Do you want to start a computer training center? If YES, here’s a complete guide to starting a computer training center with NO money and no experience.
A computer training center is a place where individuals come to learn how to access the various benefits of a computer. The lessons offered can range from the very basic to the utterly advanced. We can say that a computer training center is a very lucrative business opportunity.
Starting and operating this business is not a daunting task once you know what to prepare. The requirements for starting a computer training center are not much, but you have to keep in mind that this business thrives on quality control.
After each training session, you should be able to ask students to fill out a survey grading the quality of the course. Always encourage students to give feedback on the structure of the course, the quality of the learning materials and the instructor’s command of the subject.
This is not a business you jump into half baked; it needs a teacher that is able to bridge the gap between technology and its practical applications. By paying attention to the feedback from your students, you can make the necessary changes to your course offering and the structure of your classes to increase the quality of your service.
We all can agree that computers are crucial in our everyday activities. The advent of technology has made things easy as we can now organize our home finances or run our business but only if we know how to use the software. This is why opening and operating a computer training center can be very lucrative.
Steps to Starting a Computer Training Center
Table of Content
- 2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- 3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On
- 4. Know the Major Competitors in the Industry
- 5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
- 11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
- 12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
- 13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
- 14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
- 15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
- 16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies
- 17. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
- 18. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers
- 19. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
1. Understand the Industry
You need to understand that majority of the 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 out to between 2 and 10%.
Also as businesses within the industry have grown, they have realized some benefits to scale – lower fixed costs and greater operational efficiency; but with that growth has often come a difficulty finding qualified instructors.
Industry reports have it that the growing adoption of bring your own device (BYOD) is one of the key factors that will have a positive impact on the growth of this industry in the coming years. Experts believe that increased adoption of BYOD policy by industry businesses across the globe will slowly lead to the acceptance of corporate-owned personally enabled (COPE) policy.
We believe that this will help businesses avoid the need to manage a wide range of devices while delivering information and will enable computer training centres to cater to a wide customer base by offering advanced mobile-compliant features such as learning management systems (LMS) that induce social learning.
Industry reports have also stated that the growing acceptance of wearable technology will be one of the major trends that will gain traction in this market in the coming years.
But then the application of wearable technology are in its initial stages, businesses in the industry will soon start adopting wearable technology to enhance the quality and outcome of their training programs which will compel e-learning service providers to start offering solutions based on wearable technology to cater to their end-user requirements.
Experts believe that online training resources, programs and even mobile apps have traditionally been a challenge to the industry; but in recent years, successful industry 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 distributions more efficiently.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
Computers and all it has to offer are among the most wonderful tools available, but that’s if you know how to use them effectively. If you don’t, you quickly learn the true meaning of frustration.
Computer training is a hot field and the worldwide market for technical computer training is nearing the $28 billion mark, with an annual average of $8,200 spent for information systems staff training and $3,000 per person spent on general staff training.
This is why you can specialize in the software program or programs you know best; in a field you’re familiar with like law or medicine; or, if you’ve got a broad base of software smarts, you can be a computer G.P., training clients in a wide variety of programs and packages.
Also if you have the relevant knowledge, you can also work one-on-one with individual clients or train a roomful of employees at a time for corporations.
One of the key benefits of this business is that you will be working with lots of different people, helping people overcome computer-phobia and because you have to keep up with the ever-changing technology and software updates, you’ve got the best excuse in the world for buying new computer goodies on regular basis.
Note that you ideal clients can be private individuals or corporate types who want to make their employees computer-literate.
But then to get the business from private parties, know that you will have to create relationships with computer retailers and ask them to refer customers to you. Individual students, job seekers and also employees of businesses who want development can be your potential consumers
3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On
This business is indeed an ideal business for a computer-savvy entrepreneur. Starting and running a computer training centre with some other value added services can be a profitable and self-rewarding business, but the only criteria needed is that you have to be knowledgeable enough about computers and internet.
You need to know that the demand is growing for computer literate professionals. Before you start getting documents or analyzing strategies, you have to create a detailed business plan.
In your business plan you have to reason out your business ownership pattern, calculate total startup capital needed including establishment, resources and marketing expenses. What are the training and value added services you are going to offer?
Design curriculum professionally for your computer training centre, fix the pricing, plan about your staffing, create a marketing plan with advertising and marketing policy, identify your business demographic and target niche. The niches you might consider in this business will depend on how you intend to train individuals or people.
