Do you want to start a learning center? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a learning center business with NO money and no experience.
Okay, so we have provided you an in-depth sample learning center business plan template. We also took it further by analyzing and drafting a sample learning center marketing plan backed up by actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for learning centers. In this article, we will be considering all the requirements for starting a learning center business. So put on your entrepreneurial hat and let’s proceed.
Why Start a Learning Center Business?
Education is and will always be an on-going affair. In fact no one is above learning. This is one of the major reasons why the quest for knowledge would continue to be on the increase. The Learning centre business is a viable business and experts would continue to preach its potency.
Learning centres are most times built to provide easy access to an institution or group of institutions and to assist learners who may experience difficulty in completing assignments and courses because they lack access to educational resources, ICT, tutoring and guidance.
A lot of books have discussed the importance of learning centres, and the presence of learning centres in a community may also financially benefit students as they will not need to travel to urban areas and thus avoid the loss of income they would incur if they had to frequently travel to a major centre. Also from a political perspective, all citizens need access to educational opportunities, not just those in selected urban areas. This simply explains the importance of learning centres to the common man.
When planning to start this business, note that a learning centre should be designed to meet the needs of learners and to support their efforts as they strive for educational success. Furthermore, space must be provided for asynchronous and synchronous learning activities, social interaction, and administration.
If you really are determined to start a leaning centre, then you may want to hold on to the information below;
Starting a Learning Center Business – A Complete Guide
- Industry Overview
Industry reports have shown that majority of revenue in this industry comes from tuition or program fees. Gross profits tend to range from 60-90% depending on geographical location and subject matter, and net profit averages between 2-10%. Also as businesses within the industry have grown, they have realized some benefits to scale, but with that growth have often come a difficulty finding qualified instructors.
Experts believe that online training resources, programs and even mobile apps have traditionally been a challenge to the industry, but in recent years, successful educational service providers have found ways to make use of this technology to their great advantage. Not only are these tools helping students learn in new and exciting ways, but they are helping providers manage students, administrative functions and source material distribution more efficiently.
The growth in this industry is in part attributed to the growing global competitive landscape for higher education, and also greater recognition of the value of trade schools. Many folks are realizing that the cost of a college education can saddle a person for life – and are opting to skip college, learn a trade and start making money faster and with less debt.
The general educational services market is large and growing with multiple types of opportunities available for any focused entrepreneur. Reports have it that there are over 100,000 establishments in the private Education Service industry; almost 200,000 when including local, state and federal government institutions; combined, this industry employs over 3.5 million people.
Also on the private side, the industry is largely fragmented – the fifty largest companies represent just 30% of the total revenue in the industry. Reports also stated that just last year alone, there were 55 million students attending school in grades K-12, all of whom are potential clients for learning services.
Note that business opportunities in the learning centres industry are not limited to tutoring school age kids in subjects like math and science – opportunities abound in childcare and early education, career education, art, dance, adult language, test preparation and even driving.
Starting a Learning Center Business – Market Feasibility and Research
- Demographics and Psychographics
Starting a learning centre gives you the opportunity to offer educational lessons to students of all ages regarding any special skill sets that you have. Note that a good successful learning is flexible because your students will have very different needs: some are struggling with classes in school, some are studying for college entrance exams, and others may be adult learners who need to master certain skills to benefit their employment.
We strongly believe that this business is ideal for current and former teachers, which is why many teachers begin their learning business as a part-time job. For you to be able to do this business, you must be a people person as most of the business is aimed at direct interaction with others. It helps to be good with children of all ages as they comprise the vast majority of your customers.
It is also important to state that the best customers for a learning centre are regular ones. This is because you are charging an hourly fee (and should not really be charging any other kinds of fees on top of that), some of your best customers will be those whose parents are trying to help them succeed with a subject in school.
Note that if they reach out to you early enough, your learning centre might be taking them for a semester or two—anywhere between 16 and 32 weeks. But apart from that, some of your best customers will be college students and adult learners as these are the groups that realize those sessions with you are an investment.
List of Niche ideas in the Learning centers Industry
You should know that learning centres work with people of all ages, helping them acquire educational skills they lack. Estimates have shown that the private learning and tutoring market is experiencing rapid growth; it is on pace to become a $100 billion industry in 2017.
