Are you one of those people who are passionate to jump on the bandwagon with the others folks who are excitedly opening their own language school business?
According to Ethnologue, around 7,111 languages are spoken today. Additionally, it states that these languages are in flux and are dynamic as indicated by evidence of people whose lives are being shaped by this rapidly changing world.
How amazing that language schools can bring the world together by learning many languages and breaking communication barriers. Do you think you have a passion for education and a desire to promote cultural exchange? Consider your teaching credentials and the reward of owning a business. Why not start a language school? It can be a very rewarding venture.
But how do you actually start a language school?
No business is magically built out of nowhere and suddenly becomes successful at a blink of an eye. Any venture being considered should ensure that it is strategically positioned at the right market, at the right time, at the right place, and the right reach.
For example, if you intend to launch a language school, it isn’t a good idea to put the school close to a manufacturing or construction area. So how do you know then that you are starting a language school in the right way and ensuring that you get value out of your hard-earned investment?
This is where the task of writing a good business plan enters into the equation. Fine, before going haywire, settle down because a business plan doesn’t have to be too stringent, mind-boggling, and in-depth. You just must keep it simple, factual, attainable, yet formal. If possible, try to keep it between 10 to 12 pages.
Have a look at this simplified format to guide you in crafting a successful business plan for your language school within a short timeframe.
Before you begin with the actual contents, you must first include the following information about your language school and business plan:
- School Name
- School Address
- Contact Details (such as phone numbers, facsimile, email, Skype/messenger, website)
- Ownership Details (who are the owners, and what is their percentage of ownership in the school? State if you have overseas investors or even silent partners).
This basic plan is your foundation to know precisely how the language school market plays in any given period. Can you offer any or all types of instructions in your language school? Yes! You can choose from teaching foreign languages to English as a second language, and sign language.
Make sure that you structure your curriculum, which can be available for personal enrichment, educational, or career opportunities depending on the needs of the students. These factors are indicators as to why it’s critical first to establish what instructions are high or low in demand according to your credentials and capacity by getting familiar with the industry overview.
Does it mean you won’t take up instructions that are low in demand even if it’s not your forte? It’s not that. If you are innovative enough, you can explore ways in offering a specialized instruction to boost the demand for it. In this way, you don’t need to penetrate the market that is already saturated. In the end, it boils down to the in-depth knowledge you have acquired about the industry.
Here, you must outline what the school offers and in which place. List it in brief paragraphs only. For instance, Portuguese language course is available to overseas students in Lisbon, Portugal. You can also offer something like TEFL Teacher Training course in Manchester, United Kingdom.
You can get more insights on how to write an executive summary for your business proposal as you go through the actual preparations of writing your language school business plan.
The Executive Summary is composed of:
A. Specific Objectives
Identify your key objectives for the upcoming years. Should you list many objectives? No need. It shouldn’t be more than three objectives. Focus is critical if you only have a manageable number of goals.
What should your objectives entail? Your purposes have to be measurable and realistic. Perhaps, you can focus on acquiring a certain number of students, yearly financial growth, or expansion of the language school in the next three years.
For example, revenue of US$50.000 in the first year of operation; 15% increase in the number of enrolled students after the first six months of operation; or the opening of the second school in downtown Lima after year two of operation.
From these examples, it is easier to determine how to achieve your goals. Say, for instance, your course of action for the increase in the number of students would be to offer General English classes on six levels or offer TOEFL preparation courses.
B. SWOT Analysis
This analysis is about laying down the possible Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats for your language school.
Strengths are more about yourself as the owner of your potential language school that directly relates to you. To give you an idea, you can pattern your strengths in this manner: “I have 15 years of teaching experience from different schools of various nationalities.”
Weaknesses are like strengths where it refers to all about you and your business. Take this example: “My business partner and I both have minimal sales and operation experience.” Isn’t it embarrassing to list down weaknesses? No! It’s quite normal. The important thing is you are honest in acknowledging it and as your school peaks, try your best to discard those weaknesses.
Opportunities, unlike strengths and weaknesses, talk about inevitable external forces. For example: “The UK government is extending 40% subsidy on TOEIC preparation programs.”
Threats also refer to outside influences that can normally affect you and your language school. Is it possible to exclude threats in your business plan? No! Including risks in your planning is like indicating contingency plans in your budget preparation. So, threats are an indispensable part of a business plan.
You need to allocate and anticipate solutions for possible business threats around you. In this way, you are giving yourself leeway if in case those threats hit your business.
C. Competitor Analysis
This part shouldn’t be tricky because you can follow the same process tracking down their information as you used to generate your plan. If you have laid down your ideas, objectives, and courses of action, then you should be able to find out the same things about your closest competitors.
