Education is one sector which attracts entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds – varied domains, age groups, experiences. So as to speak, it’s almost the first love of every entrepreneur – wondering why?
Statistics say every 1 in 5 entrepreneurs have tried education as their very first startup. It’s a pain point every student seems to have gone through and merits an urge to change how things are. While from the outside it looks the most easiest sector to get into, the experience and time spent in an education startup cannot be replaced – by absolutely nothing else.
This industry requires a different mindset and a specific set of skills to conquer. Being a first-time entrepreneur and no points for guessing, in an education startup, here’s what I have learnt during my journey:
As a first time entrepreneur, I endorse bootstrapping to the T. It helped us understand our USP, recce the market ourselves and most importantly bring out of the box offerings. Not having the initial talent from top notch Education companies helped us chalk out products which no one else had.
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Building your niche and your foundation with the right metrics is very important in every sector, but education makes it an unforgiving necessity. It’s very easy to expand horizontally in haphazard directions in pursuit of some initial numbers. With a controlled environment, the desired results and money guzzling loopholes are easier to plug.
No matter how prepared you are when you jump in, and what skills you bring in – even if it’s an innovative and one-of-its-kind product you are bringing in, it will need you to adapt and improvise as you go. Resistance to evolve or pivot into the requirements could only delay the discovery. But it’s inevitable to discern, understand, dissect the results and pivot your product offering.
Interpreting The Market Sizing
There is a catch 22 situation for all education products- translating the initial success to scale. The advantage of operating in a high population density is you will always find a set of users who will adopt your product. An odd school, a certain vendor, a specific subject may be. But is the product having mass appeal, is it scalable to 20 cities, does it transcend beyond your tested control parameters. That’s the deciding factor which will help one scale
If your product is seasonal and cyclic, achieving efficiency is going to be an uphill task, especially in your initial phases. A niche should be wide enough to service you throughout the year. Lopsided metrics are always going to be pulling you back
Disrupt Yet Co-exist
In the Indian education setup, one cannot try to change the system abruptly. Trying to emulate a foreign market, bringing tech with a force, elimination of existing stakeholders always backlashes. The inefficiencies put aside, the system is there for a reason and has been producing Ivy League students since ages.
We have to develop products which first empowers the teachers, students and institutions alike. Leaving any of the stakeholders behind in a rush to bring about a change can spell doomsday for the entrepreneur
This is the devil you need to put on a leash. While it’s imperative you are unit profitable, but deciding when and at what stage you reach here is as important. The timelines do not work like other sectors, nor does the Series rounds of funding. This is a pace which the entrepreneur can decide and make a success out of it.