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Planning for the Summer Demand Slump

As summer approaches, test prep and tutoring professionals need to start thinking about how to generate revenue during what has become a typically slower season. With students out of school and many families taking vacations, it can be a challenging time to maintain a steady stream of clients. However, with some careful advanced planning and creative thinking, it is possible to turn the summer months into a profitable period for your business.

Here are some tips to help test prep and tutoring professionals generate revenue during the summer:

  1. Offer summer programs

One of the easiest ways to generate revenue during the summer is to offer specialized summer programs. These programs can be targeted towards specific age groups, subjects, or areas of interest. For example, you could offer an intensive SAT or ACT prep program for rising high school juniors and seniors. Alternatively, you could offer a STEM-focused program for middle school students interested in robotics or coding. The possibilities are endless, and the key is to offer something unique and valuable that students and families will be willing to pay for. Another idea, which is not so difficult to plan and implement is a College Application Bootcamp or/and a College Essay Camp.  These are typically 3-5 days in length and one to two hours per session. 

  1. Create online courses

Online learning has exploded in popularity over the past year, and this trend is likely to continue into the summer months. Creating online courses can be a great way to generate passive income while providing valuable resources to students and families. These courses can be pre-recorded and offered on-demand, allowing students to work at their own pace and on their own schedule. Topics could include anything from test-taking strategies to academic skills like time management or note-taking.  Sites such as Kajabi or Thinkific offer a low cost way to test the waters. 

  1. Offer personalized coaching

While some students may prefer the flexibility of self-paced online learning, others may benefit from more personalized attention. Offering one-on-one coaching or tutoring sessions can be a great way to provide individualized support to students and generate revenue at the same time. These sessions could be offered in-person or online, depending on your preference and the needs of your clients.  

This sort of coaching can take the form of either enrichment "bridge" type programs where tutors work with students on the subjects they have schedule when school starts (Physics, Chemistry, Algebra, and Calculus are among the most popular). 

  1. Partner with schools or community organizations

Partnering with schools or community organizations can be a great way to reach a larger audience and generate more business. For example, you could offer a summer test-prep program in partnership with a local school district or community center. Or, you could offer to provide test prep services to students at a reduced rate through a school or community program. By working with established organizations, you can tap into their existing networks and gain access to potential clients you may not have reached otherwise. It is helpful to offer diagnostic testing for these programs and TPAPT can help you score your tests if necessary.  

  1. Host events or workshops

Hosting events or workshops can be a fun and engaging way to attract new clients and generate revenue. These events could be focused on a specific topic, like college admissions or study skills, or they could be more general networking events designed to introduce potential clients to your business. By hosting events, you can demonstrate your expertise and build relationships with potential clients, which can lead to new business down the road. Ideally, these events are punctuated with some sort of special offer for attendees to incentivize a summer enrollment. 

  1. Focus on Pandemic Learning Loss (PLL)

There has been a good deal of research on the impact of Pandemic Learning Loss as well as the effect of what is know as the "summer slide."  If you want to help your learning community catch-up from PLL, try programs related to 2nd or 4th grade Math and Reading. If you want to help folks mitigate the summer slide, try bridge programs in Algebra, Calculus, Physics, or Chemistry. 

Plan for the Downturn in Demand

Another important aspect of summer planning is managing cash flow. Knowing how much and when your bills are due in June, July, and August can help you budget accordingly and avoid cash flow problems. It's important to have a clear understanding of your expenses during the summer months, including rent, utilities, payroll, and any other fixed costs. Now is the time to make a plan to reduce those expenses so that they are aligned with the cash flow generated by summer sales. By having a clear picture of your expenses, you can make informed decisions about pricing and scheduling, and avoid overextending yourself financially.

Here are some tips to help you plan for the summer:

  1. Look at prior year numbers

Start by looking at your prior year numbers to get a sense of how many students you can expect to work with during the summer months. Look at the number of clients, the services they used, and the revenue generated during the summer months. This information can help you make informed decisions about pricing, scheduling, and staffing.

  1. Determine your staffing needs

Based on your prior year numbers, you can determine how many tutors you need to hire or how many hours you need to work to meet demand. If you plan to hire additional staff, start recruiting early to ensure that you have the best candidates available. Be sure to screen candidates carefully and provide them with proper training and support.

  1. Set pricing and scheduling policies

Once you have a sense of your staffing needs, you can set pricing and scheduling policies that meet demand while also ensuring profitability. Consider offering package deals or discounts for students who sign up for multiple sessions or services. Set clear policies around cancellations, rescheduling, and refunds to avoid confusion and ensure that your business runs smoothly.

  1. Manage cash flow

Knowing how much and when your bills are due in June, July, and August can help you manage cash flow and avoid financial difficulties. Create a cash flow projection that outlines your expected income and expenses for the summer months. This can help you make informed decisions about how much to spend on marketing and staffing, and ensure that you have enough cash on hand to cover your expenses.

  1. Promote your services

Finally, promote your services aggressively through low cost measures to ensure that you reach potential clients and generate business during the summer months. Leverage social media, email marketing, and other channels to get the word out about your summer programs and services. Consider offering referral discounts or other incentives to encourage existing clients to refer new business.

While the summer months can be a slower season for test prep and tutoring professionals, there are many strategies you can use to generate revenue and keep your business thriving. By offering summer programs, creating online courses, offering personalized coaching, partnering with schools or community organizations, hosting events or workshops, and leveraging social media, you can reach new clients and provide valuable services that help students succeed. With some careful planning and creative thinking, the summer months can be a profitable period for your business.

If you need more help with your summer planning, schedule a time to chat!

 

References

  1. Summer slide: The National Summer Learning Association defines summer slide as the "loss of academic skills and knowledge over the course of the summer months." (Source: https://www.summerlearning.org/)

  2. Pandemic learning loss: The term "pandemic learning loss" refers to the academic setback that many students have experienced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a report by McKinsey & Company, "students on average could lose five to nine months of learning by the end of this school year, depending on the grade and subject, with students of color potentially losing even more." (Source: https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/public-and-social-sector/our-insights/covid-19-and-student-learning-in-the-united-states-the-hurt-could-last-a-lifetime)

  3. Organisciak, K. (2015, May 28). Summer class options are key to helping SAT and ACT scores improve. Test Prep Professionals Blog. https://testprepprofessionals.blogspot.com/2015/05/summer-class-options-are-key-to.html
  4. Organisciak, K. (2017, April 26). Strategic planning - April 2017. Test Prep Professionals Blog. https://testprepprofessionals.blogspot.com/2017/04/strategic-planning-april-2017.html
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