Running a Language School – Short-Term Profit vs. Long Term Benefit


It’s a decision every language school owner makes, consciously or not. Do you focus on making a short-term profit, or on building an excellent brand?

Short-term profit language schools:

  • Have low (or non-existent) teacher / staff retention

  • Have low (or non-existent) student retention

  • Focus on sales over service

  • Have too few service staff

  • Place students in an inappropriate level

  • Don’t focus on staff development

  • Have a high refund rate

  • Have a high marketing / advertising cost

  • Have a low (or non-existent) referral rate

(By contrast, a ‘long-term’ school does and has exactly the opposite)

Running a language school for short-term profit may work for a while. You just need to have good marketing, good sales people and a large, relatively uneducated customer base.

Oh, and you have to not worry about ‘churning’ through hundreds (thousands) of students a year.

What happens when a language school focused on delivering value opens down next door, with superb service and staff development? What happens once your customers get educated (especially if it’s your competition doing the educating)?

Yes, focusing on people, service and development costs money. Yes, your profit margins may be thinner (customers are usually willing to pay more, if you have excellent service…)

Of course, the real secret is that there is no conflict between being profitable and being a great, long-term school. You just have to lengthen your time frame.