As a field that is constantly evolving, the education industry is a busy place to be. 2020 in particular saw the dramatic shift towards online learning as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Whilst Covid-19 may not last forever, it’s likely that some form of online learning will remain a permanent feature of the education industry for the foreseeable future.
New developments in technology and a growing demand for working and learning from home have changed the face of education – and there’s plenty of room for new startups and innovative ideas!
These are a few starting points for anyone considering developing a business in the education sector.
Take up a new space
Before you can even think about launching an educational startup, you need to know what gap in the market your business is going to fill. Whether you’re responding to a problem, have found a new niche or are carving out a new space in the market, it’s crucial to know that you’re doing something different from your competitors.
For us at Tutor House, we saw that an increasing number of teachers were leaving their professions and working as private tutors instead. We could also see that the quality of tuition varied dramatically across sites and it was hard for parents to find the right tutors for their children’s studies.
So we decided to build a platform where families could easily connect with experienced and trusted tutors.
As well as researching your competitors, it’s incredibly valuable to conduct some market research. In the education sector, this will often be with the families or schools you’re hoping to work with. Set up meetings with parents, students and educators that you know to find out what they want from the corner of the market you’re trying to capture.
For example, if you were launching some new resources for primary school kids, you’d want to find out what companies parents already use, how much they’re willing to spend on resources and what type of resources they’d like to see on the market that might not exist at the moment.
Set your mission and values
Once you know what your niche is, it’s time to think about your mission statement.
How do you want to be seen as a company? What words do you want to come to mind when current (and potential) customers think of your business? And what are the values that you want to stick to?
Whilst setting your mission and values might not seem like the most important part of setting up a startup, they’re actually pretty integral. It’s important not only for your customers to know what you stand for but for your employees to know what the business they’re working for believes in.
At Tutor House, we believe in integrity, virtue and taking responsibility for everything we do. We work hard to be an honest, trustworthy platform that our customers and tutors can rely on. We also have high standards, and make sure that our platform only represents highly qualified, experienced and DBS checked tutors.
Know your target market inside out
This might seem like stating the obvious, but you’ve got to understand your customer before you start your business.
If you’ve got an incredibly specific target market, like parents of children under two who work in the City, it’ll be easier for you to learn their spending habits and requirements inside out.
If you’ve got multiple audiences, it’s useful to break your customer base down into sections to keep better track of them. This way, you can learn more about where they shop, what platforms they use, what they want from your product and how much they’re willing to spend.
Have a clear business plan
The educational sector is pretty saturated, so it’s really important to have a strong business plan to drive you forward.
Set out what your company does that makes you different from other educational businesses out there and why you are going to be successful. You’ll need to have a plan for the product itself and how it’s going to be delivered, the marketing and PR you’re going to employ to promote it and the funding you need to achieve this.
You’ll also want to make some financial projections for the quarter and year. A clear business plan not only shows investors and partners that you understand your business but also gives you a great plan of action to work from.
Break your goals down
Once you’ve got a business plan, you can set your goals for each month and year. You’ll have an idea of where you want to be in a year or even five years, but it’s also important to think about the short term goals.
Set yourself targets for each week and month. These will vary depending on what business you’re in, but will usually be around users on your site, press you’ve attracted, orders placed and engagement with the business.
Goals are an important measure of success and also a way to know when you’ve made a mistake or things aren’t going to according to plan. They’re also important for employees to know what they’re working towards and how they’re supposed to achieve it.
We hope you found these pointers for starting an educational business useful and insightful. Education is a busy industry to be in, but it’s a hugely rewarding sector to work in and there’s plenty of opportunity for new businesses to make an impact.
Author bio: Laura is a Content Writer and Social Media Manager at Tutor House, an educational platform which connects families with experienced tutors across hundreds of subjects.