Have it in mind that starting an educational learning centre gives you the opportunity to get involved with a business trend that is headed in the right direction. This business also gives you the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children every day. But before opening an educational learning centre, several steps must be completed. One of these steps is to choose a specific niche. Niches available on this industry may include;
- Science learning centre
- Art learning centre
- Communication centre
- Drama centre
- Math centre
- Middle school students centre
- High school students centre
- College students centre
- Professional education centres
- Learning centre for the disable
- Online learning centre
Level of Competition in the Learning Center Business
We believe that the revenue for the Learning Centre industry has contracted steadily in the past five years. States have struggled to fund industry centres since the recession, a lot of which rely heavily on public funding. Also declining workforce participation reduced demand for learning centre services over the period, leading to the closure of a lot of businesses in the industry.
Even though a lot of parents will return to the workforce in the next five years, state budgetary issues will persist, and the industry is expected to continue its decline through 2021. But note that a lot of private businesses in the industry will grow due to higher levels.
It is also very important to state that the industry shows low market share concentration, with only one single operator claiming more than 5.0% of industry revenue. Businesses in the industry tend to service local markets and as such, do not experience significant expansion.
We believe this is especially true for learning centres that rely on government funding. Just in New York state alone, as much as 279 programs are listed as accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Low market share concentration is expected to continue going forward in the industry.
List of Well-Known Learning Centers
- Sylvan Learning Centres
- Eye level learning centre
- American learning centre
- Centre for teaching excellence
- STEM Centre USA
- Creative kids learning centre
- Little learning schools
- Oxford learning
- Huntington Learning Centre
- Challenger learning centre
Have it in mind that the business model for a Learning Centre business is very straightforward: you typically charge clients a fixed hourly fee. This fee should accurately represent both your education and experience in the chosen field while taking into account the average price of your competition in the area.
Also to an extent, the size of a Learning Centre business is limited by its nature. It is very much possible for a successful tutor to eventually start this business with multiple tutors as employees, but it needs large amounts of additional time, funds, and licenses, and a lot of learning centre owners enjoy their business because it has a low overhead and they maintain schedule flexibility and business autonomy.
It is also important that you understand the success of your learning centre business is entirely dependent on your hourly rate and the number of students you have at any given time. For example, if you stay relatively busy, tutoring for 30 hours a week and charging a minimum of $30 per hour, your annual wages would be $46,800 gross income.
This literally jumps to $62,400 gross income, though, if you charge $40 per hour. Obviously, that amount can go higher with more hours and/or a higher hourly charge, but we advise that you should be mindful of the season: summer typically has much fewer students than other seasons because your primary clients—students-are mostly out of school.
Starting a Learning Centre from Scratch or Buying a Franchise
Indeed you must have noted that starting you own company is a daunting task, especially if you are looking at the final goal instead of the step in front of you. One of the first decisions you will have to make is whether to start your own business from scratch or invest in an existing franchise. So here are four reasons to consider before buying a learning centre franchise.
- Working with a proven business model
- Building for the Future with Fulfilling Work
- Brand recognition and marketing support
- Support for Yourself While You Support Others
Possible Threats and Challenges of Starting a Learning Center
Learning centres are always in demand. They are needed to help students keep up with material presented in class as well as stimulate the minds of gifted students. Also a lot of individuals need learning centres to help them pass important examinations or prepare for advanced education.
You need adequate planning to be able to survive in this business, but you can typically start out on a budget and gradually expand your business over time. Here are a few challenges of starting a learning centre;
- Developing your curriculum
- Registering your learning centre as a company
- Renting space
- Writing a business plan
- Choosing a suitable marketing strategy
Starting a Learning Center Business – Legal Aspect
- Best legal entity for a Learning Centre in the United States
Starting a learning centre that will cater for students is a serious business so the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big you want the business to grow. No doubt choosing a legal entity for your business can be a bit challenging, but since you will be working with individual students and probably huge educational institutions, we advise that you incorporate your business as a legal body because it may be difficult for you to get their attention if they know you are running the business as a private individual, not a corporate firm. Advantages incorporating your business include…
- Protecting your personal assets
- Have Easier Access to Capital
- Enhancing Your Business’ Credibility
- Perpetual Existence
- Gain anonymity
Catchy Business Name ideas for a Learning Centre
- Success Approach
- ACE centre
- Red Apple Teaching
- Lively learning Centre
- Brilliant Minds
- Click Studies
- Club Z! Centre
- Intelligent Learning Centre
- Educational Endeavours
- Revolving Tutoring
- Science centre
- Maths Legends
- Main stone Learning Centre
- Ivy League centre
- Learning crib
- Special Kids
- Clean Step Academy
- NYC Private centre
- Over Achievers Academy
- Future legends
- Precision Academy
- Art World
- Chicago Test Prep
- Tertiary Education
- Simple minds
- Lecture Point
- Friday Educational Group
- Detroit Learning
- Premium centre
- The Study Shack
- Learning Company
- Academic Doctor
- Education And More
When starting this business, you need to cover yourself as a business owner from potential lawsuits by purchasing business insurance. But right before you purchase insurance, you must first have a solid business plan that states your risks as a business owner and how you plan to cover those risks. Have it in mind that not all of your risks as a business owner can be covered simply by purchasing a basic insurance policy. You must first know what your risks are.