- You can train clients in their homes, through local classes, or virtually via the Internet.
- You can target personal computer users, home-based business owners and even larger companies.
- You can work one-on-one with clients, or teach computer classes to groups.
- Your business can provide a broad range of training services or focus on specific software.
- You can sell training materials to bolster your services and increase your income.
- You get to use all of the latest computer equipment and software every day in your business.
Level of Competition in the Industry
Reports have it that due to the presence of several international and regional corporate training companies, the market appears to be highly fragmented. We believe that the market is complex and dynamic and is not dominated by any major vendor.
In addition to existing vendors, the market’s growth potential will also attract several new players which would intensify the level of competition in the already competitive market. This is why to stay ahead of the competition, industry businesses who offer traditional computer training solutions have started providing online blended and virtual training sessions.
They also have the need to offer customized solutions that address the unique business training needs of their target customers. This industry is segmented into two, Technical and Non-technical. Reports have it that the technical segment accounted for the major market shares and dominated the industry during 2015.
The increase in number of organizations across the globe that strongly emphasize on the development of technical skills related to productivity and operations will drive the market’s growth prospects in the coming years.
Reports also had it that North America will be the major revenue contributor to the market throughout the next four years. The presence of several MNCs and large organizations in countries such as the US that increasingly invest in adopting online training methods, will ginger up the demand for computer training in this region.
4. Know the Major Competitors in the Industry
- City & Guilds Kineo
- GP Strategies
- MHI Global
- Computer Generated Solutions
- Global Training Solutions
- Interaction Associates
- New Horizons Computer training centres
- Tata Interactive Systems
- Wilson Learning Worldwide
The need to own and use a computer has experienced good growth over the last five years and is expected to continue its growth momentum to reach approximately US $282 billion in 2019 with a CAGR of 3.3% over the next five years.
Experts believe that increasing technological innovations such as the introduction of new ultraportable thin laptops and all-in-one PCs that save space and enable users to manage their workloads and information more efficiently are expected to drive the industry over the same period.
Reports have it that the key factors that will drive the need to own and use computers are growing Internet usage, rising incomes, growing computer education, and increasing urbanization with the evolution of consumers’ lifestyles.
The use of applications such as e-mail, social networking sites, and Internet access are increasingly happening through media tablets and smartphones, which form key industry challenges.
The business model for a computer training centre business is very straightforward: you typically charge clients a fixed hourly fee. Note that this fee should accurately represent both your education and experience in the field and should also account for the average price of your competition in the area.
Also to an extent, the size of a computer training centre business is limited by its nature. It’s very much possible for a successful tutor to eventually run this business with multiple tutors as employees, but that needs large amounts of additional time, funds, and licenses, and a lot of computer training centre owners enjoy their business specifically because it has a low overhead and they maintain schedule flexibility and business autonomy.
Also note that the success of your computer training centre is in a large proportion dependent on your hourly rate and the number of students you have at any given time.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
Starting a computer training centre from the scratch can be very risky. But then there are several advantages of buying into an existing computer training franchise. A franchise computer training company will be able to give you important advice on what kind of location to look for, how to market to clients and what kind of teachers to hire.
A franchise company can also help you get the certifications you need to offer specified trainings. Also have it in mind that the years of marketing exposure and experience a franchise computer training company brings to the table can also help your company to be more recognizable to potential clients.
A franchise computer training company will help you keep your costs under control while offering you a proven name in the training industry. Other benefits or reasons to consider buying a computer training centre franchise are…
- 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
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
Computer training centres are always in demand. They are needed to bring people up to speed with the various functions of the computer. But as you plan to venture into this business, you need adequate planning to be able to survive.
Indeed you can typically start out on a budget and gradually expand your business over time. Here are the few challenges of starting a computer training centre;
- Renting space
- Writing a business plan
- Choosing a suitable marketing strategy
- Choosing a niche for yourself
- Developing your curriculum
- Registering your computer training centre as a company
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity
You should take this part of starting a computer training centre very seriously, because the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big you want the business to grow. Indeed choosing a legal entity for your business can be a tiring and challenging.
