Companies across the board, regardless of their specific industry, have been…negatively affected by a number of forces, some beyond their control yet others by their own questionable financial decisions, which brings me to the purpose of this posting.
We here at Smiths School of English are involved in the English language teaching and coaching business in Japan and I’m sure those of you who have been following this industry at all over the past two years have witnessed the collapse of numerous companies in this industry both large and small.
Many of them were there one day, doing business as usual, then gone the next with very little or in many cases, no advance notice to their students. We read sad story after sad story of countless numbers of students who have had their dreams and their savings destroyed by such companies.
Just recently I read of one such company specializing in the study abroad field and the stories of people handing over large sums of money, quitting their jobs, and preparing for the exciting experience of moving overseas for a year or so to improve their English, only to find out that the company had suddenly declared bankruptcy and their money was lost. This situation has also happened numerous times with students handing over large sums of money for lessons they intended to take here in Japan.
The company unashamedly accepted their precious savings, knowing full-well the impending future of the company, and then with no warning they closed their doors and refused to return the deposits.
We are all familiar with the charade which follows.
The news media descends on the company, interviews the unfortunate victims, and broadcasts the “sincere apologies” which have been rehearsed by its shameful owners.
I doubt those victims feel any better after seeing that prostrated owner on national TV. I’m sure they would prefer to have their money returned instead.
I think by now my personal feelings on this subject are quite obvious and I have absolutely no doubt in my heart when I tell students and people around me, both Japanese and foreigners, that what we have on offer here at Smiths School of English is simply put, the absolute best for students living in Japan wishing to maintain or improve their English. There is no comparison.
What we as teachers at Smiths School of English need to inform our students of is that we live and die, as an individual franchise and as a team of franchises, by the quality of service and care we provide our students.
Students who grasp this concept will sign up on the spot.
I especially love doing trial lessons with small business owners; it is so easy for me to explain my position to them.
They grasp it immediately because they may be in a different business but we both fill out the same tax return.
Fellow franchisees, do not forget this.
Since the very beginning of our company, we have had the safest, highest quality offering to students of English in Japan.
Monthly tuition payments coupled with reasonably-priced lessons taught by individual franchise “Presidents” who will always go the extra distance to make each and every student feel comfortable and cared for.
Each student who has entrusted us with their dreams, as related to English language study here in Japan, deserves no less.
We are solid, as a company, just like that old “Bob Seger” song used by Chevrolet to promote an image of stability and strength.
Over the past four and a half years I have felt extremely honored to be associated with such a fine group of business owners here in Japan at Smiths School of English.
I strongly urge all of you to take a little time to read some of their personal stories here on our site.
I think you too will find inspiration from their stories.
I know I often turn to my fellow franchisees here at Smiths School of English when I need an extra shot of energy or ideas to get moving again.
Thanks guys; let’s keep on doing what we do best!
Smith’s School of English Nara – Saidaiji
月謝制 の スミス 英会話 奈良 － 西大寺校
http://www.smithweb.co.jp/school/saidaiji.shtml 英会話 西大寺 奈良市
Al Bartle says
Excellent words! This message should be very important to potential students as well. Current students know the difference because they have already experienced it. True ownership of a business must always entail personal responsibility. We are responsible to assure that our students get good quality lessons. Our continued business depends on maintaining the quality at a high level. In the case of the other school you spoke of, I am sure that the owners (stockholders) actually felt the same way we did as they had the most to lose. They knew that if the “company” did not continue to meet student’s expectations and provide high quality lessons, the business would fail. Unfortunately in that case, the owners were not the ones in charge of the company although some executives may have had a vested interested through stock ownership. The management of the company-school failed to understand that by accepting large amounts of upfront money they were making a commitment to deliver something and the money was not paid to help them open new schools and run TV ads. It is sad that the current bankruptcy laws allow companies and their failed managers to escape personal responsibility. But that is the way it is. So if I were looking for a school, I would stay away from the company schools if I sensed even the slightest bit of potential problem. The bottom line is Smith’s Schools, with their individual school owners are the very safest bet and best place for Japanese students to continue to get high quality lessons period. Keep up the good work my friend!
Al (SSE Okamoto)