This is why to identify the risks of your business you can simply consult with an attorney or even an insurance professional. Note that the risks for a learning centre business can be very huge because of the many different exposures involved with your business activities.
But before paying costly fees for an attorney’s advice, we can at least help you to identify some of the potential claims that could arise and which insurance coverage would protect you in the event of a claim. There are a number of risk management controls you can put in place:
- Privacy Statement
- Information Security Policy (you can find some great templates for Information Security policies on SANS website)
- Customer Contract Revision Provisions
- Standard Customer Contracts
- Standard Agreements for Vendors
- Recall Plan
- Vendor Certification Process
- Quality Control Program
- Obtaining Customer signatures on each phase of the project
Insurance Policy You Will Need May Include;
- General Liability Insurance
- Professional Liability Insurance
- Workers compensation insurance
- Commercial Auto Liability Insurance
Intellectual Property Protection
When organising or planning your learning centre business, you should also consider going for intellectual property protection to be able to protect your intellectual property. Filing for intellectual property protection for your Educational Consultancy Firm goes beyond protecting your company’s logo and other documents, but also protecting your investments, patents and of course the name of your company.
If you want to file for intellectual property protection and also register your trademark in the United States, then you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO. The final approval of your trademark is subjected to the review of attorneys as required by the USPTO.
Is Professional Certification Needed to Run a Learning Center Business?
Learning centres are independent academic units within colleges and universities that exist to give support services, and to aid teaching faculties to improve their teaching and professional development. Note that they may also provide learning support services for students depending on the individual institution. For you to be able to remain relevant in the industry, you need to keep staying current with industry trends and certifications, some of which are;
- Learning Centre Leadership Certification
- Certified Training and Development Professional (CTDP)
- Institute of teaching and development certification
- LCE Certification
- ATD Certification
- Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP)
Legal Documents Needed For a Learning Centre Business
When starting this business, you need to register your business with the IRS. All businesses should apply for an EIN (employee identification number) on the IRS website. The process is free, and you can submit the application online. Your EIN is required for filing for a business license.
The exact process and requirements for applying for business license differ from state to state, so you should contact your local business authority for details on how to register your learning centre business in your state. Note that some states may need you to have special certifications or permits, but other states like South Carolina, do not. These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own learning centre business in the United States of America;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License and Certification
- Business Plan
- Non – disclosure Agreement
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Consulting contract documents
- Apostille (for those who intend operating beyond the United States of America)
Financing your Learning Centre
When looking to secure funds for your learning centre, we strongly advise that you pursue funding from investors or by getting a loan from a commercial lender. When working with a lender, the money must be paid back at some point. If you bring on investors, your future profits must be shared. Note that both investors and lenders need a copy of your business plan before they will think about giving you the money you need. Ways to finance your learning centre may include…
- Debt Financing
- Personal savings
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Applying for loan from your bank
- Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from donor organizations and angel investors
Choosing a Suitable Location for your Learning Center Business
In this business, the size, layout, location and appearance should all boost your centre operations while respecting zoning and environmental regulations. We all know that facilities come in a wide variety of shapes and prices, which is why you need to know what your needs are and how much you can afford to pay.
If you have worked on a business plan, you probably know the amount you can spend on rent or a mortgage, utilities and taxes. We strongly believe that a cash-flow analysis will aid you know whether you can afford to purchase a commercial property or if renting is your only viable option. Things to consider when choosing a suitable location for your learning centre include;
- If it’s the right location
- Does it require modification?
