Tuesday, September 27, 2011

3/4 year reflections and planning

There's a few things that needs to be done before I can open up my classes at home and start on a brand new chapter for my career. I thought it'll be good to list it down both as a checklist for myself and also to bounce off ideas from others who knew me from this blog. Let's begin.



1. Set up the physically infrastructure for the classroom.


As it is now, I've already set up a separate room from my new old flat. That would be the place to work for the next couple of years - an home office if you will. The class room has a wall and a half full of cabinets and shelvings, so I think that's enough space to put in the stuff and I needed for my work, perhaps with extra for my personal stuff too. It'll look something like this,  but not quite, because the flooring is of a darker colour then shown in this realistic computer rendered picture from my interior designer.




It should look bright and energetic. The green colour is specifically selected as a sort of colour therapy in education. I've read up some of this pseudo science regarding colours - orange and yellow is mainly for kids, green can be for teenage students (which is the bulk of my students) and blue is for hyper active students. I think green is the right colour to choose. A tad too neon bright for me, but still good. Keeping fingers crossed.



What needs to be done are the furniture for the room. I think a group size of 4-6 is big enough because I don't think I want to have so many students in one group. It's not going to be very efficient because everyone's learning pace is different, so I got to personalize the tuition for everyone in the group. Going to be kind of difficult if the class size is too big. Let's stick with that for now and adjust on the go a few years later. I'll be checking out Sungei Kadut very soon to see if there's suitable furniture for a group of 4-6 students. Not yet decided on whether to have a big table where people around it or individual small tables. Got to think it through.



2. Revamping my website.


I've a rather neglected website for tuition purpose. Neglected because I didn't really put in much effort to either promote it or utilise it properly. That's going to change. A few things needed to be revamped:



a. Logo - that can come a bit later. Eventually going to start getting some notes/guidebooks/assessment books on my own, so a logo should be a good place to start on. That's just too many things that needed attention, so this would not be the main priority for me right now. The main focus is to get things started, and I can adjust from there onwards. I simply cannot wait for conditions to be perfect before I begin, otherwise I might never begin.



b. Getting testimonials from parents / students. Since I do my business from word-of-mouth alone, testimonials are important to me. But I haven't been pursuing them! Got to start getting written testimonials from existing and past students. Nothing fanciful, just a short paragraph detailing their experiences (both good and bad) with me. They can write their results if they want, but I'm not going to insist. I don't want to go into showing statistics on how many percentage of my students get A1. You can force a student to get A but they might hate the subject forever. Nah, it's too much of a burden to bear for their lifetime hatred for any particular subjects that I teach.



3. Namecards


In the past, I am rather fearful of getting too many students because I only have limited time to work. I don't like to disappoint people by rejecting them, so I didn't go all out to market myself. In truth, I didn't market myself at all. It's through the much appreciated support of students and parents that I manage to find students every year. Now that I've got the capacity to take in more people, it's time to go aggressive in the marketing of my business. I got to print out some name cards to distribute. A small batch of maybe 200 to begin with might be a great idea. Eventually when I've the time to design a logo or ask someone to do it for me, I'll begin a larger print. Sourcing out some quirky designs from websites online. I found something nice for SGD 100 (inclusive of shipping), so might go along with that. Perhaps I'll check out local shops too. But the problem with local shops are that their designs are pretty sucky (forgive me, I've been to a few and they disappoint). Perhaps someone might recommend me someone trusted?



4. Read up on marketing


I've no background on marketing before. But after reading Adam Khoo's book, "Secrets of Building a multi-million dollar business", I've an inkling. Probably need to read up on some of the marketing strategies and techniques. No point being a good teacher if nobody gets to know about it right?


Many many things to do in the coming few months. Firstly, I've got to settle this batch of students. Their exams are drawing nearer and nearer and the drums of war are already beating hard. After that, I'll take a short break to clear my mind for the new year ahead and begin working on all these. Lots of work to be done.


Appendix

After much research following the various comments, I confirmed the 'maximum 3 students' rule given by URA/HDB. Here's the verdict:






Ok, so be it. 3 students max at any one time. Shouldn't be a problem at all, as I do not intend to make the class size big anyway. For all other people who's following my pathway, there you go - the official statement.

20 comments :

AK71 said...

Hi LP,

Sounds like you need to hire a good BDM. ;p

Zhanrui said...

Actually strictly speaking hdb only allow small group tuition of 3 students and less, so must be a bit discreet
with group tuition think u can set a 100k goal :)

Temperament said...

Hi LP,
I am staying tune.

la papillion said...

Hi AK,

I need you! :) Thanks for offering to help me!