But since you will be working with individual students and probably huge computer training centres, we strongly suggest 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 includes…
- Growing Your Business’ Credibility
- Perpetual Existence
- Gain anonymity
- Protecting your personal assets
- Have Easier Access to Capital
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name from the ideas Below
- Future legends
- Precision Academy
- Art World
- Computer Prep
- Tertiary Education
- Simple minds
- Lecture Point
- Friday computer Group
- Detroit Learning
- Premium centre
- The Study Shack
- Learning Company
- Academic Doctor
- Education And More
- Success Approach
- ACE centre
- Red Apple Teaching
- Lively computer training centre
- Brilliant Minds
- Click Studies
- Club Z! Centre
9. Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
By right before you buy 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. You need to understand that not all of your risks as a business owner can be covered simply by purchasing a basic insurance policy.
The risks for a computer training centre business can be very huge because of the exposures involved with your business activities. But then there are a number of risk management controls you can put in place:
- Standard Agreements for Vendors
- Recall Plan
- Vendor Certification Process
- Quality Control Program
- Obtaining Customer signatures on each phase of the project
- 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
Insurance you will need may include;
- General Liability Insurance
- Professional Liability Insurance
- Workers compensation insurance
- Commercial Auto Liability Insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
Filing for intellectual property protection for your computer training centre is not just about 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 USPTO.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
Having a computer certification gives concrete proof to your skill level with a product, platform or methodology. In this age, the more you know the more valuable you are. If you are employed, you can increase your job security by achieving professional certification.
If you are unemployed, there’s no better time to invest in yourself by updating your technical computer skills. Proving your knowledge by means of a current certification can help set you apart from the competition.
- A+ Certification
- MCITP: Server Administrator (MCSA)
- MCITP: Enterprise Administrator (MCSE)
- CISCO CCNA
- IT Administrator Program
- IT Engineer Program
- SAP Certification – Financial Accounting
- SAP Certification – Management Accounting
- SAP Certification – HR Management etc.
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
It’s very necessary that you register your business with the IRS. Note that all businesses are advised to 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 needed for filing for a business license. We believe that the exact process and requirements for applying for a business license differ from state to state, which is why we suggest you contact your local business authority for details on how to register your computer training business with your state.
Note that some states may need you to have special certifications or permits; however, other states such as 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 computer training centre business in the United States of America;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License and Certification
- Business Plan
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Insurance Policy
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
It’s you duty to get funding for your computer training centre, which is why we suggest that you pursue funding from investors or by getting a loan from a commercial lender. Have it in mind when working with a lender that 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 computer training centre may include…
- Applying for loan from your bank/banks
- Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from donor organizations and angel investors
- Debt Financing
- Personal savings
- Raising money from investors and business partners
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
You need to understand that the size, layout, location and appearance of your business should boost your centre’s operations while respecting zoning and environmental regulations.
Indeed business locations and facilities come in a large variety of shapes, locations and prices, which is why you need to know what your needs are and how much you can afford to pay. But then if you’ve worked on a business plan, you should then know the amount you can spend on rent or a mortgage, utilities and taxes.
A cash-flow analysis should be able to help 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 computer training 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
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
You need to understand that employing appropriately qualified individuals can be a significant challenge for your business, but you should know that quality staff is key to your centre’s success.
For you to help learners succeed and take responsibility for their learning, computer training centre staff must be able to encourage students, to provide a safe environment in which students are treated with respect, and to offer reasonable and ethical support that is mindful of students’ privacy.
The ideal staff for this business must be intrinsically motivated to help others. Indeed it can be difficult to find individuals with the necessary people and technical skills to staff computer training centres. Preference should be given to selecting staff who display above-average people skills; technical skills such as handling software and hardware may often be taught more easily.
Note that you would need at least 10 personal computer units to start a computer training centre. The number of computers actually differs according to the space you have available, as well as your budget.
Apart from computers, you need to have the necessary software to train students with. The computers should also be up to date, with the latest processors and operating systems. To stay clear of legal troubles and to protect your reputation as a businessman, ensure to use genuine and licensed software only. It would do you no good to use pirated programs even if they may be cheaper and easier to procure.
Teaching is a talent, not a skill that is learned in school. Teachers can only be called such if they get their points across to their audience, and if the students learn enough to acquire a new skill. In a computer training centre, the knowledge level of your students range from the ignorant to those with some background but wish to learn more.
Because of this, you need good teachers that have the skill to deal with different kinds of students. Anyone can become a teacher in a computer training centre, just as long as they have the necessary knowledge in what they will be teaching.
