Today we have selected Oksana Kolesnikova to take her interview. She is the Founder of Oksanaenrichment.
First of all, how are you and your team doing in these COVID-19 times?
COVID-19 has affected us all. Some people have suffered in more ways than others. Still, being in the education industry and having worked with children for over two decades, I felt the need to contribute my knowledge, passion, and resources to help children cope with the difficulties of isolation – all by keeping them busy and productive.
As a performing artist, I would, over the years, donate my time, talent, skill, and financial resources to various nonprofits, leading me to imagine running my own organization someday so that I could give back to the communities that nurtured my own hopes and dreams. I have always harbored a burning desire to help underprivileged youth by offering them educational opportunities that they otherwise could never afford, and these dreams became a reality when the unfortunate current events we find ourselves in the lead to the launch of my own Oksana® Foundation nonprofit.
Since the start of the pandemic, the Oksana® Foundation has been providing free-of-charge online educational programs to children aged five through 17 who have been confined at home due to social distancing measures. A plethora of students have joined our virtual classrooms every week to master a new skill, and we’ve been welcoming more students who wish to join us – regardless of where they’re located in the world.
Your readers can join our classes and programs as I post ever-changing announcements and details about them on my social media pages, including Instagram at OMGOksana and Facebook at OMGOksana.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded or joined this company?
Before embarking on my entrepreneurial journey, I had already enjoyed a very successful career as a performing music artist, touring the U.S. and performing overseas. When I became a mom, I could no longer travel and perform as much as I used to, so I focused my energies on building my business.
What initially began as a project building my private studio for piano students evolved into an opportunity for something different; this came about when many of my existing piano clients would ask me for referrals for the siblings of my students so that they may learn to study other musical instruments or foreign languages, or if they needed tutoring.
At that point, I began building a team of contracted professionals who shared the same passion for teaching. The Oksana Management Group, Inc. (www.OksanaManagementGroup.com) was born in 2010, offering music education and instruction in a plethora of other disciplines, including foreign languages, academic tutoring, and various youth-oriented after-school enrichment programs in art, fitness, acting, dance, and more.
How does your company innovate?
It’s not a secret that so many music, arts, and foreign language programs have been cut from schools nationwide; when I moved to a new school district and was enrolling my son in the new school, I was also hoping to get him involved in extra-curricular after-school programs so he could learn a new skill or subject. At that point, I realized none of these were actually available – not only at my own child’s school but in so many others, as well.
For the first time, it occurred to me that there must have been many other parents out there who wanted the same options for their own kids, ultimately sparking the idea for exciting and affordable group classes. In pitching this to different schools, I received an overwhelming reception for our After-School Enrichment Programs, which have since found a home in many schools throughout Los Angeles County and Beverly Hills.
While the Beverly Hills area was the initial jumping-off point, our programs have expanded into Santa Clarita and South Bay – and throughout the entire county of Los Angeles. We currently serve many public, private and charter schools, school districts, municipalities, counties, and online communities, subsequently reaching maximum capacity at our headquarters; in fact, since the demand for these After-School Enrichment Programs has grown exponentially – and because we wanted to expand our brand nationally – the concept of franchising our business suddenly became a reality. As such, October 2019 saw the launch of our own franchise venture, Oksana®Franchising International, Inc., dba www.OksanaEnrichment.com.
Now, it’s possible to duplicate the same success by way of other entrepreneurs nationwide and, one day, as our company name suggests, even internationally.
I must say that the private education sector is a multi-billion-dollar industry, and there was and always will be a high demand for educating children while providing them a myriad of opportunities. As long as there are children, parents will want them to be involved in sports, music, art, drama, and, of course, anything to improve their grades through premium tutoring.
How the Coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Fortunately for us, we have not been hit as hard as other industries during the pandemic. The education sector was very quickly molded and transferred to online learning architecture. This is interesting because we had a virtual model set up long before COVID hit; the thing is, many of our clients were not open to online learning. Things changed during the pandemic, and people were forced to go virtual, but now there is the choice for in-person learning (though many still opt to remain virtual as it provides an additional layer of convenience).
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Yes – and this touches on a more personal aspect of my life and career.
During the fall of the Soviet Union, my family and I moved to the United States. To say life was far from easy back home – because the country was going through significant economic turmoil and dramatic changes – is something of a gross understatement.
To put it succinctly, I’ve experienced many challenges in my early childhood and teen years.
I feel truly blessed to have been able to immigrate to the United States, and this one experience of moving across the world to the “land of opportunity” taught me, first and foremost, to never take anything for granted and also to show gratitude and appreciation for everything around me. It also taught me the value and meaning of hard work and understanding the measurable results from it and perseverance and determination – never giving up even amidst the specters of setbacks and defeat, all while avoiding complaining.
Perhaps most importantly, I have learned the sheer value of helping and inspiring others through my artistic and business endeavors.
What specific management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Motivation and persistence are everything for an entrepreneurial spirit that is going through a crisis. In my case, I hire many experienced experts and seek out information or individuals I find motivating and inspiring. Nothing can beat the reputable experience of essential team players, as success directly correlates with the people around you. Working with experts may be costlier, but it is worth its weight in gold.
Mentors for entrepreneurs are crucial as they propel them in the right direction, allowing them to experience triumphs more quickly and recover from setbacks more speedily.
Besides offering my business services and franchising opportunities, I also provide business consulting and motivational public speaking services to the general public, personally guiding my clients to more esteemed professional achievements.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
My philosophy concerning competition is different from the “common” business views on the ruthlessness of one’s industry competitors. I don’t consume myself with being outperformed by any competitors that would threaten to snatch a large market share from me; indeed,
I’m happy where I’m at, and I follow my own path, mission, and trajectory, always remembering that life is abundant with enough space for everyone “under the sun.”
Enjoying your own great business and personal success and accomplishments do not take away from anyone else’s success. My offerings are vast in terms of my business services and franchise opportunities and concerning my individual skills as a music artist, educator, consultant, and public speaker. Thus I never fear finding myself in a limited capacity, possibly losing clients and/or opportunities to my competitors.
Your final thoughts or advice?
The best advice I could give someone looking to explore their own inner entrepreneur is to be your own boss – and I will be there every step of the way to help my own community of business owners by offering a premium franchise opportunity or business consulting services. In being highly invested in our franchisees’ and clients’ satisfaction, the formula couldn’t be clearer: When they succeed, we succeed.
To ensure that, we provide several days of in-depth training and ongoing support so that franchisees can duplicate our success and attain their own American Dream. Our competitive advantage remains our efforts toward getting franchisees’ feet in the door as smoothly as possible. We achieve this by way of a meager initiation fee and royalties.
- Spokesperson: Oksana Kolesnikova
- Company: Oksanaenrichment
- Website link: https://oksanaenrichment.com/