These days, starting a preschool in India has become more of a hobby business for women entrepreneurs looking to occupy themselves in their free time. Seeing a lot of new preschools coming up in your locality, you might think of the business as an easy one to manage.
Starting a Preschool in India is easy, but building a successful business out of it is not!
Almost 80% of the preschools that you see around you are barely surviving the stiff competition in the market. So, you must start a preschool not as a hobby, but as a business that can make an impact in kids’ lives and a one that has the potential to grow and flourish.
If you are still reading this article, I assume that you are passionate about providing world-class learning experiences to our little ones and at the same time you are determined to do what it takes to make sure that the business turns out to be a successful one. Given our experience working with preschools and chains of preschools, I have listed out 5 important steps that need your attention before you take the leap into entrepreneurship.
Step 1 : Market Research
Let’s start by identifying the locality best suited for the kind of preschool you have in mind. Shortlist a few localities which you believe needs a preschool. Survey these localities for already existing schools and observe what they are offering and at what cost. In order to make room for your preschool, you must have something that is better than the established schools. You should also try to make the offering at a similar cost or lower if possible. Lastly, look for ideal properties for your school and find out how much these properties would cost you in rent and maintenance.
Once you have all the necessary information from various localities, it will be extremely easy for you to take a decision on which locality deserves your effort, time and attention. It will also prepare you for the next step of preparing a business plan.
Step 2 : Business Plan
Having a plan on paper is always better than nothing. Even though it might be extremely small when you kick off, it will serve as a base of the business you are starting and will give you direction as you grow.
Now that we have all the information about preschools in shortlisted localities, it is time to decide whether you want to launch your own brand or buy a franchise of an already established preschool chain. In order to get clarity on the matter, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I have the knowledge, experience and expertise to start my own brand?
- Will a new brand be able to survive the competition in the areas shortlisted?
If you decide to develop your own brand, you will have to go through the following challenges:
- Develop your own Curriculum
- Train Teachers
- Manage School Supplies & Teaching Aids
- Develop Marketing Collateral
- Device Promotional Plans
- Design your Facility
With franchises, you will get help from the franchisors for most of the points mentioned above. Moreover, if the franchisor is supportive, you may also receive help on a day to day basis with operations and other problems.
If you are considering buying a franchise, you will have to bear an initial franchise fee and a % royalty from each student that you serve in your preschool. The royalty ranges from as much as 5% to 20% depending on the brand you associate with.
It is now time to calculate the initial investment required to setup the facility and the cost to run the preschool for one full year. The cost may vary depending on the following factors:
- Own brand or Franchise
- Rental in the shortlisted localities
- Average salaries of teachers in nearby schools
- Infrastructure and maintenance cost
It is now time to decide the fees you will be charging parents. The fees should be decided keeping the following parameters in mind.
- Fees charged by competitors
- Annual cost of running the school
- Value addition compared to competition
- Estimated enrolments for the next 3 years
Set competitive fees with an aim to allow you to breakeven in terms of operational expenses within 2 years.
Step 3 : Develop Facility
Children are active learners and it is extremely important that schools utilise the infrastructure to encourage learning while ensuring their safety. Here are a few tips to design indoors and outdoors of your school.
Let’s start by defining classrooms for the various standards that you plan to have at your preschool. Having walls designed with study material gives the child a sense of belonging and encourages them to learn about these topics. Activity areas are a must to promote active, independent exploration and discovery. Activity areas can be more or less, depending on the amount of space you have available.
Audio / Visual learning plays a very important role in classrooms. Given the potential of technology, schools are now able to provide interactive simulated learning environments to kids. With technology it has become possible to take kids into a Jungle or into Outer Space in your classroom. For some futuristic classroom activities, you must take a look at The UlterioRoom digital classroom solution for preschools.
The safety of kids must be of utmost importance as you design the outdoors. You must make sure:
- Animals can’t get in
- It is free of poisonous plants
- It is free of dangerous insects
- Or any such thing that might harm our little ones
While designing the play area, one should have play materials that encourage kids to perform activities like running, jumping or cycling to boost their gross motor skills.However, it is important to have well-levelled and stone-free surfaces. Outdoor equipments in the garden or grass surfaces such as slides, swings should be arranged. Sand/clay/water play should be provided to children for sensorial and motor development.
We should consider the possible areas that might be hazardous to the little ones. Look for areas where there are electricity sockets within the reach of children and either cover them or move them to a location where kids can’t reach. Make sure that the stairs have grips so that kids don’t fall while climbing or getting down.
Most importantly, identify the fire safety norms in your region and make sure you have made the necessary arrangements to keep your infrastructure and the children safe.
Step 4 : Spread the Word
Once you have the infrastructure in place, it is time to get parents excited to associate with your preschool. There are multiple ways this could be done and you must identify the ones that suit your budget best.
Kick off your project with a blast and invite everyone you can to come visit your premises. This will help you create an initial buzz inviting inquiries for admission.
During any upcoming festivals, organise events for kids to come and perform activities and enjoy the infrastructure. These can be for free or at a very nominal cost. This will help you get your first few admissions.
Use the following media to publicise your school in the nearby locations. After a few initial runs you will be able to identify what works best for your school and you can allocate more resources to those mediums.
- Digital Marketing
- Search Engine Optimisation
Step 5 : Recruit Staff
Finally, now that you have started getting traction, you have to lay an estimate to the number of students you will have in each class by the time your school starts. Based on the estimate, start recruiting staff. Below is a list of all the staff you will need for successful execution when the school starts.
- Teachers – At least 2 per class of 25
- Ayahs – At least 2 per class of 25
- Security Guard x 1
We have laid out all the basic steps that you need to follow when starting a preschool in India. While there will be more to it when it comes to legal and compliances, this article will give you a good idea of what it takes to build a successful preschool business.