How difficult is it to open a new school? And can a group of enthusiasts actually achieve the feat? Most people would probably argue they couldn’t. However, we must understand that each organization (however big) consists of nothing else but people–individuals. So if a big organization can start a new school (a local government, ministry, etc.), than a group of independent people can do it as well, if enthusiasm and skill is present. Manish, together with his friends, decided to go for such a feet in the suburbs of Manila.
Their reasons were rather ordinary though–they wanted to start a school simply because their children had no other place to go. The nearest elementary that still accepted new students was 40 kilometers away. We were lucky enough to meet Manish and discuss his plan. It can give inspiration to those of you who may consider starting their very own educational institution as well.
Everything starts with money. Or no?
Most people believe that every project starts with a budget. Manish, however, was quick to dismiss the idea. According to his experience, you need to have a plan first. Complete plan of your educational institution, presenting not only the unique selling point, but also all details regarding the classrooms, subjects, your principal goals and staff you want to recruit to teach and run the school.
Once the plan is done, you need to prepare your sales pitch, or sales presentation. Investors aren’t going to waste their time with forty pages long business plans. At least not on the first meeting…. They want to hear quickly what you are coming with, and how can they benefit from being involved in the project (benefits aren’t always limited to financial gains; reputation, recognition, positive PR can also convince the investors). You should also prepare a list of possible sponsors to address with your offer, and a sum of money you’ll try to reach art the end of fundraising.
Money are just the beginning
Manish emphasized that getting money doesn’t guarantee the success of the project. Many such projects started but have never been completed, for various reasons. Sometimes a low budget estimation resulted in an inability to complete the tasks, and sometimes people weren’t able to work according to the plan. That’s why it is crucial to know your core team from the very beginning, and cooperate only with people who you can rely on in a long term. A school can’t be started in a month….
Once you have a plan, money, and a right team, it’s all about work. Finding location, trying to get a good rent (state owned properties are your best bet in this case), planning the classes, recruiting the teachers. More tasks have to be done simultaneously, and having someone with project management skills in a team is virtually a must.
School is ready to open the doors. What’s next?
If you find yourself in Manishes’ shoes, meaning that you establish a school on a place where parents struggle to find one, you don’t need to do much to get students. A few ads in local newspapers and help from the municipality will be enough to get the school going.
If you have a different plan, however, aiming for something extraordinary–like an educational institute, your work is far from being done. Marketing skills will come handy in this phase of the project, since you need to do a lot to gain attraction of students, or their parents. Remember, education can be pretty lucrative, so you won’t be the only one trying to attract the students.
If you are to have any chance, you need to show your prospects why it makes sense to study at your institute, and how they’ll benefit from the studies in their life later on.
Starting a school is a complex process which requires years of planning and execution. This article should give you just a broad idea about what to focus on if you are to succeed in it….