Hi Zhanrui,

I've read that before too, so got to confirm. I've emailed the relevant authorities, see what they got to tell me :)

Hi Temperament,

Yes! Stay tuned!

Anonymous said...

LP,

Glad to see that u and momo have accelerated ur teaching plans.

Do remember to consider sound proofing if you have not.

I live in Tampines too. If you are willing to lease out ur tuition place for a timeslot or two, do let me know too. :X

JWT

Zhanrui said...

let me know what the authorities say :) quite interested to know as well.. i have seen quite a few people giving tuition classes at thier hdb flats .. and its really a big class like 10 students.. so far haven heard of anyone being prosecuted... i suppose as long as u dont make too much noise they probably dun care

JW said...

Hi LP,

I hope I'm not going to discourage you with my post. According to the Singapore law, home office scheme does not allow for a tuition centre nor a private school.

https://licences.business.gov.sg/SHINE/sop/WebPageHandler?p=OASIS&pn=SelectLicences&ss=FAQ&LicenceID=1421


A private school is defined as having more than 10 students in total.

http://www.moe.gov.sg/education/private-education/files/school-registration-notes.doc



Also, URA does not allow more than 3 students for private tuition in a residential place.

http://www.ura.gov.sg/dc/dcu/HOflyer.pdf


So, legally speaking, "group size of 4-6" isn't feasible, unless it is done on a quiet manner, non-registered. Asking the authorities probably wouldn't yield much information because they are after all employees of the system; they have to give the most correct answer and make sure they are well covered.




As for namecards, I designed my own. The ones in Singapore are really not up to standard at all... too office looking for a business that caters to students!

Anonymous said...

Hi LP!

Can't wait to see your place! :)

U know my situation with URA and the "change of use" issue. Now that I converted the place back to SOHO-- I have the not more than 3 restriction too.

All my students are taking their Os, no students for me next year unless some walk in. haha...

see you soon!

HH

Createwealth8888 said...

Don't offend your neighbours and be the nicest guy in the block may help.

la papillion said...

Hi JWT,

No lah, no need sound proofing :) First, there's probably going to be just me around. Secondly, it's not going to be very noisy anyway :)

Sure, will do :)

Hi Zhanrui,

Thanks, will post it here when they replied me :)

Hi JW,

Thanks for your advice. It's what I've found out too. Most likely I'll be doing it non-registered but keeping it to a max of 3 students per session.

I might do the namecard myself too :) Have an idea to put a periodic table and some common maths formula at the back. At the very least, you can use it haha

la papillion said...

Hi HH,

Yaya, I knew about your situation :) Oh, so now you also hve this restriction. I saw quite a few changes around the area the last time I passed by there. The laksa stall changed to soya bean for one, haha :)

Got to catch up soon :)

Hi bro8888,

Ya, going to do that!

Temperament said...

Hi LP,
CW8888 gives very good advice. In Singapore there are a lot of "kiasu rules & regulations" But some of them are for just in case only.
There is a next-door little dog which barks at any time of the day; depending on my neighbour's whim and fancy. To maintain neighbourliness what can i do? But to practise tolerance & "acceptance" In return my neighbours may not enjoy some of the music i listen to. So life sometimes is quite fair & square. Another words, living side by side to each other, we have to learn to give and take. Hope you have the same type of neighbours too.
Anyway, best wishes to your
endeavour.
Shalom.

la papillion said...

Hi temperament,

Ya, I will have to be a good neighbor. Already thinking of plans to be a good neighbor already. At the same time, I'll plan around the 'max-3 students' rule.

Cannot live life by always subjugating myself to others right? haha :)


Hi all,

I attached an appendix regarding URA/HDB reply to my question on whether there is a need to register for tuition business. You can read the updated post.

Zhanrui said...

think you can plan for around 4 people bah .. cos attendance wont be 100% :P
seriously i dun think anyone will go and complain that you have more than 3 students ..
anyway even if they complain the most they will send u warning letter

la papillion said...

Hi Zhanrui,

No lah, guai guai better :)

Chong Jun said...

Hey LP,

haven talked to you for a while but yeah, good luck. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi LP,

No more laksa, now Selegie Soya Bean: Sis's favourite. :)

Thank God! I cold called them from an old name card. Rental increased 30% n not much worry abt payment.

I think 3 a gd! gd contact time n more fun than 2.

HH

la papillion said...

Hi CJ,

Thanks :)

Hi HH,

Haha, I prefer soya beans too :) I guess that's a +ve change for you :P I'm sourcing a big table now for the study room ;)

financiallyfreenow said...

Hi LP,

The room is really nice! I like the green theme.

Safal Shiksha said...

Thanks for sharing as it is an excellent post would love to read your future post
register your tuition class online