- Tax and infrastructure
- Allowing for future growth
- Separate your needs from your wants
Starting a Learning Center Business – Technical and Manpower Requirements
Staffing a learner centre with appropriately qualified individuals can be a significant challenge, but you should know that quality staff is key to the centre’s success. Note that in order to help learners succeed and take responsibility for their learning, learning centre staff must be able to encourage students, provide a safe environment in which students are treated with respect, and offer reasonable and ethical support that is mindful of students’ privacy.
Have it in mind that your learning centre staff must be intrinsically motivated to help others. Indeed it can be difficult to find individuals with the necessary people and technical skills to staff learning centres. Yet preference should be given to selecting staff who display above-average people skills.
Since the successful operation of today’s learning centres involves ICTs, it is essential that learning centre staff know how to use them. Individuals who are organized, technologically inclined or savvy, and have basic accounting skills may help make sure that the centre runs successfully. Then funds would be handled by a central organization or via mobile phone money-transfer software so that learning centre staff will not be tempted by corruption or get susceptible to robberies.
Note that immediately learning centre staff are hired, they must be informed about the institution’s programs, its admission and registration procedures as well as the services that are offered or could be offered at the centre. We believe that the key role for staff would be obtaining feedback from students and forwarding it to institutional personnel as well as tracking whether or not students’ concerns have been addressed.
The two-way capability of today’s technology has allowed the world to come to the learner and the learner to reach out beyond his or her environment. Note that technology has become an essential component of today’s educational system. We believe that it can facilitate effective and efficient communication and help students to obtain the information they need to succeed.
We also believe that the mere presence of ICTs will not make sure that people learn; people must be shown how to use ICTs so as to obtain the information they seek and to analyse what they find. Without much word, the information and the procedures involved in seeking information must be in a language that people can understand. Currently, 57% of the Internet is in the English language while only 16% of the world’s 7 billion people speak any English at all.
Wikipedia, for example, offers its content in 286 different languages. Note that the success of any educational program involving technology is highly dependent on the capabilities, confidence and enthusiasm of the staff at the learning centre. This simply means there is a need to ensure that learning centre staffs are able to use the technology and to re-orient learners who may be accustomed to traditional classroom instructional methods.
The Service Process Involved in a Learning Center Business
We all know that University professors, part-time instructors, or teaching assistants approach teaching as experts in their field, but it doesn’t in any way guarantee success in teaching, as teaching expertise is entirely a different matter. We believe that a lot of instructors have not been trained in teaching methods, and may have difficulties passing contents and concepts to students, who are relative laymen in the field.
We also believe that novice students approach the information and contents in a course in a much different way than expert teachers, and teachers may not know the conceptual divide between them and their students. Meaning that most time novice students may perceive the contents of lectures and textbooks as large amounts of information, rather than as meaningful concepts, in contrast to experts, who can naturally see the materials as coherent and meaningful due to years of expertise.
Also individuals who depend on traditional teacher-centred methods such as pure lecture may inadvertently subject students to an information dump, or fail to flow with students at a conceptual level, leaving students unable to learn or retain information in a meaningful way and approach.
Starting a Learning Center Business – The Marketing Plan
- Marketing strategies for a Learning Centre
Indeed the presence of a learning centre in a particular location does not mean that it will be used. That is because learning centres, institutions, and programs must be marketed and the benefits of the centre proactively sold. We all know that marketing strategies could emphasize the need for life-long learning or the potential impact the centre could have on members of the public once they become aware of new ideas and developments beyond their location.
Even though individuals may understand the gain of an educational program, they may not be able to pay for the program in the traditional manner. Instead of making one large payment upfront for each semester or academic year, learning centres might consider implementing pay-as-you go models, where students only pay for one course at a time or pay hourly. Things to have in mind when developing a marketing plan for your learning centre may include;
- Determine conditions for success
- Ascertain the amount people are willing to pay
- Establish partnerships
- Find managers
- Differentiate service
Strategies for Boosting your Learning Center Brand Awareness and Creating a Corporate identity
Have it in mind that the primary path to a more profitable Learning centre is more students, and the primary path to more students is more advertising. In addition to the previously-mentioned advertising via print, television, social media, and networking with local schools and community centres, you might consider offering free workshops or seminars at local schools and colleges.
We believe this will help you both advertise your services and demonstrate your value to potential customers. You should also consider guest publishing on educational blogs or blogs related to your field—this will indeed help you become more of an established name when someone is looking for more specialized instruction. Other things to bear in mind may include;
- Motivate your students
- Employ two-stage implementation process
- Develop entrepreneurial skills
- Use open educational resources