When Manju Nivsarkar was considering what her future looked like, it wasn’t easy to find an option that incorporated all of the elements of her history with the special needs community that she’d become so passionate about. We’re so pleased that she’s now able to share her skills and dedication with the Special Strong community of West North Dallas.
Tell me a bit about yourself – what does your background look like?
I’ve had a career working in the field of autism, which started with receiving my master’s in applied behavior analysis (ABA) from Arizona State University. I also have a bachelor’s in child learning and development and psychology, as well as a personal interest in physical fitness and strength conditioning.
What were you doing in your previous career?
I had been working in a private clinic as an ABA therapist for ten years.
How did you end up here? Why did you pick Special Strong?
My husband was looking into some different business options. He knew I had this passion for fitness and for serving the special needs community, so he thought it was a good fit when he found it online. Throughout my career, I always saw the need to help the special needs community lead a healthier lifestyle. As I learned more about Special Strong, I realized I was able to combine my education, my experience, and my passion to serve the community through this work.
From start to finish, what was the process like of becoming a franchisee?
The process was quite smooth. Special Strong has a very straightforward onboarding process. All of the paperwork was easy to understand, and there was a lot of guidance along the way. We reached out to Daniel and he was very involved. He wanted to meet with me, see what type of passion I had for this work, and see if I would be a good fit. There was the feeling that Special Strong was his “baby” and that is reflected in how carefully he selects the people he chooses to work with.
During the process, what did you learn from talking with other franchisees?
It’s a fairly close-knit group, so we got to share each of our thoughts on how we’d plan to operate and grow. Everybody is coming from a different background, but there were a lot of similarities as well.
What would you tell someone else who is considering becoming a franchisee?
Becoming a franchisee is one of the easiest ways to get going. The brand building has already been done. All you have to do is bring your hard work and passion for running the business.
What were some of the most attractive components of the business model?
When we were looking at some of the other options available, this one was a lower investment for the start-up cost, which makes it ideal for first-timers. The business model is workable, and a really affordable option for anyone wanting to get into a franchise-based business, since you don’t have to invest in something brick-and-mortar at the start.
What made Special Strong different from other opportunities you were looking into?
I knew that I wanted to stay in the realm of ABA and continue serving the special needs community, but it was hard to find an opportunity to do both of those things at the same time. There wasn’t much available when I first started looking. People were doing either physical therapy or occupational therapy or ABA work, but there wasn’t really a combination of all of that together.
What was your biggest fear about saying YES to Special Strong?
Being a business owner was a big change and I had no idea what it would entail. It was a little overwhelming to think about everything that needs to be done to have your own business. There was the unknown element of whether I’d be able to manage the responsibility of maintaining a business and representing the brand.
What made you overcome your fears and say YES to Special Strong?
Since I was very comfortable working with kids on the spectrum and had already been in the fitness industry myself, that gave me a certain amount of confidence. The business side of things was the part I wasn’t as confident in, but the onboarding process was so smooth that it helped me a lot. The support, guidance, and passion from the Special Strong team were very encouraging and it gave me the belief in myself that I could do it.
What did you think about the start-up costs and fees with Special Strong?
It was very reasonable. In the fitness industry, the first thing you’re thinking about is typically having your own space, which requires leasing, insurance, and buying your own equipment – all of which are very expensive! It’s a very affordable entry point and an ideal setup for anyone looking to get involved with a franchise. You can start without the stress of setting up a brick-and-mortar location by renting existing space, so the initial cost can be kept low.
If you would like to learn more about owning a rewarding Special Strong franchise, we encourage you to reach out to us today for more information.