Not long ago, you took the leap and started your center. You are good at what you do, and you do your marketing right. Words about your classes start to go around.
At some point, you experience an overflow in your students. Suddenly, there are parents on your waiting list. At certain popular time slots, you have more students than you can handle in a classroom.
It’s time for expansion.
There used to be only one way of expanding beyond your first center – to search for another premise to start a branch. The nearer you can find, the better it is.
Starting a branch has its own challenges. I helped two centers expand beyond their first branch. Based on my experience, I’ll offer a few key factors to consider:
How similar is the location of your first branch to your first center?
In my second expansion, we expanded from a unit in a shopping mall with lots of human traffic, to a sixth storey HDB unit, where virtually no one passed by. The location-based marketing (posters at our glass panel, standee outside our door) stopped working. We were too slow to figure out how to do digital marketing, to bring traffic to our center.
Is your branch serving the same group of clients?
In my first expansion, we expanded from a heartland HDB premise in Bukit Batok, to Goldhill Shopping Center, where competition is very steep. Our pricing strategy and customer service standard had to change.
Is there someone who can teach well and independently to be placed at the new center?
We made a mistake of depending on the same few star teachers to shuttle between the two locations, from Bukit Batok to Goldhill, during peak hours. Teachers were exhausted, flustered, and did not have time for proper dinner.
Is there an admin person who can be stationed at the new branch?
We made a mistake of only having teachers around during class, from about 6.30pm onwards. The rest of the time, the branch was closed. Other than reaching us through a WhatsApp number, potential clients had no way to interact with us to enquire.
Perhaps the more detrimental effect was how we appeared to others. We looked like we were not serious about business. It did not inspire confidence.
Have you figured out the success formula?
It is easy to get complacent, and assume that just because the first center was successful, the expansion will be too. Both my expansions did not experience the same success that the first center enjoyed.
Conventional wisdom will tell you that, since you already have the foundation and experience of making the first center a success, it is time to commit more resources to the branch. Even if something goes wrong, the first center is still doing well, right? What is there to fear?
What you may not have considered is that you are now splitting our resources into two places. Many factors are different too, as mentioned in the above few points.
LEASE AND RENOVATION
Can we finally get that state-of-the-art renovation?
Under the influence of complacency, you may sign a bigger lease and incur more costs in renovation. There is a real temptation to splurge on the nice and posh things that you did not dare to splurge on previously, like a bigger TV screen, furniture, etc.
It is easy to overspend on these secondary expenses but forget about the really important things like marketing, hiring, R&D for a different audience.
The planning of a new center will also take up time from your already packed schedule. This is very stressful when you are also the key teacher in your center.
A BETTER SOLUTION
A proper expansion plan takes time to figure out. Meanwhile, when you’re already bursting at the seams on popular time slots, you can rent classrooms by the slots from co-teaching spaces like Tutor Storey.
Build your classes from there while you take your time to do your planning for a branch.
Compared to outright leasing and renovating a new center, renting from Tutor Storey offers the following advantages:
- Fully renovated classrooms of various capacities. Choose the right classroom for your class. Upgrade to a bigger classroom as your class grows.
- Well maintained facilities. No need to fret about cleaning after you use them.
- Accessible location. Our Kovan center is 5 min walk from Heartland Mall / Kovan MRT Station.
- Friendly staff. We have staff to help attend to your students and parents while you set up for lessons.
- Supportive environment. We believe in providing a nurturing, supportive environment. We organize free talks by industry experts. We help you to link up with resources you need to accelerate your growth.
- No conflict of interest. As Tutor Storey does not run our classes, we have no conflict of interest with our tenants. In fact, we want your class to grow.
If you like the idea behind Tutor Storey, and you think that what we provide – the Scalable Space Solutions – works for you or any of your friends, simply visit https://tinyurl.com/34y63td5 to drop an enquiry and we will get in touch.
To your success!