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I ask this question because those of you who have progressed beyond your one room/ one teacher English school, now have a business. Its worth remembering at this point that from now on you should be focusing on “working on your business, not in your business” , that is assuming that you want to scale it ?



However, too many of us remain bogged down with menial tasks that are perhaps important to delivering a value product but should be doing done by someone else, allowing you to concentrate on growing your business.



Hence I ask the question, “ Do you have a Virtual Assistants ( VA ) or a School Management System ( SMS ) ? “ There are various ways that could improve the Operational efficiency ( OE ) of you business, and these two are not mutually exclusive.



You, as the person responsible for growing your business, should be focusing on your business Strategy. OE, is vital for your business, but OE is NOT strategy ! ( for more on developing an English School Strategy – please refer to the following link on – click on   You Tube link – click on – playlists – Ian Simpson – “ mini-lecture series “ – lectures 1-5 on Strategy. ( and please SUBSCRIBE )



School Management Systems    –  A smart SMS can be a great way to take the workload off your staff and be sure to put a smile on their face. To build your own from scratch can involve a lot of work and cost. However, you don’t need to because there are some adequate systems you can use already on the market. I use a SMS called “ MyTPE” , Team Performance Exchange. It has the usual features of :- the ability to send group emails, online booking and calendar, data input and creating lesson and report cards. It also has a questionnaire feature and discussion forum. With a “live” timeline, you can upload photos and videos and share them with selected students, which give you a social media “facebook” type option in addition to sending your students quality feedback for ongoing discussion online. All this is password secure and private, as the administrator, you have complete control over access to and use of the platform – pretty neat ! ( see photo )




Virtual Assistants  –    This is basically a modern term for outsourcing. Remember, you cannot be an expert at everything, and trying to learn to be one is not necessary. TOP TIP #1 – Try and hire staff who are multi-skilled. For example, if you have a teacher who can also build websites and another who is a whizz on social media , then this can save you a lot of money. There are various VA companies such as Fiverr, Upwork ( formerly Elance-oDesk) and Virtual Staff Finder, to name but a few. In recent years I have used these to design my logos, marketing resources, creating websites, writing my e-books and video editing my TOKYOREAL podcasts. I also use a VA company called THE EDGE to teach all my online lessons for my schools.-



You can get almost anything done that you require for a very reasonable price. If you want to think outside the box somewhat, there is no reason why you cannot become a “Virtual CEO” and run you company using VA`s. You can also employ fulltime VA staff to work for you !



Keep thinking outside the box, and push the limits of your performance.


Ian Simpson  —   Performance Hacker.


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