#5 Key Elements for Building a Successful Education Startup
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Ask a 90’s kid on what school education was like and you receive an innocent answer, “Books, homework, and occasional access to bulky desktops is all we had.” Switch to the present and education without laptops, iPads, smartphones, and tablets seem unfathomable by today’s generation.
In the last decade, the learning and education space witnessed a sea change across the world led by tech disruptions that challenged the status quo. Classroom-like sessions with pre-recorded tutorials, MOOCs, artificial intelligence led courses and augmented and virtual reality-based learning sessions, the current line of technology-based solutions is aimed at making learning more personalized and effective. The growing acceptance for these solutions has led several entrepreneurs to venture into space and leverage technology to make education ‘accessible’, ‘affordable’, and ‘impactful’.
In the Indian context, success stories of ed-tech platforms have managed to bring about a remarkable shift in the old-school techniques. However, all successful stories have innumerable failures, persistence, patience, and endless work-hours in its background.
We shed light on a few interesting lessons that cannot be missed by entrepreneurs aspiring to explore the education sector.
#1 Clarity on the Business Model
It is often said that business model comes before the business itself. This means that one needs to put a lot of thought into how you will make money and who will pay for your products and/or services. Most education-focused start-ups fail to define their customer narrowly, whether it is the school or parents of school-going children. Also, the tight definition of customer persona, whether they are based in the major metros, Tier 2, or Tier 3 cities, is critical in messaging and targeting.
While for a B2B start-up, efforts must be put towards developing strong relationships with schools and other educational institutes, B2C start-ups need to focus on building trust with the parents, where they feel safe in entrusting their children to your brand.
Also, identifying the go-to-market strategy is crucial since educational institutions are a great medium to reach your target audience if you are a B2C education company. This apart, it is essential to understand the unit economics, of how the business will shape with scale.
#2 Understanding of the Market/Consumer Needs
Education and Healthcare are two large sectors that are essential for the growth of any society and also leads to development. In a pursuit to perfect the product and technology, most entrepreneurs lose sight of the core business idea, which is understanding the fundamental problem they are trying to solve. Entrepreneurs must be sure of the product/service they are building and align it to the needs and capacity of the market/end-user to ensure a profitable venture.
#3 Introduce a Break-through Solution to a Large Problem
The current education system is academic oriented where parents trade higher grades over actual learning & development of their wards. Entrepreneurs introducing cutting-edge solutions that cater to the overall development of children through disruptive technology, must communicate loud and clear and indicate the benefits of the products and services towards the child’s learning.
Most entrepreneurs work on solutions that cater to only 1% of the Indian population or the elite within the cities. It is imperative to look beyond a few micro-markets of the developed cities and cater to a wider audience that belongs to ‘Bharat’ and not just urban India.
#4 Establish Brand Awareness and Goodwill
Parents are reluctant to trust new brands in K-12, given it deals with their child’s future. Brand building and creating a goodwill with parents or the target audience involves patience, genuine hard work to deliver on the promises made, and a robust brand strategy. Serious efforts must be made to communicate the brand ethos and establish the initial trust in your target audience. Nothing works better than referrals and word-of-mouth publicity.
#5 Tie-ups is the Key to Growth and Expansion
Start-ups have limited resources, and hence, it is important to build strong relationships with partner companies, which have a similar target market. Such tie-ups can compound the growth quickly without putting a strain on the limited resource pool that a startup has.