1. Giving discounts away
Attractive discounts may draw new customer to our school. But if the news about the discounts we offer spreads out, no customer will be willing to pay the regular rates.
2. Price dumping
Competing with aggressive pricing can be risky, because once the prices are reduced it will be difficult for us just to rise them back. Besides, price dumping not infrequently scares customers away instead of attracting them. Seeing excessively low price, many people will wonder whether this isn’t adversely reflected in the quality of teaching.
3. No care for image
Competition in the language school market intensifies and consequently a success in the industry is more and more often determined by details. Therefore an interesting and coherent image is so important. And this concerns not just its creation but also daily care to maintain the image. Unfortunately many schools forget about that in the heat of daily challenges.
4. Keeping too many irons in the fire
Some school try to operate in many fields, losing energy on projects that hardly bring them any benefits. According to the Pareto principle, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Therefore it is worthwhile identifying the areas that yield the greatest profits in the case of our line of activity and focus on those areas.
5. ignorance of the buyers personas
A mistake made by many schools consists in lack of awareness who their customers are and what their needs are. Bear in mind that you operate for – and owing to – customers! Therefore it is so important to collect demographic data and survey customers’ motivations and needs. On this basis you can develop buyers personas – a very useful tool enabling conscious shaping up of the offer and its effective promotion.
6. Focus on competition
Many owners of language schools claim that their greatest problem is comprised by competition. It is certainly worthwhile knowing how others fare and what their strengths and weaknesses are. But rather than thinking in the categories of a sieged stronghold it would be much more effective to recognise competition as … an opportunity rather than a problem. Presence of rivals provides strong motivation to act and to search for innovative solutions.
Paradoxically the moment when a school becomes successful can mark the beginning of trouble. Complete groups, satisfied students and satisfactory level of profits can make us rest on laurels instead of thinking about further development of the school. Doing so we condemn ourselves to stagnation, which will inevitably lead to decline.
8. Ignorance of trends
Every now and then new players emerge in the language school industry, who race each other out in coming up with new ideas to attract students. Moreover new technologies are created, which assist the work of a course instructor and facilitate efficient organisation of the administrative backup. Schools that fail to catch up with new market trends, are swiftly outpaced by rivals.
9. Poor work organisation
It is hard to believe how much potential can be squandered owing to poor organisation of the school’s backup. Inefficient work of the secretariat may cause trouble in each field of its operation – from course planning, through recruitment of students, contacts with instructors and ongoing customer support.
Excessive administrative burdens are also a frequent problem. The most costly mistake is certainly overstaffing, but even a poorly chosen printer may generate hundreds zlotys in totally redundant costs annually.
Does any of the aforementioned mistakes sound familiar? Or perhaps you can add another mistake to this list based on your own experiences? We look forward to your comments!