Revenue and cost are the two most important parameters in any business. Increasing revenue and/or lowering costs give the very reason for businesses to exist which is profit.  

Balancing the equation without compromising business or revenue growth is the biggest challenge for any entrepreneurs and CEOs.  Too often, the increase in revenue is at the expense of cost which makes the profit, as well as businesses, become unsustainable.

And guess what? Education business is no exception.

To boost admission rate, colleges often spend more on advertising and promotion in order to increase leads. They start hiring salespeople to attract more students, recruiting new staffs and renting extra spaces just to manage the rise in the student population.  

But, this comes with big costs.  The costs grow fiercely correlated to the growth of new revenue.  If the student population somehow become stagnant or decline, the costs, however, will not fall.  And worst, it will continue to hike year-on-year due to the increase in salary and inflation-adjusted costs.

Failing to control these parameters would be catastrophic! And from the education industry’s perspective,  there will be some level of social-economy impact to the community.

Is there any way to make the equilibrium more favorable to everyone? For example, increasing the number of students without increasing sales-related spending could result in the reduction of costs without affecting overall operation.

Do we get your attention now?

Good! Because we have some suggestions that can help you to fully utilize your resources. Some may sound far-fetch or impractical, some may have been attempted and some may even be outdated.

But, we think there is no harm in sharing.

Community Services Aim to Improve Student Recruitment

Currently, the most common student recruitment methods deployed by institutions are:

  1. Prospective students’ visit to the university on Open Day
  2. University’s team conducting program related talks to students at their schools
  3. Student get student scheme (SGSS)

Many institutions may have overlooked when it comes to this particular matter but do you know that the largest pool of resources available in a university is teaching resources and classrooms at non-teaching hours?  

If you are in the education business, faculty members or teaching resources may be the best marketing tool for you.  

Assuming these resources can be tapped into without compromising their core functions, the university can open up the possibility of running Community Services with the ultimate aim of improving student recruitment effectiveness. 

The target audience of these Community Services is not necessarily limited to prospective students.  The university may also shift their focus to the parents and teachers community.

Since the establishment of the education system, school teachers play significant roles in influencing graduating students’ choices and decisions. Therefore, it is vital for the institutions to build strong a rapport with the teachers in order to ensure they understand your offering.

On the other hand, you would also want the parents to be supportive of their children’s choice, should you manage to convince the students to join your institution.

Here are a few suggestions we have in mind:

  1. University entrance examination tuition classes 
    • These classes can be done either on your campus, in their schools or a strategically located rented space.  
  2. Study Bootcamp 
    • This approach is similar to the tuition classes with the focus remain on the entrance examinations. But this time, instead of reaching out to the students’ location, why not invite them to your campus for a few days? Let them experience campus life while picking up essential knowledge for the examination.
  3. Career Workshop 
    • Preparing students for employment help raise their values in the job market and career workshop is the perfect place to get them started. Groom your prospects into graduates that the industry can’t resist with good career planning and excellent professional skills. It is never too early to start. 
  4. Seminars for the Teachers 
    • In our humble opinion, teachers play a rather important role in the students’ lives. Therefore, it is important to keep them in the loop. Organizing seminars not only let you build a strong connection with the teachers but it also gives them a better opportunity to understand the nature of your institution and the courses offered.
  5. Community Talks with the Parents 
    • Parents always have the final say in every decision made by your prospects. Community talks allow you to get close to the parents and provide them with the right perspective of future career opportunity should their children choose to study in your campus.

These approaches carry the following benefits:

  • Reduce advertising and promotion costs
  • Reduce sales personnel cost
  • Building rapport
  • Increase reputation and community engagement

You may not realize it but education business is a long game and in order to succeed, you will have to play it right. Building yourself towards this game is a thousand times better than occasionally surging based on the availability of sales and marketing budget.

And now, comes the toughest question of the day – how to get the faculty members to participate and willingly squeeze the time to perform all the above mentions plan?

This brings us to the second part of the article.

Student, Parent, and Alumni Advocates

When the student first joined the university, embracing student life as a young adult, they were very excited, ambitious even. They are eager to learn, to explore new things but halfway through the second year, their eagerness starting to fade away. Waking up for classes early in the morning are becoming more of a burden than responsibilities. Just like the time when you accidentally bought a ticket to a very time-consuming movie and snooze half an hour after.

Notice the similarities here?

Think of your students as the audiences at the cinema and when they can’t wait to leave, something is definitely wrong! They are no longer enjoying the experiences, everything has become stagnant – more of a monochromatic canvas than the once colorful Monet.

I was never a good student and to be honest, I can barely remember most of my lecturers’ names. But, this one particular lecturer stood out from the rest. His name is Mr. Isa Mansor. I used to remember seeing him walking around the small class of 40 students with a bag of candies in hand. He would then put the candy on each of his students’ table. His friendliness and down-to-Earth nature made him a favorite among students and I certainly would not hesitate if I have to recommend students to him.

No one can argue that word of mouth is the most effective way of marketing. For example, patients and families gave a higher rating to doctors who listen and spend time with patients compared to skillful doctors that didn’t listen or talk to the patients.

Parents pay extra attention to their children’s progress and they always want to get as involved as possible. College can organize a one-on-one session with the parents during the registration day, building a relationship that not only would strengthen over time but also a reputation that lasts. This shows that your college is committed to providing the best education for their children.

