extremely bright and want to thank her for her kind words about The Women’s Organisation. If you would like to find out more about Dora’s Kumon Study Centre in Aigburth please use the contact details below!

T: 0151 792 6569
E: aigburth@kumoncentre.co.uk

Photo Credit: Kate Williams

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