Monday, 17 August 2009

Should I start a business?

You are not alone! I have been there twelve years ago and asked myself the same question. Now, twelve years later – not only do I have my own business but a woman-owned business that spans across several Asian countries. Starting your own business - leaving the safety net of a corporate job (if you have one) is not an easy decision. This is made worse by the current uncertainty in the various economies worldwide. We no longer can look back and say that “this recession will end soon” based on past trends and history. Instead, we must chart our own path and create our own future and those of our families. A job is no longer a guarantee for life time employment.

Given that a business itself is no guarantee for life time income either, what then are some of the personal qualities that will determine one’s success in it? The factors that drive success can be divided into two – attitude and aptitude. Attitude determines your enthusiasm, your passion for the work or business you are going into, your determination and drive that helps you persevere towards success whilst aptitude is needed to gauge how well you can learn and grow in your business. Starting a business is hard work, maintaining and growing it is another – do you have the stamina (physical and personal interest to see it grow)? How far do you want to take it? I always believe that to be in business, one requires foresight, planning and lots of persistence plus a little bit of luck! Knowing yourself and making your decision to take the bold step leads you towards the next level - what type of business would be suitable; an innovation, a children's business, a franchised model or a takeover of an existing business.

To get some answers - Email or visit us now at franchise opportunities or franchise corner.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Swine Flu - H1N1

Everyone has been concerned with the spread of swine flu (H1N1) all over the world. Now that summer holidays are almost over in the western countries, children will be heading back to school soon. What should a parent do if your child is unwell? It all depends. There is no one straight or correct answer. School activities and enrichment classes or after-school classes / activities have to go on. This is life.

What we choose to do is based largely on common sense. Children are taught basic hygiene and cleanliness as an essential part of their development and lifestyle. This ownership cannot be passed on to educators even though they take an active interest in raising the awareness. A parent’s daily observation before the child goes to school is important. If the child is unwell, the choice is either to stay home or wear a mask to school. If the child goes to school without a mask while the body resistance may be down, the chances of the child picking up something from the air – whether on the school bus, during recess, or in the community becomes greater. It is a calculated risk and parents, we often would take the easy way out and keep the child at home.

Just as life in school continues, enrichment classes are on-going and are an essential part of a child’s development. Living with the fear of contracting swine flu and staying away from school and/or enrichment classes eventually gives the child a reason to be excused. This is contrary to teaching the values of commitment. Helen O’Grady drama system values commitment – a child’s commitment to regular classes and active participation in it. Our teachers take precautions like school teachers would in monitoring the children attending classes and take active interest in your child’s health. Therefore, I hope that all children will go to classes happily, healthily and have fun without living their lives in fear of the H1N1 virus.

For further information: CDC in the States, Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Helen O'Grady Drama - a lively engaging teaching business

In many non-English speaking countries, but particularly in Asia; parents are often focused on children’s academic achievements. Both in school and outside, their paper achievements seem to weigh more than a child’s overall development – perhaps the baby boomers, of which I am one, grew up in much harder economic conditions and did not have as much opportunities in education as they would like to have. Therefore, the expectations as well as their dreams are now placed on the young shoulders of their children. Unfortunately, with the growth of the World Wide Web as well as rapid advancement in technology of telephone systems and computing; children are slowly losing that personal touch because their fingers can now do the talking.

Drama has made the difference in my children’s lives. While like all other children they allow their fingers to do most of the talking – sms, msn, aim etc; they have developed effective thinking on your feet skills as well as become lateral thinkers. Hence, I am glad to have embraced this international teaching business and made an impact on their young lives when they were growing up.

I was never a teacher not even a drama specialist but what I had was the passion to teach since I was 9 years old. I had a wonderful primary school teacher who became my role model. This desire to teach took awhile to materialize since I took up corporate roles that sent me around the world. 12 years later, looking back – I have no regrets making that career switch - leaving a well paid prestigious corporate job to be part of this drama teaching business was the right thing for me.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Reflecting on the past years ...

My three children were among the first batch of 100 students that my teachers and I groomed when the Helen O'Grady Drama Centre was launched in Singapore. Reflecting those sweet moments ... my youngest son turned 18 yesterday! A high school graduate from Centennial High of Ellicott City, Maryland - I am indeed proud to have made that decision to launch the Helen O'Grady Drama business that contributed to his personal achievements. Even my daughter said that her winning success with her public speaking course when she was a sophomore was due to the training she received in her Upper Primary and Youth Theatre program. The biggest achievement for me came when my oldest child, who turned 22 in October 2008 joined the business as a Director! I wonder how many similar international children's business has experienced a child benefitting from it eventually to become a business partner in it!

1998 CHIJ Kellock Upper Primary Students

1998 CHIJ Kellock Upper Primary Students
FIRST in-school enrichment program started in 1998 in CHIJ Kellock with this Upper Primary class. 11 years later, drama classes are conducted worldwide as an after-school activity in many schools. Visit us on our website