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Increase Career School Profit – 5 Strategies

Imagine your accountant calls and tells you that you have missed your revenue goals for the first quarter. Imagine this accountant tells you that unless you can find a way to increase your income you won’t have enough cash to meet expenses next month. What steps can you take today to make sure you never get this phone call?

In my experience many career schools will define their mission in precise terms and depend on only one or two sources of primary income. Many schools will say “we teach nursing” or “we teach electronics”. Try stepping back and defining your mission as “we convey knowledge and information to help people achieve their goals.” This statement is very broad and allows for a large interpretation of what you are capable of delivering. Here are a few key ways to expand your career school in the upcoming year:

  1. Educate your business community: Presumably most career schools are preparing individuals with skills to work for local businesses and institutions. How many of you spend a percentage of your recruiting time talking to these businesses about your programs? The business community can offer a lot of information on how you can improve your programs to meet their ever changing needs. By developing a relationship with these businesses they will become familiar with your programs and offerings, they may begin to seek you out when they need to hire new personnel.
  2. Develop a sales system: To reach out to these businesses you need to develop a sales system. A system is a method or technique that you have in place to contact these businesses on a regular basis. You should set up a calendar that you refer to when marketing or educating these businesses. You want to send mailings, newsletters, and information about your school in a systematic fashion, i.e. once every two weeks, month, or quarter. You should be physically meeting with these businesses once per year or even more often if you can manage it. The key ingredient to a sales system is regular, planned, and systematic contact.
  3. Develop private training opportunities: In the above steps you are building a relationship with local businesses about your programs and offerings. Once that system is in place you can start using those relationships to increase your revenue even further. These businesses will always have a need to keep their current employees trained on the latest techniques and work processes. Many of these businesses will have unique systems and needs that your school as a “provider of information and knowledge” would be ideal to fill. You can develop personalized and private training seminars and programs based on information you learn from working with these businesses. For example, if you offer training to nurses the local hospital may pay you to develop a private training program for their nurses to teach a course in crisis management.
  4. Expand your bookstore: Many career schools offer a bookstore that is one step up from a broom closet with books stacked on shelves. When a student signs up for a program someone retrieves the textbooks needed for a class and gives them to the student. If you can identify with this then you are selling your bookstore short. There are hundreds of books and other materials that your bookstore can offer that may not be part of the standard curriculum, but could benefit your students. For example, if you offer training in real estate or financial services you can offer books on sales training, computer training, and books on investing in real estate. You could take it a step further by having your instructors use some of these books or equipment in the classroom and recommend them to students, who can then find the products in your bookstore. You could even go the final step and put your bookstore on the Internet and sell your items through an e-commerce site.
  5. Develop custom training materials: As a “provider of information and knowledge” you are an ideal source of new information. You could tap the knowledge of your instructors and current curriculum to develop new custom training materials for current students and local businesses. For example, if you offer training in social services you may write a custom training pack of new employment laws and techniques to sell to your current students and the local businesses who need to keep up with these current trends. You could develop custom training materials as part of a private training contract and sell both materials and the training program.

Combining these strategies with your current marketing programs will develop and enhance your brand image. This brand image translates into brand equity. You can then “spend” some of this equity by putting your name behind or on new products and services. Businesses will come to trust these services and offerings because they know about you and your programs.

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