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Driving or Driven? – The 3rd Massive Mistake Preschools Make in Increasing their Enrollment

As a preschool owner and leader, you worked hard to reach where you are now. Your school quality is unquestionable and your marketing strategy is in place to attract more parents.

Everything has been working well until you realized something. All other preschools in your area are fast catching up. Numerous preschools have sprouted and you cannot distinguish yourself among them. You now all look the same.​

Worst, your enrollment has reached a plateau. And in the last three years or so, you have been denying that enrollment is decreasing.

But you honestly think that your marketing plan is in place. You followed all principles that you have learned. You now wonder what is wrong.​

Most preschools are into this state. Their marketing plans start out based on the current state of the market. This makes these preschools market-driven.​

Here’s the sad part.

Even with a good marketing plan, preschools that are market-driven can be stuck. Why? They are committing the next costly mistake…​

3. Not using market driving strategies and innovation​

Market-driven companies perform exhaustive market research to fully understand an existing customer need. They listen to their customer avatars’ needs. The client is the focal point and the school accepts existing industry standards in serving them.

“Why? Aren’t we all supposed to be like that?”​

I can almost hear you again! 🙂

Companies, and preschools for that matter, who swim out in the blue ocean where there is no competition or they make the competition irrelevant, to say the very least, are considered market-driving.

This is definitely a new mindset different from your competition in growing school enrollment.​

And this is not for the faint-hearted.

Apple is a market-driving company anticipating trends and taking risks to consistently amaze and surprise customers with delivered value. That massive value delights customers. The company brings creative solutions to difficult customer challenges.

In essence, market driving preschools are dynamic in regularly creating new and growing markets. Bench-marking and best practices are NOT good for market-driving strategy.

On the other hand, Microsoft is a market-driven company missing trends and failing to take risks which forces it to react after dramatic market shifts have already occurred.This company is reactive to market needs as it is incremental in adding features to automate existing methods.

So market-driven preschools are static and can only serve existing and often declining markets.​

“Are you crazy? Education is never a commodity. Preschools should not beteated like selling any product out there.”

Hey, hold your horses! 🙂

To get a better understanding of the differences between market-driven and market-driving innovation, let’s explore some of the key differences.

  1. ​Market-driving preschools are innovative introducing radical system or programs way before any other preschools do. They do not benchmark. They set the trend. Market-driven preschools are incremental in adding features to satisfy their target market.
  2. Market-driving preschools create massive value to delight preschool parents. Market-driven preschools add expected features that fall short of customer expectation set by competition. When they see other preschools offering bus service or tutorial service, for example, they add these features in their offering,too.
  3. Market-driving preschools are clear in articulating new business model value to customers in simple terms. Market-driven companies are confused in their positioning and value messages to the market. Sad to say but I know of small preschools who do not even know what their business model is and how to articulate their value to the community they serve.
  4. Market-driving companies are dynamic in regularly creating new and growing markets. They do not take care of the “crumbs”. They lead the way. Market driven companies are static and can only serve existing often declining markets.

“Market-driving preschools? Phew! Is the concept really applicable to preschools?”

I was asked that question before I presented a number of preschool cases in a training I conducted. I gave a somewhat generic answer. 🙂

“Think of your mind like a computer.”

A computer has an operating system. That operating system doesn’t change regardless of what program we try to run on it. It simply defaults back to its standard mode of operation.

Same is true with our minds!

The more you expand your mindset, the bigger the results you will get.

The problem that comes up when we are too occupied with the details of our school is expanding our mindset daily. The challenge is to break out of the thoughts that are programmed within us.​

“Are you just throwing motherhood statements?”

Well, in our age, technology developments spread fast. Your competitors are keeping an eye out for trends, and you need to be on your toes. Innovation is the key to survive.And if you, as a preschool leader, do not have that growth-mindset-operating-system,your preschool may not last long.

It follows then that for preschools to innovate and remain open to new ideas, innovation has to come from a strategic, top-level perspective.​

Yes, market driving innovation has to start with you!

No ifs, no buts. :-)​

Lorna B. Yan
 

Lorna B. Yan a.k.a “Teacher Bee” is the creator of Alterra Play-to-Read in 30 Days Program. She started the program when her son struggled to read. She took an online course by "Read America", which was based in Orlando, Florida. However, her son wouldn’t pay attention to the sessions until she changed her methods. She did crazy activities to make learning to read more fun for her son. From then on, she wrote different reading strategies and activities to teach other children. The Alterra program was born.

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