How Celebree Can Be the Pot of Gold at the End of Your Rainbow

Every March we’re all more than happy to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, an unmatched revelry of commemorating our (sometimes) dubious Irish origins, wearing green, and heralding the imminent arrival of spring. This year got me thinking of how the holiday has a greater effect of pushing Irish folklore that includes shamrocks, leprechauns, rainbows, pots of gold, and the aspect of luck and prosperity. Lucky Charms, anyone?

Seriously though, we delve into these folk tales because they’re amusing. Who among us, upon witnessing a rainbow, doesn’t think for just a moment that there might really be a pot of gold where it ends? There’s that small part inside all of us that wants to believe in the dream that it could actually be true.

By now, you’re probably wondering how this all ties back to Celebree. And what I can share with you is this—what I hear from the growing family of Celebree School owners is that they truly believe this franchise opportunity is the pot of gold at the end of their rainbow. All of them are certain that their location has everything to do with their future success.

Celebree School has multiple rainbows now glimmering in 12 states in the U.S. They span the skies as far north as the state of New York and as far south as the Carolinas. Where each rainbow ends, sits a Celebree School, waiting to educate and care for an entirely new generation of children. These learners and dreamers will have access to teachers and resources that will shape their minds and set them on a path of prosperity and success.

The Celebree motto is “We Grow People Big and Small”. We want to open 100 schools by the year 2025 and we have the business model to accomplish this goal. We’re looking for ownership candidates who want to leave a legacy for their children and others. Ones who want to make a difference in their communities.

We want to nurture the imagination of thousands of young minds, so they’ll also grow up to believe in that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If the prospect of educating the next generation of learners and dreamers sounds appealing to you, reach out to us today and make an inquiry.

Importance of Team Transparency and Communication

Do you ever wonder what makes a company successful? What makes it a better workplace? Why does it stand out to clients more than others?

Some will say it is a strategic focus. Some will tell you it is excellent financial management or effective marketing. Others will suggest it’s top-notch talent. While I do agree that all these are major contributors to business growth, in nearly three decades of experience growing Celebree School, I believe there is one key factor that determines the success of a company. It’s trust, and it is as simple as it is complicated. Let’s see why.

A study published by the Harvard Business Review (HBR) shows that people who work at companies with high trust ratings report 106 percent more energy at work, 76 percent greater engagement, 74 percent lower stress levels, 50 percent more productivity, and 40 percent less burnout than their peers who work at companies with low trust ratings.

You get the bigger picture. Trust promotes employees’ well-being and boosts their performance. When employees know that their company got their back, they are more satisfied, more productive, more cooperative, and less likely to leave. Happier employees are an asset that generates results toward achieving company goals.

How exactly can businesses cultivate trust within the organization?

As a leader of a company that has been in the industry for more than 20 years myself, I believe that transparency and communication lay the foundation of trust at Celebree School.

Transparency in leadership means being intellectually honest, open, and approachable to your employees so that you can create meaningful relationships with them and give them a sense of belonging. By being candid, you are able to make them feel that they can depend on you and that you recognize their significance as primary internal stakeholders in the business. They do not just work for the company: they are a part of it. This allows them to create a deeper connection with their roles, giving them a sense of accomplishment as individuals. 

Sharing company information with your employees is part of transparency. There are no secrets at all times. Of course, there is confidential information that you cannot disclose in the bigger interest of the company and that’s okay, but everything else that’s relevant whether big or small must be shared with everyone. These include goals, policies, strategies, processes, performance, and revenues among other things. When something goes wrong, transparency also dictates that you will be candid about the issue. You don’t want your employees to have uncertainty about your direction because this downplays teamwork as well as the loyalty that you have already gained. You build walls when you choose to withhold information and you don’t want that.

When a company observes transparency, communication flows easily. There is mutual respect and confidence in each other when employees believe in their employers and vice versa. They are comfortable in sharing their thoughts and providing feedback when necessary. This openness speeds up workflow, solves problems quickly, and improves decision-making. It also builds accountability and prevents misunderstandings or clears up existing ones. Eventually, communication solidifies trust within the company and people become more engaged and committed to giving their best shot.

If you have been thinking about how to build and nurture trust in your company, maybe you need to take a step back and see if you have been keeping your line open for your people. Put simply, transparency and communication just mean giving employees what they need to reach their full potential. With so many benefits for your company and your people, I hope you start thinking about embracing transparency and communication in the workplace moving forward.

