When a company or progam can get kids to learn, most would consider that to be a win. But when a company or program can get kids to learn while also having fun, that’s even more impressive.
And that’s exactly the type of learning that Snapology aims to offer. Read more about the company and its unconventional learning tools in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.
What the Business Does
Provides educational programs using interactive toys and tools.
Co-founder Laura Coe told Small Business Trends, “Snapology educates and entertains children using LEGO® bricks, K’Nex, and other technologies and interactive tools. Snapology provides interactive classes, camps, parties, scouting events, and other activities in the community, Snapology Discover Centers, and in private homes.”
Making learning fun.
Coe says, “Children know Snapology for its fun and interactive activities. Parents and teachers know Snapology as a place where education can be “sneaked” in to these activities!”
How the Business Got Started
With two sisters on a mission.
Coe explains, “Snapology began in 2010 when I was looking for programs for my five- and six-year-old sons. I found limited options in Pittsburgh for my boys, who were not very interested in joining sports. Recognizing my sons’ love of LEGO bricks and their inherent educational value, I approached my sister Lisa Coe, with the general idea of educating children using interactive learning. As sisters and best friends, we started to develop the concept offering robotics classes, birthday parties and scouting workshops in the Pittsburgh area — then the concept began to rapidly expand.”
Building a great team.
Coe says, “As a small business, the tendency in the beginning is to do everything yourself until you need to hire staff because of business growth. We realized early on that in order to grow, we needed to invest in hiring key resources to complement our skill sets, and to allow us to have the bandwidth to grow. It took a few attempts to locate the right individuals — to really learn what skills and traits we were looking for, and for us to clearly define the positions. We now have an amazing leadership team in place that make Snapology better with everything we do!”
Building a custom IT platform.
Coe explains, “In the beginning, we operated Snapology through several off-the-shelf technology solutions. As we grew, we recognized that this approach presented several challenges as the systems were a bit cumbersome and not well integrated. The decision to hire a company to develop our Snapology Manager Platform was one that we knew would consume significant amounts of our limited resources and capital in the short term, and we had no guarantee that the investment would pay off. Fortunately, this has proven to be a risk worth taking. Several months after beginning this project, we began to consider moving to a franchise model. The custom IT platform allows us to scale easily while enhancing our ability to support our new and existing Snapology owners.”
How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000
Expanding the franchise program.
Coe says, “It is critical to us that we grow in a way that allows us to deliver value to our franchisees and continually look to enhance our curriculum and our operational management tools. As part of that, we would also benefit from using additional capital to expand brand awareness of the Snapology Franchise across the United States and Canada.”
Coe says, “One of our first employees designed a small LEGO® set and called it Sebastian ‘Gator after my oldest son. My son, Sebastian, was certainly a big inspiration in developing Snapology and, of course, loves the set. When he was a bit younger, Sebastian would often offer to sign autographed Sebastian ‘Gator sets at our events.”
If the Business Were a Movie
“Field of Dreams.”
Coe explains, “I love the tag line, ‘If you build it, they will come.’ The pun with ‘building’ fits us and it describes Snapology’s growth philosophy. I always told my sales manager that if she could sell a program, we’ll find a way to staff it and offer it. And, we’ve always found a way.”
“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” – George Eliot
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Images: Snapology; (Top Image) Founders Lisa and Laura Coe
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