The number of people looking for a school for vocational courses to prepare for the job market has been growing every year. According to data from the National Household Sample Survey, released by IBGE (2014) , 40 million Brazilians were interested in taking professional qualification courses. This is because these courses, for the most part, offer a shorter schedule compared to university courses and more practical and dynamic content.
To meet this demand, several professionals bet on sharing their knowledge and market practices and, with this, create their own schools of professional courses. If you are one of those people, congratulations, you are entering a huge segment!
But you must be wondering:
- where to start
- How not to fall into the most common mistakes?
- Do you need a lot of investment?
- How to start with something fast without too much risk to test the business model?
- How do I attract more students to scale my school?
Before answering all of that, we need to go back to the base and remember that “if you want to cut down a tree in half the time, spend twice as much grinding the ax”.
Well, creating a good vocational school requires good planning behind it. So, to help you succeed in your business, we have taken a step by step of what you will need to kick-start the good results.
What will you read in this article?
- How to open a vocational school: plan your business
- Analyze well the market you will enter
- Identify the audience for your course
- Define your course structure
- Infrastructure and location
- Marketing: how to attract the right students
- Why invest in distance education
How to open a vocational school: plan your business
1. Analyze well the market you will enter
There are several schools of vocational courses on the market and, to decide the teaching area you will work in, it takes a lot of research! But, have you thought about which area of teaching you will work in?
To facilitate your visualization, we will give you some examples, such as: marketing, sales, people management, programming, etc. It is clear that, within the area you choose, it is possible to make several developments of content.
At this point, you should also think about whether you will choose to enter a niche market, betting on a more personalized content for a small but loyal audience, as is the case of Brasil Postos, which offers courses with practices related to the management of posts of gasoline . Or you will go to the mass market, with broader themes and with a larger audience, like an English course, for example . To help you decide, ideally, you should do market research.
There are several ways to do market research ranging from an online questionnaire to specialist consultants on the subject, it will be up to you (and your budget) to decide which option makes the most sense for your business.
If you choose an online questionnaire, there are several tools (paid and free) that can help you, such as:
- Google Forms
The construction of your questionnaire will vary according to the education segment you choose and the type of information you want to collect, whether it is qualitative or quantitative. However, there are some general questions you can ask, such as:
- How old are you?
- What is your gender?
- What is the average income of the people who live with you?
- Where do you live?
- Are you willing to spend up to how much at a vocational school?
2. Identify the audience for your course
At this stage, you need to know what your persona is, that is, to whom you will produce your course and to whom you will sell it later. Who is your student?
For this, it is necessary that you identify your target audience and your persona. Did you think the two were the same?
The target audience is made up of the social, demographic and socio-economic definition of the people you want to reach. Here, the data analyzed is more general, such as:
- Region of the country where you live
- Average income
- marital status
Your persona is what you could call the ideal customer for your business. When defining, you can define:
For you to see better, we have separated two examples: the first, is of a target audience; while the second is from a persona. Notice the difference between the two.
Cariocas, residents of the southern zone, between 18 and 25 years old, single and with an average income of R $ 4 thousand.
Juliana is 25 years old, lives in the Moema neighborhood in São Paulo, is married and has two children. She works at a bank during the day and, at night, she divides between the post and caring for the home and family. On weekends, Juliana likes to visit her parents in a country town.
- Need to identify your ideal student? Download our e-book kit + persona template + creation tool to create your persona in a detailed and assertive way
3. Define your course structure
The next step in opening your vocational school is to think about your course structure, which you should consider:
- The way the content will be divided, that is, if they will be by:
- Individual classes
- Package with the entire course
- The way your students will enter your school:
- Curriculum analysis
- The shifts in which the courses will be offered:
- Registration period:
- Annually – or some other monthly period
- As the classes close
4. Infrastructure and location
Analyze the infrastructure of the physical location that will house your school for professional courses, as it should take into account:
- The number of students you plan to enroll
- If it offers security to students
- If the location is easily accessible and close to public transport
- The flow of people in the region, even to work on the image of the school
- If there are eating places nearby
The definition of your infrastructure will also depend on the type of course you will be offering. If you choose a nursing course, for example, it is essential that you choose a location that allows practical classes. Now, if you choose a programming course, you should only be concerned with a room with a blackboard and computers.
5. Marketing: how to attract the right students
As the number of students interested in studying at a vocational courses school grows, so does the number of places offering courses in this format. And this is where marketing comes in: it will be responsible for highlighting your brand so that you attract more – and better – students.
Remember your market research and your study of personas? Well, they are the ones who will guide your marketing strategy. If you have identified that your audience is mostly in high school, a good tip is to invest in partnerships with schools, for example.
Now, if you have identified that your audience is a frequent user of the internet, investing in digital marketing can be a way for you. This, of course, if the return you get from your strategies is greater than the investment you make.
In digital marketing, there are some channels that can give more visibility to your school of vocational courses and attract the largest volume of students, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Google, for example. The choice and the way you will work on them will depend on the results of your market research and persona analysis.
But in digital marketing, one cannot be afraid to test strategies. This is how you can see and analyze your results. Bet on some channels and calculate your ROI (Return on Investment) , only then will you know which channels are the most profitable.
For example, you can create content pills on Youtube to direct people to your vocational school. A blog with articles related to the topic of your business, combined with a good SEO strategy (Search Engine Optimization) , will put you at the top of Google searches and, therefore, will attract a much more qualified audience to your course.
Further reading: How to define the ideal student and create a plan to conquer your persona.
This is the part that can stop some people’s dreams of entrepreneurship. The costs to open a school of vocational courses can be high at first, after all, we are talking about a large investment in:
- Site works, if needed
- Public licenses for site operation
- Property rental or purchase taxes
- Technical equipment that provides an ideal learning environment
- Basic equipment, such as: blackboard, chairs and tables
- Hiring employees to run the local operation
In some cases, the initial investment is so high that, by passing it on to students to cover costs, which increases the fees that these students would pay, it can directly impact the attraction and retention of new students.
You may also be interested in the webinar on: How to create a low cost online course
Therefore, a good way to cut these costs or even to test the market, is to start your school of professional courses in the online model, from distance learning (EaD). Want to know how? We tell you!
Why invest in distance education
Distance learning (Distance Education) emerged so that people who cannot enter a traditional teaching routine, that is, commuting to an institution every day, could also qualify. This is because through EaD, it is possible to consume quality content using only a device connected to the internet, that is: you can study while on the subway, on the bus, at home or in traffic.
The courses in the online model also bring advantages to the producer due to the low initial investment, when compared to opening a school of professional courses in a physical space, for example. This is because it does not require costs with licenses, physical infrastructure and maintenance.
Therefore, we have listed some benefits of opening your school of distance learning vocational courses!
- Lower initial investment compared to the classroom course;
- Greater content distribution: you can reach students from all over the world;
- No need to worry about renting physical space and infrastructure;
- Without limiting the number of students due to space;
- Ability to function with a reduced team;
- More convenience for the student and the teacher;
- Time saving with commuting;
- Greater diversity of students, since it is possible for people from different places to connect.
Ah, but to have a good EaD course, it is essential that you have good partners on your side. So, we invite you to get to know EADBox, a complete platform for hosting and selling your course.
EADBox is integrated with the largest affiliate network in the country, which favors increased sales.
In addition, it offers its own payment system, which means that you do not have to pay large fees for other payment methods and offers a simple customization system: you can start selling your courses in 5 minutes!
So, now that you know everything about opening a vocational school, what are you waiting for to get your idea off the ground?