How important is trust and transparency for you when it comes to teamwork? Share your thoughts with us!

A New Year: A Great Time For Self-Evaluation and Goal Setting

I believe that anyone can start afresh at any moment, but the change of year is especially inspiring which is why every year many of us come up with resolutions about health, career, relationships, and other aspects of life that we wish to improve.

However, as the year progresses, fewer people manage to stay committed to achieving these goals. Only 10 percent of people will take the time to write down what they want to accomplish, and only 2 percent will actually take the steps to make these goals a reality.

The failure can be attributed to a lack of proper self-evaluation which goes hand in hand with setting new goals. Self-evaluation is essential to both personal and professional development, so it helps drive careers and businesses forward. When we take the time to pause and reflect on last year’s experiences, we allow ourselves to sort out our needs, priorities, and opportunities for growth to determine our vision and mission for the year ahead and make sure that we are headed in that direction.

Focus is key

Perhaps the biggest question we must ask ourselves during self-evaluation is “Why?” Whenever I don’t take action towards a certain goal, I realize that my reason behind a goal was not clear enough. Before taking any steps to make a goal a reality, ask yourself, “Why do I really want this? Why am I focusing on this right now?”

Figuring out your “whys” is always anchored to information, so the best way to start evaluating your business is to look at as much data as possible—a way where our great team at Celebree can make sure that we deliver our level-best. Take the time to review all those summaries, reports, and analytics you have from the past year from budget, plans, and finances to customers, competitors, transactions, feedback, trends, and leads. The more information you have, the better. Comprehensive data is an asset that allows you to recognize your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and risks; so you can be aware of your performance and market position, understand customers, solve problems, and improve processes and strategies. This knowledge helps you make informed business decisions that can give you a competitive advantage.

Set SMART goals

Once you have identified your core reasons, the next step is ensuring that you have what is commonly known as a SMART goal. A SMART goal is one that is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself and your entire team by setting out unrealistic visions and expectations. Whether it is short-term or long-term, a definite goal is more likely to be achieved. It aligns your focus and helps you manage your time and resources well. It guides you in answering the next big questions. “How do I get started?” “What do I need to achieve my goals?” What steps and tools will I need?”

While a vague, generic goal can be daunting and can cause you to quit at the first sign of difficulty, a SMART goal empowers you to hit business milestones that can lead to a new goal or set of goals. Hence, every clear-cut goal keeps your business moving forward toward success. 

Success takes a lot of work, yes, but careful self-evaluation can lighten the load and go a long way. All that is left for you to do is remain dedicated to your plans. So, cheers to a fruitful 2021! Nothing can stop you other than yourself.

What are your goals for 2021? Share them with us! Know more about what’s in store at Celebree School this year and the opportunities we want to share with you at

3 Tips for Giving This Holiday Season

Charitable giving is important to my family at home as well as my work family. At Celebree School, our commitment to nurturing children and their families runs deep. It extends beyond the walls of our classrooms and into each of the communities we serve. Various fundraisers held at our schools throughout the year benefit organizations within the towns where we operate. Supporting local non-profits and other groups that help the greater good is a year-round effort for our staff and students.

What I love most about these efforts is that they provide an opportunity to teach our students empathy and the importance of helping those less fortunate than they are. Giving back is part of growing people big and small.   

Did you know that an estimated 30 percent of annual giving takes place during December? If you’re looking to rev up your charitable giving this year but are unsure of where to start, below are three tips that help guide our fundraising efforts at Celebree School.

Family Affair

My number one recommendation is getting the whole family involved – from your spouse and children to the people you work with if donating from your company. Consider everyone’s interests, highlight the non-profits best encompassing these, and together decide on which organization is the best fit. It’s also worth noting that while gifts-in-kind such as blankets or food to a shelter are always needed, monetary gifts go much further.

Give Children a Voice

My children are now at ages where we let them decide on the organization that we as a family want to support. This helps them understand how to make decisions, the value of collaboration and instills the value of philanthropy from a young age. At Celebree Schools, our teachers and school directors will often work with students to decide what non-profit they will help support. Encouraging our students to recognize how they can help others is a priceless life lesson.

Make it Personal

Whatever organization you choose to support, I encourage you to become personally involved. Make the charitable donation and then learn how you can further your impact by volunteering or joining the board. Being directly involved will give you deeper insight into how your donation affects the non-profit’s mission.

