ESL Articles

ESL Articles - Why you should start a school in Japan?

Not to make money. I think you do it because you enjoy teaching, and you enjoy the lifestyle that owning your own English school affords you. While it is definitely a challenge, and I don`t think it is easy, it is a good life in my opinion.

Kevin how can you expect me to start a school when established companies like GEOS and Nova go out of business?

True but these companies made many grievous errors. They treated both students and teachers badly. A major No-No! You are shooting yourself in the foot and thinking about it, it is amazing they lasted as long as they did. They also over-spent and some got into bad real estate deals.

Which you won`t right!??


ESL Articles - How can you go bankrupt with a Small English School?

Provided you don`t go around spending a lot of money on useless things, it is the kind of business that rarely goes bankrupt, as long as you are a small business.

I mean you may not make much money, but as long as you keep costs down, it is difficult to go bankrupt when small.

I have always started schools out of places we live. So you combine your living space with the school. You have to pay that rent to live anyway. Most people who start schools don`t do this it seems to me. Make sure you wash those dishes before the students show up!

I think renting a new place is a huge mistake unless you are willing to gamble a lot of money on your venture.

If you don`t have a lot of money that you can lose, I would start your school right out of your apartment.

You can always move it to a new location, or start a second location far from the first (a better option I feel).

Keep paying those bills and don`t get into too much debt when you start out.

ESL Articles - The Mistakes of the BIG Schools

The pre-paid cash flow model that these large schools used (Dean Rogers pointed out at a lecture of his I attended), lacks stability in a declining market, and even exacerbates problems.

At our school, we don`t use any pre-paid system unless students want to pre pay at Kevin`s. If they want to, they can pay for 6 months of classes up front. Other than that, students pay by the month. This allows you to see very clearly and quickly how your business is doing.

Nova operated largely on a credit system and once that credit dried up, they were in big trouble.

The old, large companies are tired and obsolete. This creates an opportunity for you.

Let`s be frank, (not the chubby Canadian from Toronto who is getting a coffee at the coffee machine right now),

"Hi Frank!"

I mean: Frank, as in honest and to the point: It is one of the easiest things in the world to get a very small school going. Put up some posters in local stores, put pamphlets in all the mailboxes of the residences around, make a small sign for your door, and perhaps get a reasonably priced website and you have started.

Once you get some students, ask them what they want. Or better still, if you are working at a large school, ask your students what they like about the school, dislike, and what they would like in a school. That is what I did as I taught at ECC and the YMCA. I also asked teachers what they liked and disliked. Then I tried to be better.

You can too!

If I did it, you certainly can! So can Frank!

ESL Articles - The New Paradigm

One key point Dean Rogers touched on at a lecture I heard of his and one point I have harped on myself is simply this:

There is a new Paradigm:

- Companies should be putting the vast majority of their energy and dollars into a great product and service. The customers are more and more spending their time blogging, Emailing, texting and talking about your service so make it the best one you can, and have them talking about you. This is nothing new. You can read this in a good business book. But it is great advice if you heed it!

ESL Articles - "Be the school that`s great to study or work at."

This is easier said than done and you can`t please everyone, but I have tried with my own school.

Rogers talked about innovation and how us small operators can compete with the BIG schools. The big schools are not innovating much. Nova started with E Learning then went bankrupt.

Indeed the future of Japan with her declining population and increasing number of non-Japanese living here, leads to increased pressure to learn English. You will see more and more young Japanese go abroad to study or work. Japan will be like South Korea is now, as jobs at home will dry up even more than they already have.

Some of the jobs that will be available in Japan, the young Japanese won`t want to do. Japan will allow immigration to take care of filling these less desirable positions.

Rogers talked about new English schools -- innovative schools from China entering the Japanese market. However there is still room for your school in your niche area. So learn all that you can and go for it!

"Companies that make being a great place to succeed will attract the best talent, and have a better chance of success."

--Dean Rogers

ESL Articles - Be Thrifty!

As mentioned above, be thrifty! It is so important I am mentioning it again.

Rogers reminded us that living below your means leads to an accumulation of wealth, and money you can use if business takes a downturn. He also said to choose five things you want to do incredibly well and do them.

So if you are going to start an English school, choose five things you want to do really well for your students and teachers.

You may even want to put teachers first, as if they are happy, the students will be too.

If you do decide to start your own school, keep in touch! Tell us how you are doing! It is great to hear from others who have taken the plunge and we can all learn from each other.

Good luck!

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