Business Practices in Language Schools
An English Language School’s key goals, strategies and objectives should provide the fundamental planning and operational tool for the development and continuous improvement of the school.
The business practices a school chooses to follow will set the boundaries and dynamics of development. This is the reason it is very important that managers understand the complex nature of the market. In doing so they must establish an organizational structure that creates the perfect environment for both staff and students to develop their capabilities to the fullest.
The underlying reason why any organization (apart from non-profitable ones) goes into business is to generate profits. In the English Language School business, managers must balance profitability with educational value. That is to say, profits must be maximized while excelling in product value and quality. In that sensitive market, schools cannot just concentrate on cost cutting to become profitable. Managers must concentrate on efficiency and the marketing value proposition so that you can optimize resources and performance.
This article’s purpose would be to show the reader how to structure and utilize business resources that can help increase a school’s efficiency, therefore its profits.
The organizational structure that a school follows depends greatly on its size. A small school will have a very much centralized decision making structure, while larger schools tend to be more decentralized. It is common to find roll-overlapping in smaller schools, as resources are scarcer and staff undertake a number of rolls. That is neither a weakness nor a problem when the number of students is limited. However as a school grows, its organizational structure must extend to become as efficient as possible.
The larger the institution the greater the amount of staff in each department resulting in tasks being outsourced.
The optimum number of staff in each department depends upon each and every single school. However, managers must always remember that under-staffing is simply as detrimental as over-staffing.
Any organization which wishes to reach your goals in the 21st century must follow a marketing oriented strategy. This implies, finding out what are the consumers needs first, and matching them to the schools capabilities. The reasoning behind the marketing concept is that although a school may offer excellent products, if learners aren’t interested in them and do not want them, the school can make no profits.
In an English Language School research is extremely important to be able to determine key factors such as:
? Market size
? Potential Demand
? Potential Profitability
? Product characteristics that potential prospects would prefer
? Who the competitors are and what their position in the market is
Market research should be carried out constantly so as to attract new learners as well as to maintain the current learner’s loyalty to the school. However, a strong argument against marketing research is the point that it may become too costly. Schools should always remember that without research it is very hard to obtain a clear image of the schools positioning and value in the learner’s mind. So although outsourcing research can be costly, some forms of research are inexpensive and will be conducted internally. For example start and end of term surveys by means of multiple choice questionnaires can obtain home elevators learner’s perceptions and their experience.
Advertising and Communications
It is through Advertising that a school can create brand awareness, product awareness and can place the full offering to the target markets. The mark markets are not always the learners per se, but parents who want to enroll their children aswell. Through Advertising the schools must communicate its achievements and successes in order to gain students and retain the loyalty among existing ones.
Effective advertising may be accomplished by determining who the target market is, and so conveying a message they wouldn’t normally only understand but be attracted to. This might sound simple, but believe me when I say it isn’t. Outsourcing advertising is normally the best alternative for several schools who is able to afford it. Smaller schools usually resort to simple leaflets and word of mouth, which must in no way must be underestimated. Outsourced or not, the Marketing, Advertising and Communications functions must be synergistic and congruent with all the current other marketing activities.
Sales and Promotions
It is recommended that activity isn’t undertaken by the institution teachers, since it happens oftentimes. The reason for this being, that it is very confusing for a learner to go over financial aspects with his/her teacher. Nonetheless it is preferred that teachers endorse the part of the sale where academics are discussed. Sales staff must be fully trained, and will need to have deep knowledge of all of the products (courses) on offer.
The school might use as promotional tools not merely in-house Attendance Certificates, but additionally International exam preparation courses such as for example Oxford and Cambridge ESOL, IELTS, TOEFL and others. The Internet is really a magnificent tool for sales and promotions as web-sites let interested consumers have an excellent look at the school’s offerings and also have an internal look at its infrastructure and atmosphere without actually visiting the school. Therefore the Sales and Promotions team must always work closely with the ICT department in making certain the school web site is clear, has reliable information, is current, and keeps an archive of most interested visitors.
Public relations activities are created to generate goodwill and to develop a positive image of the school and its own courses. The PR function would be to ensure that members of the school’s community are aware of the events, achievements and future developments of the institution. Keeping in touch with ex-students and exposing their achievements is really a typical PR strategy.
Generally, the marketing activities are designed to generate a confident brand recognition that carries the worthiness and benefits of the school’s offerings to the mark market. The Marketing Manager must be sure that marketing activities are coordinated to increase their influence on student enrolment.
An English Language School must be sure that it has sufficient money to aid its overall strategic objectives and also its tactical goals. It will also ensure that the school includes a comfortable liquidity ratio, and therefore you can find no negative cash flows. The finance department can be then in charge of monitoring and guarding the inflows and outflows of cash, the credit provided and the debts obtained.
With regards to credit, the Finance department must be sure that fees are paid timely and that bad debt is reduced to the very least. Many schools adopt a “cash up front” policy, although it may not always work. Credit records must always be obtained before providing credit to anyone.
九龍城 n班 The Finance Department can be in charge of determining and forecasting costs for every term. These costs will be the basis which fee structures are developed for every course. When developing fees, the Finance Department must set realistic enrollment targets that are congruent with the facilities available and the optimum teaching class sizes.
In the case of schools which are privately owned by a few partners, pressures on performance are not as high for schools owned by large numbers of shareholders. The Finance Department must not only follow cost cutting ways of improve performance, but should focus on efficiency. In education, quality must never be compromised.