Talking to People Big and Small: Why Opening Celebree School is a Smart Decision

Deciding to open your own Celebree School is an exciting, meaningful step that will make a long-lasting impact not just on your life, your career, and your legacy, but also on your loved ones. At the end of the day, it is also running a business, and their guidance and support is crucial in your effectiveness, your reliability, your performance, and your leadership. As with franchising, you will need each other to depend on and build your success together.

Running a Celebree School is anchored on the principle of excellence. In order to maintain that, we need to make sure that our foundations remain strong. Our franchisees share our values and our commitment to providing the best in early childhood education and childcare. Our franchise opportunities make it possible for us to create a neighborhood that fosters a lifelong sense of learning and community; one where owners, educators, parents, and children unite in support of one another.

We’ve cultivated this same sense of teamwork and camaraderie at Celebree School. Like a family, we look out for and uplift each other. But most important of all, as a leader, I am personally invested in each and everyone’s success. 

As with families and friends, it is understandable to ask questions in order to understand this huge undertaking. The good news is, you can share with them what I tell anyone who asks why opening a Celebree School is a smart decision not just for you, but for them as well.

  • We Grow People Big and Small. Owning a Celebree School is a fulfilling job. You don’t work for others, yes, but you do work with others in such significant ways. We celebrate passing it on—or what we call, to “Celebree it forward.” 
  • Giving back to the communities we serve. We don’t just make a difference in young children’s lives, but to each person at Celebree: parents, families, our staff, our partners, and our communities. We provide mentorship and guidance in addition to the support we already give. We go over and beyond our duty especially during times of great need.
  • Philanthropy. I have been in the early education industry nearly all my life and have dedicated the last 25-plus years in establishing and growing Celebree School as it is today. I firmly believe that investing in our communities will reap good results for the better good. And the best way to start is with investing in our young children, so that they will develop a strong sense of self and become productive members of society. They are our future leaders.
  • Working with families is fulfilling. Education is, in many ways, a give and take. We do the teaching, yes, but we also learn. As people say, “it takes a village to raise a child,” and that is true. Celebree School is more than just a place where children learn and are cared for. It’s also a place where we can find fulfillment. 
  • A great return on investment. Investment comes in many forms, and financially, running a Celebree School is an excellent opportunity to truly make a difference and build a future. An average Celebree School makes $1.6 million in revenue and has an EBITDA of over $421,000. Considered as an essential industry, the early education industry comprises 1.6 percent of the total U.S. civilian workforce, and 3.5 percent of the nation‘s female workforce.

Clearly, the benefits of owning a Celebree School far outweigh any perceived risks. You are welcome to get in touch with me personally to know more about our franchise portfolio and the opportunities in store for you.

National Entrepreneurs’ Day

In 1994, my life changed for the better and in many unexpected ways when I opened my first Celebree School (at the time, called Enchanted Child Care). For over 25 years, the company has cared for and significantly impacted the lives of children in Maryland and Delaware. I’m in awe of our team and students every day, year after year.  As Celebree grows, I am also blown away by the ambition and dedication of our new franchisees.

November 17 marks National Entrepreneurs’ Day, which focuses on raising public awareness about the importance of entrepreneurship. I am grateful for the entrepreneurs who came before me, like my mom who also ran her own early childhood education center, and those who will lead the companies of tomorrow.

Becoming an entrepreneur takes work, dedication, and commitment but there is a heightened sense of independence and fulfillment that is simply unmatched.

Being a good entrepreneur also means being innovative.

Over time, it is clear how critically important it is to focus on learning and staying up-to-date with the latest trends, technologies, and industry news. Continue searching for ways to improve and evolve both professionally and personally. Highlight the value of your service or product, not just based on performance, but how it actively and meaningfully makes a positive impact for others.

I am thankful Celebree School can make a difference in the lives of families and am awestruck by a new generation of entrepreneurs who are helping to grow the brand. To all my fellow entrepreneurs – those just starting out and those with years of experience – keep pushing forward. The world is a better place because of your ability to roll up your sleeves and put in the hard work.  

How Exercise Benefits You and Your Team

We’ve always known the exercise is good for your physical and mental health. I started working out when I was just 15 years old, when my dad and brother started martial arts. It has since become part of my daily routine growing up. At present, I work out five days a week with my wife, who’s also doing 60-minute rides on our Peloton bike and does yoga thrice a week.

