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Top 10 Rules For Success – when opening and running a language school.


by Ian Simpson


The following link will take you to a video presentation on the same topic by the author

 F-ETJ Event – Nagoya 2106 –  


  1. Have a VISION

– Take time to plan your new school ( or, educational business ). Be sure to write it down ( on a beer mat is ok !!)

Dream big and think small, take small steps to success. Reverse engineer your plan. Start with your “exit strategy” and work backwards to the “start up “. Remember how the demographics of an area change over time, hence the need to think about where you want to be in 20 years time and what you school will become – will ALL the kids in the catchment area have grown up and flown the nest leaving a limited pool of customers ?


2- Create a STRATEGY and decide on a STRATEGIC POSITION

– Aim to create a unique position within the market. What position do you want to occupy, what is vacant ? Trying to be a school that is trying to be “everything to everyone” is like swimming in a red bloody sea of sharks.

Definition :- “Strategy is the creation of a unique and valuable position, involving and different set of activities. That is activities that are different from your rivals or similar but delivered in a different way”- (Michael Porter)

“What is Strategy ? ” – video link – 



– Don’t have fear of failure !!- As Richard Branson says ” screw it , lets do it “. The old way was to write a detailed 5 year business plan – don`t bother. Create an MVP ( minimum viable product) and “get it out there”, get client feedback and then tweak it. When I opened my first school, I gave up my full time job, couldn’t speak Japanese, knew very little about business in Japan, had no savings, 20,000 pounds credit card debt and a house I couldn`t rent back in the UK. The rest is history as they say ( a successful one ). There is never a good time to open a business. However, you don’t have to do it the hard way like me and so many others from years gone by, because now there are many of us who are willing to give free mentoring to new entrants.



  1. Create a BRAND

– Nowadays you cannot build a successful educational business without a strong personal or company brand. Customers must be aware of what you do and who you are ! Website/ Landing pages / Social media/ Corp ID / Slogan / Hashtag / Characters / Mantra .. etc

Brand “relevance” as opposed to brand ” preference “

If you want to be the next big chain school, then work on your corporate brand. If you want to be a small local school business owner, then work on your “ personal online” brand, your physical presence in your area and develop strong community links – and “ do for free” often !



– Communicate your vision and goals to your staff, short and long term. Also to your students . With social media this has never been easier. Choose 2 or 3 appropriate platforms for your business and aim to dominate them. Remember – “person to person” communication is the future, create an “email list” and build a ” tribe”. ( these points link with point 4 above)


  1. Create and deliver VALUE

– Mediocre is NOT enough, aim for high performance in everything that you do in your school. Create original products or services and if you copy existing products , your version must be 10x better than rivals !!



– Are you trying to solve a problem that needs solving ? Try to identify problems in our industry and build solutions to solve them !


  1. Employ and work with GOOD PEOPLE

– Business is a team game so remember this when you teach the young. Give them the skills through your schools to work in teams.

Build partnerships or collaborations, build a team and put the right people in right places. There are A LOT of authentic and honest people out there, you don’t need to work with people who don’t have these qualities !! Platforms like LTP and ETJ are always working hard to bring us together to work in unison.


  1. Contribute to THE GROWTH OF THE INDUSTRY , don’t kill it !!

– Don`t compete on price in your school. Raise your prices and offer greater value. Build the industry. “give first and you will receive later” Don’t chase the money first, because you will inevitably fail ! Become an MTP by developing your  4 -P Process – watch this video link – 


  1. A WORK HARD ethic

– Live it 24/7 – think long term, not short term for success. Set achievable goals and celebrate small victories. No.1 criteria of successful people is PERSISTENCE



TOKYOREAL  ( click on YT and FB links) –

The Edge – Performance Analysis Solutions ( technology for teachers )

Queens Education Co.,Ltd

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