What business advice should I avoid when I am trying to grow my education business?

We’ve all been there haven’t we, listening to a well-meaning person in our life give us business advice that simply doesn’t translate to the education business sector. There are people who know business, people who know education and only a few who know both. It is difficult to straddle both worlds.

Should I try cold calling/cold emailing in my education business?

It does not work. School office staff are the gatekeepers, and they take that role very seriously. It is not how schools do business. It’s about reaching the right people, getting to know that contact and building relationships. You can email schools, I’m not saying don’t reach out to them, there’s just a right way of going about it. I have a great episode of the podcast on this where I chat with Cerys Keneally, you can find it here.

Should I put my prices up by 10% year on year for my education products/services?

Of course you should put your prices up, but 10% might be too high. You really have to think about who you’re selling to and what you’re offering. If you’re selling £2,000 CPD training courses, bumping up the price £200 the following year might not go down well and a school who once was happy to pay for that service, might stop. If you’re selling directly to teachers, getting up to the £70 is going to be too steep for them too. Be careful when raising prices, tell the right story and don’t price yourself out of the market.  

Should I send out flyers advertising my education business?

If you’re selling an educational product or service to parents, then you can send flyers home in school bookbags – that might work for your business. But sending mail in the form of a flyer to teachers is not going to work. Teachers’ pigeonholes are where flyers go to die. I would sift through mine once every term and realise that every offer had expired and put them in the bin. Even if I was interested in what was being advertised, the extra hassle of taking it to the school leaders or taking time off for any course that went with it seemed too much – they were never going to give me the time or the money – so in the bin it went.

Should I ask teachers to get their schools to pay for my education service?

If you are an ex-teacher yourself, you know how easy it is to spend a fortune on resources for your classroom. You also know how difficult it is to claim that money back! Teachers can’t just walk into the office with a receipt every time they spend some cash on their pupils. It is a big admin job. Teachers feel uncomfortable asking leadership to pay for things. If you are going to go down this route (because it’s not impossible), you have to make it easy for teachers to do this.

Some of you may have had some success with these methods but if you’re trying them and not getting any results, it’s time to give them up. I cover more bad business advice in this episode of the Education Business Podcast.

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