As an adult, I’ve broached more of its benefits not just when it comes to my own health, but also how becoming physically active has greatly impacted my leadership at Celebree and my team’s own fitness achievements as well. And it’s backed up by science. Studies have shown that exercise—especially acute and aerobic exercises such as cycling, swimming, running/jogging, hiking, dancing, and walking—has a positive effect on regulating behavior and “alleviates negative as well as enhances positive mood states, with effects occurring immediately after and lasting up to one day post-exercise cessation… the largest improvements in mood were decreases in tension, depression, anger, and confusion.” 

Here are some ways on how exercise benefits me and my team.

  • Improves cognitive function. When you exercise, your body reduces insulin resistance and inflammation and stimulates the release of growth factors, which are “chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance and survival of new brain cells,” according to a Harvard study. One of its indirect benefits is mood and sleep improvement and stress and anxiety reduction.
  • Builds your confidence. Working out is a great reminder that you can always do more than you think! You can always do one more push-up, one more minute on the bike, and/or one more sit-up. We are always underestimating what is possible, and exercise proves we are capable of more, of better. Working out helps train the brain so your body can do more than it thinks.
  • Increases motivation. Running a business can sometimes get challenging, especially with everything that’s been going on around the world. It’s important to always set aside a time for yourself and for us at Celebree, our team has found a great way to take a break in the best way possible: working out together. Our support center has purchased a Peloton bike and it’s been remarkable to see the transformation in our team’s energy, confidence, commitment, and fitness.
  • Boosts morale. I’m proud of the close-knit environment that we’ve cultivated at Celebree and one of the things that we’re thankful for is how exercise became an amazing way to empower our team to be better, collectively and individually. Moreover, our Director of Events & Community Engagement Ali Kraus has this to share:  “Celebree is a family in the office and outside of it. Empowering each other to stay fit and stay healthy is such an amazing feeling. I know if any of our franchisees had pelotons, we would love to know! We even have a group called #CelebreeSchoolCrew where we shout each other out, join rides together, and congratulate each other for hitting milestones.

Celebree’s Peloton #CelebreeSchoolCrew has turned into a culture thing around the office that brings our team stronger and closer together, encouraging and supporting each other to hit their goals, celebrating each other’s milestones, and inspiring each other. 

I’d love to know about your exercise routine! Any Peloton tips for the Celebree team? Maybe become part of our #CelebreeSchoolCrew? Share your thoughts!

Build a Lasting Legacy

Becoming an entrepreneur takes work, dedication, and commitment, but there is a heightened sense of independence and fulfillment that you just can’t find anywhere else.

For me, one of the best aspects of being an entrepreneur is knowing that I’m personally making a difference in my community and creating a business where I can motivate and support others who have the same vision and passion. There is nothing quite like knowing you’re positively affecting families while at the same time creating a legacy for your own.

Most entrepreneurs aren’t in business solely for themselves or to make a profit. They want to build a legacy that will impact their families for generations. We hear frequently from our franchisees that creating a legacy is one purpose for wanting to own a Celebree School.

One example is first-time business owners Josephine and Edward Johnson who are scheduled to open two Celebree School franchises. One of their main reasons for diving into entrepreneurship was to leave behind a legacy for their children. “We wanted to look back and see that we were able to start something that they could benefit from,” said Josephine. “As parents, we saw firsthand the vital role preschool played in our son’s life and we want to have that type of effect on other families.”

The mindset of creating something significant that can withstand the test of time, while adding value to their family and local neighborhoods, is something shared by many Celebree School franchisees. The drive to succeed is precisely what we look for when awarding franchises.We take pride in supporting our franchisees with the steps they need to take today to ensure lasting success for generations to come. Starting with the very first call, we’re there through the life of their school.

My entire team is charged with the mission to support our franchisees and help ensure they are wildly successful. For example, the leadership team helps franchisees negotiate real estate options and provide them with marketing and training tools. We also create and monitor revenue projections. Our business consultants have monthly phone calls with our franchisees to make sure they are hitting those financial goals.

Leaving a legacy means working every day towards that legacy. That’s one of the reasons our franchisees are owners-operators. They put in the work daily to lay the foundation for long-term growth and success.

At Celebree School, we are building a strong network of franchisees who are each developing their own legacy within their local community and for their families. How can we help you achieve your goal of building a legacy?

Personality Characteristics of an Entrepreneur AND Early Education Business Owner

Being a good entrepreneur requires a variant of factors—some you can learn, others lie more on your personality, instincts, and mindset. As the owner of Maryland’s largest privately-owned chain of schools, I also acknowledge that the same debate on behavior of “nature versus nurture” does not only apply to children’s development, but also during the course of a person’s life. Our values, background, and experiences are just as, if not more, instrumental as our academic accomplishments. 

