5 Tips for Creating a Language School Business Plan
With more than 7000 languages spoken around our increasingly interconnected world, access to language learning resources has never been more sought after. Language schools can bring the world together by allowing individuals to learn new languages and break down communication barriers. If you have a passion for education and a desire to promote cultural exchange, this could be the right business venture for you. Developing a solid business plan could very well be the most important step in your language school. It might not seem very interesting compared to the exciting stages of launching, marketing, and actually seeing clients walk through your (newly painted) door. Still, those successes all stem from thorough business planning.
Knowledge is power, especially with a business plan. Ask the pertinent questions: How many students are interested in studying Academic English? How many students will be in each level per course? Who are your biggest competitors, and what are you up against? What about in terms of the profile of prospective students? Find out how many young and adult learners there are. Ensure your curriculum meets the students’ needs (i.e., personal growth, education, or broader career opportunities). These factors can help you decide what factors are high or low in demand and provide accordingly. Can you offer any or all types of instructions in your language school? English, Chamicuro (only a dozen people speak this language worldwide), sign language? With innovation, you can explore offering specialized modes of instruction to boost demand and ensure you won’t be competing within a saturated market. Know if there are legal requirements you need to comply with, like health & safety, fire, emergency exits, etc. Be sure to consider insurance costs, the number of classrooms you will utilize, and how many classes will run in each classroom per day. This kind of knowledge will support you as you go about managing your limited resources.
2. Do a SWOT Analysis.
This allows you to map out the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats for your language school.
> Strengths are assets you offer as the owner of your potential language school. For example, if you’ve been a language teacher for ten years, that experience will set you apart from anyone new to the industry.
> Weaknesses are real shortcomings you can identify in terms of you and your business. Remember that acknowledging your weaknesses shouldn’t be shameful. Keeping your blind spots front and center helps you to avoid potential pitfalls.
> Opportunities pinpoint inevitable outside forces. For example: “The Canadian government is extending a 25% subsidy on language preparation programs.”
> Threats also refer to external influences that could wreak havoc on you and your language school. You need to anticipate solutions for possible business threats around you, so you are prepared if any of those worse case scenarios hit your business.
3. Make a Plan for Building a Team
It pays to have a plan for finding competent staff – not everyone will be an asset to you. Do you have connections or know capable people you can potentially hire for your language school? Will they be full or part-timers? Having a great team of passionate people that you trust will contribute to the success of your language school.
4. Do a Competitor Analysis
To assess the competition, follow the same process of gathering information as you used to generate your initial market research. Once you feel confident in your ideas, objectives, and courses of action, direct your energy towards uncovering the same things about your closest competitors. What are they doing well? If they seem to have a particular niche locked down, consider offering something unique. Or if they have courses that aren’t exactly thriving, it is a chance for you to provide a better version of those courses.
5. Work Out the Financials
This is the most critical part of your business plan. Map out your cash flow using a profit and loss plan. Solidify potential sources of finance and calculate how much you will bill your students for the course fees. The typical rate of language classes will depend on the instructor’s level and years of experience and the class size. Your revenue can increase considerably based on the number of teachers employed and the number of classes you can deliver per week. To minimize handling several students at a time, consider scheduling more group classes and 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. Time to get started on your language school’s business model. Be creative but realistic, and don’t forget to have fun! In addition to applying these tips, please feel free to contact me if you need help with your business plan writing.