A Market Research & Feasibility Study is one of the first and most essential steps when it comes to setting up a new school. Making assumptions can be expensive and decisions could be made that don’t match the research. They can be made on a hunch or a wild dream therefore a comprehensive study will minimise risk and also maximise your chances of success. Even if it is already clear that the school will go ahead, this research will influence many decisions in the set up process.
We will look into Competitive Analysis in a little more detail below but the following represents some, certainly not all, of what needs to be in a Market Research & Feasibility Study:
Vision and Mission – “The Voice”
It might seem like this is just a generic message on a feature wall that the marketing department came up with in a meeting, but actually these statements are invaluable and come to our attention in the Market Research & Feasibility Study. At GSE we describe this step as finding the schools unique “voice”. The voice needs to clear and that all decision made in the school such as design, curriculum and choice of staff reflect this unique plan. Imagine looking 20 years into the future when graduates come back and share stories of the great times. How will they describe the school? What was unique? Why is it different to another school?
This plan will be determined when you create your financial plan. The ratios of staff to students, as well as, your support and administration staff must be calculated carefully due to the fact that as the school grows these ratios will become more efficient. There are many ways to recruit with varying levels of costs associated and you will get what you pay for. Be aware that as a new school you are marketing yourself to new staff, not just students. Make sure you build a great website and promote yourself to this audience.
For both non-profit and for-profit schools it is necessary to have a comprehensive business plan that outlines a sound financial strategy that encompasses both short and long term. At GSE, our Market Research & Feasibility Studies come together with a comprehensive 10-year plan that identifies break even point, first year of profit, and where the school should be after 10 years whilst allowing the facility to reach a sound financial position.
A Competitive Analysis allows us to identify competition, find the gaps in the market, as well as to understand what other schools do well. Done correctly, a Competitive Analysis will churn out plenty of quantitative and qualitative data that allows us to back up business decisions. It can help:
- Develop and/or validate your identified Unique Selling Points.
- Ensure your school also focusses on the aspects of competitors’ that their parents value the most.
- Capitalise on competitors’ weaknesses parents complain about.
- Get benchmarks to measure your future growth against.
- Uncover market segments that aren’t fully served by other schools but is needed by students and parents.
GSE will often compare about 10 other schools in a competitive analysis. In reality it actually depends what city and country you are in. For example, in Kuala Lumpur, you may need to compare a higher number of schools due to the saturated market. In developing countries such as Myanmar or Cambodia, this number may well be lower.
So what should be measured? Obvious aspects such as price, curriculum, % of local vs foreign teachers, social media channels and even reviews from parents and many more points that you can find here!
There are many other steps that go into setting up a school and that are contained in a Market Research & Feasibility Study that can be found here in our more specific blog. Contact Us directly for a video conference to learn even more about how GSE tailors a plan to the needs of the owner and the market.
Who is Global Services in Education (GSE)
Global Services in Education is a company led by education experts. They are proven education leaders who know how to set up and manage international schools. GSE can lead the project from the initial idea to set up and full management. Kindergarten, Primary, Middle and High School, Universities and Adult education.
– School Management
– Strategic Planning
– Feasibility Studies
– Architectural Conceptual Design
– Interior Design
– ICT Planning
– Staffing & Recruitment
– Curriculum Design
– School Polices
– School Audits & Action Plans
– Training & Development
– Accreditation & Licensing
Duncan Douglas, Project Manager at Global Services in Education:
– A specialist in marketing, admissions, project management, Special Education Needs (SEN)
– Extensive experience in school start-ups and senior education pathways
– Worked across UK, China, Australia, Canada, Vietnam, Myanmar, India and Malaysia
– Expert in UK curriculum