A keen sense of curiosity, perceptiveness, creativity, and a great intuition are some key traits that an entrepreneur must possess in order to realize his or her vision. But when it comes to being a successful early education business owner, I’d like to underscore some of the nuances about these traits that are essential in running your own school or schools.

  • Passionate—especially when it comes to caring for and educating children

Passion is one of the most important ingredients of success in general. But when it comes to owning and operating an early education facility or school, you need a great depth of understanding of children. As a father of five beautiful children, I have the parental insight when it comes to ensuring that our young ones get the support they need during this critical developmental period. Knowing what’s in their best interests and acting on that information is how you can make the best decisions regarding their care and education.

  • Flexible and innovative—seeing the big and small picture

One may think, “We only need to teach children the same thing, right? You don’t need to deviate from that!” While it is true that there are curriculums to follow, being an owner-operator of an early education business is more than just focusing on the academic part of learning. Part of the work is broadening your perspective and seeing both the big and small picture, too. Before you even get to the teaching part, you have to take care of the business areas that make it possible for learning to take place. Whether it’s applying for a franchise, surveying for locations, securing financial investment, hiring a teaching staff, or overseeing day-to-day operations, you need to be both flexible and decisive. 

It also means you must be willing and able to adapt to changes and plan ahead. I have to be constantly on top of my game when it comes to leading and running Celebree. Learning from my past mistakes and being a team player enabled the company to weather—and thrive—in this crisis because I not only know the ins and outs of the business, but also how to set short-term and long-term goals and build a system to achieve them.

  • Having a positive outlook

Being an optimist is more than just having a sunny disposition but also being able to envision growth for your business. I’ve always maintained that once you’ve become comfortable with success and/or become bored with what you’re doing, stagnancy creeps in. It is never too early to plan for the future nor you should be doing it alone either. They say that it takes a village to raise a child, and it is infinitely true, especially in this business. In order to take care of the children well, you must also take care of your team.

Why Franchising is Better than Starting Your Own Business

With the economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, I know that many entrepreneurs are thoughtfully considering their options when it comes to viable and—more importantly—sustainable business opportunities during these unprecedented times. Maybe you’re thinking of starting your own business but don’t know exactly how to start. Franchising covers several key areas you need to begin, and grow: stability, expertise, and support, as well as an established and thriving business model that works in various industries and markets.

You’ve got to ask yourself: what are you passionate about and how can you converge that with what the market needs? In knowing so, you can start developing the best products or services to address this demand. When I founded Celebree back in 1994, I knew even before then that providing the best care and education to young children is what I wanted to devote my life to. 

Franchising also empowers you to pursue these passions even with little-to-no background or experience. I myself didn’t have a business degree, but I was very fortunate to grow up in an environment that equipped me the tools and sharpened my instincts in the childcare industry. My mother owned a school herself, where I had first-hand experience on how a school operates. She, along with many others, mentored me—this kind of support is unparalleled and something we are dedicated to providing our franchisees from the get-go. I know that not everyone has the same experiences or background like I have, which is why franchising will give you access to this proven and trusted model.

Investing in a franchise as opposed to being an independent owner affords you all the benefits of owning your own business, but also the advantages of a successful business that has the following:

  • Cost advantage: franchises are typically less expensive than traditional business and in many cases, easier to secure finance (with assistance from us, of course)
  • Ongoing, cultivated structural support: access to training and operational support every step of the way
  • Brand name recognition: allows you to grow a loyal, existing base while also drawing new customers in

Furthermore, franchises are better prepared for economic downturns as much as they are built to handle sudden boom in sales or high demand. 

During the pandemic, Celebree Schools have remained open to serve families and working parents to ensure safe continuity of care and education for young children. We’ve operated with limited capacity and eventually increased it according to state and local regulations and health requirements. Because of our franchise model’s guaranteed, ongoing support, our schools were able to adapt efficiently and mobilize each school to streamline all health and safety standards without a negative impact on our curriculum, such as providing free daily online lessons via Celebree Connect, implementing our Kiss-and-Go policy to reduce risk of transmission, and vigilant monitoring of health updates and readiness to implement changes accordingly. 

But best of all, we’re able to help many families and communities in these challenging times, including our staff and their families. Having this security that franchises provide is profoundly important to keep not just our economy going, but also to make meaningful change to those we serve.