Learn about their SWOTs, their course packages and other offers, and the pricing. What are the specific language instructions they’re famous for teaching? So, if they do very well with it, maybe you could offer a package which is something unique.
Or if they have courses that don’t do so well, then it’s your chance to offer a better version of the services. Take a look at the U.S. Industry Statistics and Market Research for Language Schools in 2019 to give you a better idea about the competitor landscape in language schools.
Specifically, list, for example, how many students are interested in studying Academic English? How many students will be in each level per course? Don’t forget to cite how you obtained the information.
Do you also need to find out about the strategies of your competitors? Of course! Check out how big your closest competitors are. Depending on their sizes, you should be able to get an idea about the size of the playing field of market competition for language schools.
What about in terms of the profile of prospective students? Find out how many young and adult learners there are. Or are they teachers looking to upscale their knowledge in languages? These are the kind of information that is fundamental as you go about managing your limited resources.
Consider only two ways to peg your price: cover your costs or position your school at par within the marketplace. How much will you charge per hour or per week? What will you offer that separates you from your competitors?
Are you going to offer add-ons with extra charges? Will you consider lowering your price against your competitors on a basic teaching approach but sounds like more than that? Remember – the argument here is to offer value for money service.
Do you need to splurge or spend conservatively for your marketing efforts? Make sure you allocate a reasonable figure for your promotional plans and stick to your budget. That’s a deal!
Choose the best platform to promote your language school and decide how you want to promote it. You see, marketing activities are one of the most significant costs in the business, and it’s also one of the most badly orchestrated.
In this case, be sure to get feedback for every promotion you undertake so that you know how to manage the outcomes and get the correct value for the investment you’ve made in advertising.
So, you have set aside a specific budget in your financial projections. Of course, you allocated a budget for the physical set up of your language school. Consider two things: Are you purchasing the premises or not? What necessary expenses will you incur in setting up the language school that you want?
And don’t discount the following factors:
- Access to parking and availability of public transportation
- If there are other occupants within your premises, will you be able to accommodate the unforeseen influx of students?
- Know if there are legal requirements you need to comply with like health & safety, fire, emergency exits, etc.
- What would be your insurance costs?
- How many classrooms will you utilize and how many classes will run in each classroom per day?
- What kind of layout will you employ in your premises without working outside your budget but will give your students that motivating feel to study in your school?
Do you know how and where to find competent staff? Or do you have connections and know some capable people you can potentially hire for your language school? Are they going to be full or part-timers? These are questions you need to address because having the right people on board is instrumental for the success of your language school.
But what if you prefer to do the groundwork at the beginning? If this is the case, then you must be prepared to know exactly how many students you can manage to teach on your own. And if there’s quite a lot of them, then don’t put off hiring an additional teacher before you suffer the consequences which might be loss of clientele.
Salaries, wages, and compensations are also considered the most significant costs in a business. So review your employment policies. If you employ people, how much will you pay them? It has to be commensurate to their qualifications. These are figures you need to factor in on your financial plan.
This is the most sensitive part of the business plan. Make a forecast of your cash flow, indicating the profit and loss plan. What could be your sources of finance? Up to how much will you bill your students for the course fees.
Presently, the typical rate of language classes ranges from $30-$80 per hour. But this depends on the instructor’s level and years of experience, as well as the size of the class.
For those under a tight budget, expenses should be manageable and kept low. Your business expands! Wow, congratulations! It’s time you consider renting out a classroom space or any spaces within your school for that matter.
Do you know that the growing trend of businesses nowadays is sharing spaces with another company? This strategy can substantially reduce costs.
Are there other considerations to include in achieving an attractive and achievable financial projection in your business plan? There are more. One thing is that based on the number of your teachers and the number of classes you can deliver per week; your revenue can increase considerably.
Another thing is – to minimize handling several students at a time, why not arrange more group classes and schedule fewer one-on-one lessons? In this case, it’s feasible for you to have at least two teachers conducting both the group and individual lessons.
So go on and be daring enough to write your language school’s business model. Be creative yet feasible with it.
Did you know that the one best way to making money with a language school is dependent on how reasonable your business plan is? It shows you exactly how to maximize profits.
Don’t be tempted to pattern your language school’s business plan with that of many private schools applying the methodological business model. That is — students enroll, pay a fee for a specified period, and attend formal classroom lessons with a teacher.
Alright, the course is sold — that’s for sure! But what happens if the demand upsurges beyond your plans and predictions?
You need to learn the art of anticipation. Always be smart and strategic. In business, those who are flexible and frank, always have the edge!