Starting a private school is a very lengthy process. In 2018 and the forthcoming years, entering in the education industry is going to be toughest, let alone flourish. However, with a practical approach and a cognitive business plan, you would be able to start your own private school successfully.
The process can last up to 2 years. Besides, you can understand it entirely only if you get into the industry yourself. We cannot offer you complete details as the process of starting a school differs from state to state and from country to country. However, we would try to provide in our blog a basic overview, a foundation that will help you set the first hundred stones of your business.
Let us start by sharing an overview of the business.
An Overview of Current Private Schools
Honestly, in today’s economic climate, most private schools are struggling. In the decade 2000 to 2010, several private schools saw a 13% decline in their revenue. The reason is not the competition surprisingly, but the number of students toe enroll The National Association of Independent School reports forecast that in the years 2015 – 2020, the growth rate will further decline as there will not be many school-aged students (ages between 2 -17) for enrolment. Another reason for the declining rate of private and boarding schools is the cost of education.
So, it is imperative that you carefully consider and plan your research to find out whether another private school is an appropriate business or not. Some of the factors you need to focus on in your research are the school area, the number of quality schools in and around, community needs, school facilities and amenities, and geographic area.
Now that you have a basic idea what are you getting at, let us help you with the process.
Your Niche – What Kind of School Do You Want to Start
Your niche will essentially determine a lot of things, including your growth rate, business plan and cost of investment.
Find out what schools are running in and around, and what type of schools the local market needs. You can conduct a survey with parents and teachers. Various types of schools are there which you can consider starting, such as K-8, Montessori, boarding, Kinder-Garten, play school, day school, higher secondary (9 – 12) and night school.
Once you identify your type, you will have to decide how many grades you would like to include. Although the most common types are K-8 and K-12, we suggest you start small. You should start with Montessori or primary division and once you have become a dominant player, you can think of extending the divisions.
Form Your Board of Members
Forming a school committee is a must before a school begins to roll. You need talented and people-oriented professionals to support your business. Let parents from different walks of life become your initial committee members. Invite people with commendable experience in finance, investment, education, litigation, and building sectors to become a member of the committee. You can seek legal, financial and management aid from them. Your school committee or board of members will play a huge role in your private school business set-up journey. They will be at the core of the board of directors.
Develop Your Business Plan
A Business cannot flourish or set its foundation on a loosely developed business plan. Your business plan must be substantial and should contain various segments and sub-segments. Create a business plan for the next 5 years, set a mission statement, objective and a vision. Make sure you include the financial budget.
It should look like a blueprint to success, so much so that, with every milestone you achieve, you should be able to lean back on your business plan to confirm if you are on the right track.
Incorporate Your Business
Make your business a legal entity. A legally formed business comes with many advantages, including easy fundraising, long-term success, legally compliant, stability and profitability. You will incur certain costs in incorporating your business as a legal body, but you can get aid from your lawyer in your committee to make the process charge-free.
Develop a Financial Plan
Your entire business development process will move forward according to your financial plan. Your budget will be a detailed sketch of your income and expenses. It is essential that you get this critical document readied from an experienced and knowledgeable person. Whenever determining the cost, make sure you forecast them conservatively and leave space for monumental expenses, lest things escalate.
There are two kinds of budget you need to forecast – a capital budget, and a recurring or operating budget. All the fixed and one-time expenses fall under capital budget. They include building cost, equipment, furniture, facilities and amenities, recreational center, school buses, etc.
On the other hand, operating costs are recurring costs that you will incur every month or occasionally. Teacher’s salary, rent, bills, social security expenses are few to point.
You can secure your initial funding through donors, subscriptions, and savings. Hire a grant writer who can help you formulate fundraising proposals. You will need a solid plan to back your funding needs. A dynamic leader can help you get you the required fund. You will need well-planned appeals to convince promoters, philanthropists, and foundations.
Don’t forget to apply for tax-exempt status from the IRS. If the IRS recognizes you as a tax-exempted organization, you will be much more favoured financially.
Choose Your Private School Location
It is time for you to select a place where you can establish your private school. You can either create your own facility from scratch or locate a facility that you can buy or take it on the lease. If you are planning to build the school, you will need a strong support from your school committee, especially from the person who specializes in architect and building contracting.
Schools require good locations. Safety, commute, environment, facilities, and amenities are few factors that you need to consider while selecting your home. Modular buildings could be one of your ideal options. The location plays a key role in determining your school crowd. So, think from a 360-degree view before you select your ideal place.
Hire the Right Head of Department
Once you have secured your start-up with initial funding, it is time for you to hire the people who will stand as the backbone of your school – the staff and management. You will need a comprehensive team to get this business running successfully.
Start by interviewing professionals for positions such as headmasters, principal, and administrative manager. You have to be aware of the roles and responsibilities of each appointed person. Make sure you write down their job descriptions. The headmaster, principal, and business manager will provide the necessary managerial stability and will help you hire the next level of staff.
While the manager will work on the operational requirements, the principal and the headmasters will work on the educational needs.
Hire Your Faculties
Moving forward, once you have your head of departments and management hired, you will need to focus entirely on hiring the right staff for your school. You will need to attract a skilled faculty. Most professional faculties think from a student perspective than from their own. Sell your school’s vision, mission, and ultimate purpose to them. Make them realize that they would be the only guiding force that will shape the future of the students as well as the school.
Line up as many faculty members as you can before the school opens. You also have to hire additional staff for canteen, administrative work, accounting work and so on.
If you and your school committee members are not able to succeed in hiring the right professionals, you should consider hiring an agent or HR consultant at this stage to find and recruit teachers and staff for you.
Market Your School
Now it is time for you to start spreading the word about your school. You need a strong and experienced marketing team to get your business up and running.
You need to create a brand value and then develop a marketing campaign that will promote the brand value. Creating a brand around your business is extremely important. Why should students choose your school? What is so unique about your school? Why is your school better than your competitors? These are a few questions you’ll have to answer to build your brand value.
Some of the unique selling points that we could think of are different classroom environment, digital learning tools, mode of learning, working hours, syllabus pattern, extra curriculum activities, skill refining opportunities, and scholarships from reputed universities and colleges.
Additionally, you will have to promote your school through different channels, both traditional and digital. Developing an online presence is very important to optimize your target and reach. You will need to develop a dynamic website and generate leads through it, advertise your school locally in newspapers, magazines, private school directories, and public libraries and promote your school on social media handles. You can also use the latest techniques, such as link building, blogger outreach, and influencer marketing.
Although we have just scratched the surface, we have made sure to outline the necessary elements for a successful private school venture. Don’t stop just here. Research and collect more information, until you are thoroughly ready. Do share interesting tips and tactics that helped you form your business.