We would like to introduce to you the first SmartyKids’ franchise partners for Serbia – Nataša Toskić and Čedomir Ninčić.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Nataša Toskić. I’m psychologist and counselor. Passionate about psychology, education and human rights. My professional experience is a fusion of mental health, meeting people from other cultures and human approach. I find this combo very useful in work with children.
Hi there, my name is Čedomir Ninčić. Accomplished, integrity-driven, and highly experienced expert coming from the Telecommunication industry. But that was just recently, I was also a journalist, spent some time working at UN and FISU. Master of Political science and Bachelor’s degree in Business administration. And here I am, working again on children’s development which is kinda my favorite call.
2. What made you to decide to launch your own SmartyKids child education center? Is this the first business you start?
This is not my first business; I have my private practice for many years. General situation with education is not as brilliant as it should be. And it got worse with the pandemic, I could say. Starting this business is my contribution to all kids in the block.
During my career, I have been working with youngsters and I tend to pave the road for them by teaching logical thinking. I take all negative aspects from everyday life and turn them into lessons for them. When I saw the SmartyKids program, I was encouraged to give it a try although I have never been working with such young-age kids (under 10). However, I knew that Nataša and I will be a great team and can build a great center, a place for everyone.
This is not my first business, I have had two projects previously and both are still on.
3.Have you heard about abacus and mental arithmetic before? What was the biggest advantage that you found in our business model?
I’ve heard about mental arithmetic long time ago and I’m familiar with advantages of practicing it, from psychological point of view. Our choice for SmartyKids was impression of width of knowledge rather than standardizing kid’s knowledge
I heard about abacus and mental arithmetic and that is how I came to the SmartyKids in the first place. There is a big player in Serbia called Malac Genijalac and I have been reading about them for quite some time. What I see as an advantage of this business model is that you can develop further the SmartyKids story beyond what already exists.
4. From whom did you receive the greatest support in making the decision to become our partner? What was your strongest motivation?
Čedomir and I took all variables in consideration, our previous professional experience, common vision of contemporary education and what could be our place in that universe. Our families and friends were delighted about this idea, so I could say we have a great support system.
Everyone I talked about during the process of negotiation and later were kind and friendly, this was a crucial moment in deciding to seal the deal. Yes, the whole process didn’t go smoothly always but the important part is that I felt supported and that is what business is all about.
5. What do you think leads entrepreneurs to success?
Knowledge, ethic and common sense.
I think that maintaining focus is something that every entrepreneur must do regardless of the situation. I believe in Nataša and I rely on her which is really important if you want to succeed. Believe and rely on your team. We all work hard to reach milestones and this is common, however, if you are not flexible and if you do not enjoy your journey, then you will forget why you do all this.
6. What is your advice to anyone who is hesitant to start their own business in the current situation?
Assess your own capacities to feel comfortable in your new role, seek information and imagine a positive impact on your life.
Take the risk assessment, list all pros and cons, set yourself a frame, try to rationalize everything you get, and then trust your gut instinct. Go to the distance.
7. Your opinion about SmartyKids – in just 1 sentence.
A combination of traditional skills and contemporary knowledge.
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