We also advice that you gain proficiency in various computer programs that are useful in the business world. Some such programs such as word processing, presentation, database and spreadsheet programs, are ubiquitous across most industries, so learning to use them in every aspect may prove beneficial to you.
We agree that such programs’ ubiquity means that a lot of professionals can use them to some degree, but most professionals do not have a deep understanding of them. But you can make yourself useful by providing training on their more advanced aspects.
The Service Delivery process of the Business
In every lucrative business, the vision drives the details, and the details shape the vision. Therefore, a good outcome depends on a good design. It requires knowledge of how people learn, and it deserves a lot of time and care. Identifying the process of learning in your computer training centre might be a very challenging task but it’s one that will become the life of your centre.
Set your sights
Understand the solution in terms of optimizing learning, the users’ expectations, the client’s business requirements, and your own constraints. This includes the following:
- Time and money constraints on design, development, testing, and dissemination
- Life expectancy of the document and maintenance requirements
- Distribution channel(s)
- Level of multimedia
- Level of interactivity
- Business goals and learning objectives
- The minimal computer configuration for target users
- Available authoring tools and multimedia editing tools
Organise the users’ experience
We suggest that you eschew the old-fashioned model of the user as an empty vessel to be filled with knowledge. Determine the following:
- Appropriate mood to support the purpose and appeal to the users (mood can be reflected in tone, graphics, colours, and fonts)
- Prerequisite knowledge you can expect from your users
- Big-picture learning goals of the project
- Specific and observable learning objectives the users must reach
- Measurements your client will use to consider whether the training is successful
- Size of the average learning module
- Whether users should go through the modules in a predetermined sequence or access individual modules as needed
- How users will navigate from one module to the next
Design and test
Don’t make the mistake of assuming to know your users’ preferences. A lot of computer learning is complex, cognitive and psychological. It’s different for everyone. A sampling of users will help to guide your decisions. The purpose of a good design is to prevent frustrating and wasteful rewrites.
- Create a storyboard for one module, proposing a “look-and-feel” for the CBT.
- Get feedback from target users and buy-in from all stakeholders.
- Make a paper or computer-generated prototype of each section, representing the navigation elements.
- Test the prototype with target users and get feedback from them as well as buy-in from stakeholders.
- Make a prototype of each section.
- Once again, get feedback from users and buy-in from stakeholders.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies
Have it in mind that the presence of a computer training centre in a particular location does not mean that it will be used. That is because computer training centres, institutions, and programs must be marketed and the benefits of the centre proactively sold.
You need to understand that marketing strategies could emphasize the need for, and advantages of 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.
We suggest you publish advertisement on newspapers and conduct free workshops on your offered services detailing the benefits of the courses. Also try to give some value addition with your courses like job assistance or career assistance. Don’t forget to establish an effective online presence for your computer training centre.
Go for some social media campaign. Regularly update your blog focusing on how computer advancement affects the workplace and how training in new applications can help students advance at work. Other things that might help you achieve marketing success include…
- Determine conditions for success
- Ascertain the amount people are willing to pay
- Establish partnerships
- Find managers
- Differentiate service
17. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
A computer training centre can be advertised via more traditional means such as a professional website, advertisements in local newspapers and on television, etc. But know that your ideal clients or students will likely favour online browsing and interaction, and you are likely to make just as much of an impact by creating a social media presence and allowing word of mouth to help you advertise.
We believe the word of mouth is especially important especially if your trying to reach private clients or students. You can also…
- Conduct Free Value-Driven Webinars
- Create branded pdf reports
- Refer Service to Get Services In Return
- Give 100% Commission on a Front End service
18. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers
Note that attracting initial customers is primarily a matter of the aforementioned marketing techniques. You need to understand that your business is providing potential solutions to to the growing need of this age. So for you to retain customers, you must demonstrate that you can offer the value they are hoping for.
- Let students know what your doing for them
- Focus on becoming a dependency
- Listen to them
- Keep your eyes open for external environment changes
- Know your weakness
- Set and meet students expectations
- Nail the first impression
- Always be adding value
- Improve competitive advantage
- Build ‘sticky’ customer loyalty
19. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
The key to becoming lucrative in this business is in your students, and the only way to gain 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.
It will go a long way in helping you advertise your services and demonstrate your value to potential customers. We also suggest that you think of guest-publishing on educational blogs or blogs related to your field, it 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