Running an English Language School in Asia, How to Go Sustainable? (P.1)
“English has played an instrumental role in the massive economic growth achieved in recent decades by countries like Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, and increased English language education is required to improve the lives of billions of people, not only in Asia, but across the globe.” Dr. Pitsuwan stressed
“We communicate in English, we negotiate in English, and we sing karaoke in English. Citizens of the world strive to learn English, not only to conduct business, education and diplomacy, but enjoy to culture and entertainment. Indeed, English has become an integral part of life for billions of people around the globe.” He added.
The demand of learning English as a second language has been increasing across different countries in Asia. Therefore, the desire to start and run an English language school has been rising as well.
However, it becomes more challenging than ever to run an English language school because the necessity to disrupt old business models to succeed, the dominance of big players, and the higher demands of customers make it hard to build a sustainable English language school business.
In this article, I would share my ideas about choosing the market segments that help you start and run a sustainable English language school.
In general, the segments in English training are typically split into three categories: high, middle, and low. The high income segment (or premium market) is affluent and can afford top tier and luxury brands such as Nova in Japan or Wall Street in China.
In my experience, a successful English language school is the one who achieves high quality standards and qualified services or pioneers an academic or business model. Education is a service, so we need passionate innovators and thinkers to run a school and instant re-investment to upgrade service quality and input innovation in the products you are offering. Try your best not to fall into the segments that you find yourself facing a price war.
I admit that there are some small and local centers that are also successful in their own ways in any market. Because they don’t represent for the industry, so I don’t mention this segment in this article series.
Demographically, teaching English for children would be more sustainable than others. ESL students in most of countries in Asia are getting younger by the year. Many companies like Disney English are designed specifically to cater to Chinese children. Public schools have switched from starting English education at age 6 in China or Vietnam.
Secondly, we even are an Ed tech company, still have not found a proper method for 100% online training that could replace English training for kids in the classroom.