For those of you who don’t know me yet: my name is Edward, my partner Chiharu and I bought Otsu School from Craig and Sonoe. We took-over December 1st and have been loving every minute.
Last Sunday we attended our first seminar at Smith’s Kyobashi. From the beginning, we had a sense of support from Smith’s, and when we needed help, the “team” at Kyobashi is always there. But this Sunday, we learned that the Smith’s “team” is bigger than we imagined. It was so great to meet other owner’s and we had a great sense of belonging to a bigger group. The knowledge, experience and support was unbelievable.
Being our first seminar, we were eager for ideas on how to develop our school. Sooooooo many different stories and ideas were spread around. We scribbled notes as fast as we could, and came away with a few gems.
1. Flyer flyer flyer. I was happy to meet Alex from Fuse and Horie, who seems to be the king of flyering, and whose flyering experience is ….. excessive? But what he said was simple. If you want to grow, flyer everyday, at peak times, consistantly. Hire flyer people, go out in a team, switch it up (team members, flyer types, start and finish times and exit locations). As he mentioned, starting 15 minutes earlier than usual or ending 15 minutes later, you will get people who have never seen you before. The same goes for switching exits.
2. Derek from Tsukaguchi. Seems Derek is the king of staying in a difficult location but making it a good one. Apparently this school was suffering, and the location was in doubt, but Derek came in and worked his butt off to make it happen, and has turned things around (i think i got that right). Anyway….. Derek is a quiet sorta guy, but a good Canuck and hard working. He has lots of great ideas. Events, parties, simple things that make the student feel that little extra personal touch that Smith’s has to offer.
3. The most impressive thing for me……. was going to a Smith’s seminar in Osaka and meeting someone who went to the same High School as me in little nowhere town in BC Canada. It turns out that Don from Katsura in Kyoto, probably the second closest school to ours, is from a city 1 hour from my hometown and went to my high school. Talk about small world! Furthermore, out of about 15-20 people at the seminar, there were 6-8 Canadians! For the first time in Japan, i felt like i was back home, surrounded by people who knew my hometown, had been to places i had been to, knew what poutine is and Nanaimo bars, and so on.
In conclusion: flyer flyer flyer, work hard, keep it simple, and Smith’s School of English, though started by an Aussie, has lots of Canadians!