Students, parents, and alumni advocates are the most effective marketing campaign with absolutely zero costs.

Running Short-Programs for Existing Students

In addition to tuition fees and other standard fees, what if we could make an extra 5% from each of the students every year? Students enroll into university to learn and they know what they sign up for.  

But, their future working environment is a dynamic scene in which each one of them may be different in terms of background and capability.  

With the objectives of helping them to get a good job, the following are some suggestions for short courses that higher education can prepare:

  1. Microsoft Office Skills 
    • Almost all non-technical graduates will list their proficiency level of using Microsoft Office products in their CVs. Then, why not provide your students with the actual opportunity to build Microsoft Office proficiency and prepare them for job opportunities in the future workplace?
  2. First Impression Skills
    • Teaching them how to make a strong impression in their job interview
      • How many job applicants bother to call their potential employer after the first interview? Or have the decency to send a Thank You note after an interview?
    • Basic Grooming Skill
      • Your students represent your university once they graduate. Therefore, it is important for them to project a good image for their future employers. In a working environment, proper grooming and hygiene standards among employees are of utmost importance.
    • Google Research Skill
      • Surprisingly, not many students out there know how to fully utilize the Google search engine for their research. A good research skill is important in the development of students. So, why not add this to your list?
  3. Critical Thinking Skill
  4. Basic Financial Management Skill

Sqayy Campus Management System allows the creation of short-courses by faculty staffs and Student self-registration through Student Portal.

Increase Faculty Members and Staffs Efficiency and Productivity

Education institutions must maintain an adequate number of faculty members to produce and deliver quality education all the while meeting regulatory requirements. There is, however, no such regulations or restrictions on faculty staffs. Assuming staff retrenchment is the last resort, re-assigning may be the best option there is in order to increase efficiency and productivity.

But first, you must rationalize their time spent on unproductive activities.

Do you know that tedious, repetitive tasks can lead to costly mistakes? Streamlining certain processes through automation not only save your time and money but may even help you increase the productivity of your staffs.

Implementing a good campus management system helps reduce human error and improves interdepartmental workflow. It synchronizes all data effortlessly so you can channel the energy elsewhere.

Guess what? The immediate benefit you will be enjoying is the reduction in overtime expenses.

Now we are moving to the second step.   

Choose any of your staffs that are equipped with great people skill and are passionate about helping your students to excel in their studies. Then, assign them as your Student Success Officer to aid your students while preparing them for their future endeavors. Providing extra attention to the students’ problems and academic well-being make them feel like part of the family.

Trust me, it would leave a long-lasting impression the next time they have to suggest a college to either a friend or a family.

Staffs that have good analytical skills can be re-assigned to look into analyzing the students, operation and financial data that you have collected over the years. These analyses will tell you what is the most popular programs to promote and what is the one course that is costing you money.

If you don’t already have a good Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) with best practices, then this would be a good time to start. Well-written SOPs improve communication and work consistency as well as efficiency.

Besides that, a good eLearning software and a good policy across academic staffs will transform your teaching environment and bring benefits to the students especially Gen Z who are digital savvy. However, the challenging part may not be the students but the lecturers’ and teachers’ pace in adapting to the new technology and environment.  

Assuming the strategy works, then your academic staffs may not be able to attend the community service or to serve your students as Student Success Officer as we have discussed earlier. So, why don’t we bring in some of the motivators or coach to inspire the people within and drive them towards effectiveness?

Last but not least, outsourcing is one of the many ways to help your institution grow. If you outsource the laboratory or PC labs to rental companies, the networking to Telcos and move all your software to cloud subscription, then you can free up the IT department from handling trivial matters.

Instead, they can be your future readiness architects to look into the new technology that can be incorporated into your teachings environment and operation.

After all, you hire them for their brain, not just for their strengths.

Space Rental and Utilities

e-Learning has grown to a $120 billion dollar industry that dominates organization in many ways. It makes learning more convenient and flexible as opposed to traditional classrooms. Moving your classes online not only allows you to allocate valuable resources to other areas, but it also makes your classroom more effective.  You can leverage these available resources to your advantage.

For example, since the classes on theoretical subjects can be conducted online, the classrooms can be freed up, resulting in a reduction of electricity and the availability of space. 

Okay, now you have empty classrooms and halls. What’s next?

For one, you can use it to conduct community services. It is part of our commitment to drive the society towards a better world. Then, why not make full use of the resources available for this purpose? Good intentions will never go unnoticed.

Secondly, you can rent the space out to the public for a variety of events like conferences, meetings, receptions, and weddings at a great value. There are demands for venues, especially in the city areas since the options often come with limited parking spaces.

The savings are especially impressive when the online automated process is deployed within the institution ground.

Office Supplies Saving

Offices supplies, classroom, and utilities are among the few resources that can be saved through the implementation of e-Learning. Students and lecturers may use the Student Portal to share lecture notes online.

This minus the needs for printed papers and textbooks.

How is that so?

In a virtual learning platform, you no longer have to invest in materials such as stationary and papers. This will help you reduce the expenses by cutting down the costs associated with the materials.

The best learning management software such as Sqayy+Microsoft Teams allows your lecturers and students to engage in an effective classroom environment, online.

 

These suggestions can only be made possible if the entire organization is committed to the transformation.