As a person who’s made the decision to do just that, let me review your options from my point of view.
OK, I can work for a corporate school and earn 250,000 to 300,000 a month working about 40 hours a week. I would put on my necktie and go to work when I was scheduled and teach the same boring material every day while not caring much if the students quit since I would not have to go out and pass out flyers on a cold winter morning or a hot humid summer day to get new students. Instead my corporate school would do mass print ads using hundreds of millions of Yen per month from the upfront tuition payments collected from trusting students who join hoping that my school would not go belly-up like the big one that recently did. Actually passing out flyers to prospective students can be fun and reveal a lot about your own character and perseverance.
I can also spend a lot of time going from one place to another and putting up with the noise, lack of privacy and small table space for 3,000 an hour to teach some students at a coffee shop. I think I might starve doing this.
I can try to start up a school by myself with no support staff, no curriculum or training and a website that no one could ever find. Or I could decide to buy a reasonably priced franchise and thereby associate myself with a larger entity with web-presence. This last choice actually allows me to run a business, starting small and building it up by adding students, classrooms and teachers over time. So if I do it myself at first, I could build it to about 80 students with 2 per class on average and should have sales in excess of 960,000 Yen per month. If I hold my costs down, I would clear in excess of 760,000 Yen/month while working 40 hours a week plus a few hours of flyer distribution a week. Not too bad right? It beats 250,000 Yen to 300,000 Yen a month for the same working time and you don’t have to wear a silly necktie and can even wear jeans and a T-shirt if you choose.
Then what if I hire a teacher and build him/her up to 40 hours a week earning 300,000 Yen/month and further build the school up to 160 students? The school should then clear more than 1,320,000 Yen per month. That’s not bad at all considering you’d still be working only around 40 hours a week. While not guaranteed and requiring effort to control costs and acquire and keep students, the math is simple and fairly straight-forward.
Sure it takes a lot of time to build up the school and find a good teacher to support that effort, but is it worth it? I think you will have to agree that it is. Not everyone can do it but for those who have the dedication to see something through, it can be done. It simply depends on how dedicated you are and how hard you are willing to work. I am convinced that Smith’s now provides the best franchise English school system in Japan at the most reasonable price to achieve this level and even higher if more classrooms and teachers are added.
I am not there yet, but I can see that it is within reach. So I am saying why not go for it. That is what Smith’s owners are doing while always keeping in mind that helping our students to succeed in their quest to master English is the way to our own success.