Internationally renowned, multi-Michelin starred chef, restaurateur, writer, television personality and food critic Gordon Ramsay knows a lot about food and business. But today we'll learn from him on how to run a successful business and we'll apply to the international education industry.
I work a lot, but sometimes I do like to wind down. Needless to say, I tried to optimize my down time with something I can learn with. Besides documentaries, a guilty pleasure of mine is Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, specially the UK version.
So, the title may be a little click baity but the point stands. By watching how this chef, restaurateur, writer, television personality, and former footballer thinks, behaves and acts, we can learn a lot about running a successful company and also about being a better overseas student counselor.
1. If you don't know your market, you'll fail
Are you beginning now? Are you trying to grow? Knowledge of your market is fundamental: what type of students you have around you, what type of students you want to enroll, what other agencies are doing, what leads expect, and how you can differentiate yourself while remaining truth to yourself.
2. Stay simple and connected with your local market
The main reason education agencies exist is that they are uniquely positioned to understand the differences in culture and expectations of students in their country or province.
This is especially important when your education agency start growing, and the challenges of manage different offices, and cultures may start to arise. Promotional campaigns must be tailored to the specific markets you are targeting. When we say market, we mean the country, state or city. Your marketing strategy will have to take in consideration your local market, if you want to leverage your physical presence.
3. Create an experience people can't resist
From your website, to your offices. Create an exciting experience your leads and students will love. You have to resonate with them. To speak their language and create an environment that leads to their comfort, that shows your authority on the matter (international education) and it's in tune with your internal company culture.
A great website, a welcoming office and efficient processes will allow you to focus on creating rapport with your students, and not convincing them you're trustworthy.
4. Be reasonable with the pricing!
Yeah, yeah, you can't control the cost of courses, how can you be reasonable with the pricing, then, you may ask? You have the power of understanding the colleges, and it's options.
Choose the right colleges and courses to show your leads and students. By selecting carefully and thoughtfully which courses you show to them, you can achieve three things: you present the best option your lead can possibly have, you stay through to your duty as an education agent, and you maximize the chances of closing the deal. What could be better than that?
5. Before doing marketing, get your sh*t together
Invariably marketing efforts will spend your money, be it in time or hard money on advertising, design or people. Therefore it's important to maximize your return over this investment.
Doesn't matter if you have an incredible number of leads if you don't close them. Or worse yet, if when you close they become unsatisfied customers. For the majority of the education agencies, word of mouth is one of the most important channels to acquire new customers, so don't mess it up.
Your customer support, and application back office must be impeccable. Efficiency and control are the key to stop putting out fire everyday and starting long term sustainable growth.
6. Communication is key
One of the most common problems in any company is the problematic communication. Doing business is essence communicating with other people: your leads, clients, partners and coworkers.
It's not possible to be perfect, but if there's something mr. Ramsay focus in first, is getting the communication right and clear. This unlocks the potential of collaboration and empathy between people, which is a prerequisite to start improving every other aspect of your business.
7. Be consistent
Doesn't matter if you get everything above right, and you have a stellar team to support you. If it's not consistent, it's doomed to fail. In this specific episode, a sum of disclipiscence and lack of consistency closed one of the best positioned, stellar chef and full of potential restaurant.