The Power Of Associations: What You Can Learn From The IALC

Being affiliated and connected with the right network of people is a key element in business success. You might have already read in the other article The Power & Risks Of Associations and know why.

This time we would like to talk about how the IALC, the International Association Of Langauge Centres, is a very good example to learn from what the right influential association can mean for your own language business.

The IALC is an international association that currently has about 150 members, that are all independent while being connected at the same time to this highly visible authority in setting language training standards.
Founded in 1983 by the pioneer in teaching Spanish by the owner of Estudio Sampere in Madrid, Alberto Sampere (1929-2005), this network and association is based on a very visionary set of rules and goals.
The most important being that students should learn and study modern languages in the countries where they are originally spoken.
The vision being condensed into one sentence, being: Be the leading association for learning of languages abroad to enhance global communication and understanding.

What an impressive and high goal to be connected with.
Now, this is an example of a pioneer that can’t just be beaten by any “newcomer” association that was just founded recently.
Their years of history behind them is what makes a significantly important element of their association and their reputation.
If you want to benefit from the same reputation becoming part of this association is the way to go. And as you can truly imagine the joining and approval process to become an IALC member is quite strict.
The key here is that the entry barrier is quite demanding. You need to prove certain quality measurements and can’t just buy your way into becoming a member.
What you can learn from the IALC specifically for your language school is simple: adopt all their qualification elements for your school, even if you do not want to become a member.
Because their minimum criteria read like proven business advice for any language school out there to create trust and show a great reputation in your language business anywhere in the world:

  1. Be economically self-sufficient. (meaning: if you join an association, bring something to the table and do not expect that the association will bring you business and that you only join the association to have more customers.)
  2. Being a legally constituted private language center that has been in business for at least a year years. (meaning: prove yourself that you have not a business that just opened, plans to grab grants and subventions, and then close your doors after that.)
  3. Operate all-year-round in permanent premises with at least five classrooms. (meaning: prove that you have already succeeded and to show and that you are a growing business, ready to network and be a win-win company for all associate members.)
  4. Be independent of a chain, corporate group or franchise network of more than six language schools (meaning: don’t be controlled by others and be able to make your own moves and decisions, so you are an equal player within the association and not merely a puppet that is remote-controlled by another corporation instead.)

The IALC association is a great example of how to structure and maintain a high quality and to make sure that each associate member benefits as much from being a member as it brings their own value into the association itself.
You also might want to read: Should You Start Your Own Business Association?