How To Build Your EdTech Start-up From Scratch
While the bricks-and-mortar method of education still dominates the academic system, EdTech companies are slowly bringing about a technological revolution. The EdTech sector is expected to grow at a rate of 7% amounting to $252 million by 2020. The dynamo behind this growing army is the idea to address the current issues of the education sector and revamp the face of it.
There are already tons EdTech start-ups across the globe and the number is still increasing. However, the vertical of high-profile successful start-ups is not so high. While some EdTech companies have reached the zenith of the start-up world, there is a long list of those who are still struggling to secure an entry ticket.
The triumph of an ed-tech start-up rests upon the ‘idea’ of it. No matter how noble your intentions might appear, you should have a unique offering. The market is already awash with innovative EdTech products. Hence, you need to plant such seeds which grow on to shelter some uncovered issues of the education domain.
Here, we have a few essentials that will act as building blocks of your EdTech venture and save you from common pitfalls.
Recognize the calls of the education sector
The education sector is an intricate marketplace with a lot of stakeholders, each having discrete and sometimes contrasting expectations. It’s you who must decide as to which stakeholder you are targeting and whose issues are you going to resolve. These stakeholders can be teachers, students, parents, or school administrators.
Once you are done with that, the next step is to identify the issues bothering them. Here, by issues, we mean the actual problems faced by them and not your perception of it. Until and unless you do that, you won’t able to justify your offering to your target audience.
Choose the right business model
In the words of Thomas Alva Edison, “Having a vision for what you want is not enough. Vision without execution is hallucination”. Something that provides a business an edge over the competition is excellence in execution.
So, once you have a ground-breaking idea to refine the education belt, the next step is to chalk out an execution plan. Choosing the right business model four your start-up is very important. You need to chart the best plan to sell your product and earn the confidence of the investors.
Although most of the ed-tech start-ups go for the freemium pricing model, not everyone benefits from it. While customers initially flock to avail free products, not many of them turn up to buy upgrades. And this proves detrimental to the start-ups in the long run.
You can choose a business model of your liking based upon the segment you are targeting that is, B2B or B2C.
Measure the ‘uniqueness’ quotient of your product
There is already a cornucopia of EdTech products on offer in the market. Then why will your product attract eyeballs? What is the need for your product in the education market? Is it veritable enough to compel buyers into considering your offering?
These are a few questions that every entrepreneur needs to answer before diving into the entrepreneurial sea. If the answers to these questions are not satisfactory, reconsider your idea. If you are offering something that is already out there in the market, your product will fail to attract any buyers. Moreover, no investor would be willing to fund your start-up.
Hence, a market reconnaissance is a must to make sure that your product is not a mere simulation of any other product already there in the market.
Set a ‘price-tag’ to your product
‘Pricing is the moment of truth – all of the marketing strategies come to focus on the pricing decision’ – Raymond Corey.
Pricing a product is not an easy decision to make, it involves a lot of forethought. One of the fundamentals in deciding the success of your start-up is the value you assign to your product. Most of the EdTech companies commit the grave mistake of pricing their product close to that of their competitors. While this shortcut saves time, it might prove damaging in times to come.
A better option would be doing some research and dummy run for your product. Experiment it for some time, talk to the beneficiaries of your product, and do some more research. Pricing is a complex task. So, take your time, analyze your idea, collate your strategy with that of the competitors and then set a ‘price-tag’ for your product. It will help you in securing a competitive edge in the EdTech space.
Write an effective advertisement plan
Until this stage, it’s just you who knows what your product is all about and what all feathers it wears to its hat. Now, you need to let the world know about it. Here, comes the vital point of advertising your product.
Advertising is all about making your product more visible and noticeable. It is also a shout out to let the buyers know that their needs can be satiated by what you have in store. Leo Burnett said, ‘The sole purpose of advertising is explaining the service the business renders’.
However, it should not just be done to foster an increase in sales. Advertising should rather focus on creating a buzz, generating awareness, stimulating positive evaluations, and bringing in customers for a trial.
Nonetheless, the element of ‘truth’ is indispensable for successful advertising. Customers should not be told irrelevant facts. They should be given clear insights about the product and the benefits they can reap from it. Advertising is what decides if the start-up will gain momentum or lose it.
So, make it memorable, make it inviting, and make it persuasive.
Stick to your primary goals
Loyalty to the root cause of your venture is one of the core elements that will map the life of your EdTech product. While foraying into different arenas might look appealing for any emerging business, implementing it in the initial years is a big no.
You should first work upon strengthening your core capabilities rather than adding new features. If you stepped in to improve students’ vocabulary, do that first. Their grammar and pronunciation can be taken care of later. This will help you stay in the long run.
Also, investors prefer funding those start-ups that remain close to their goal at least in the primary years. The same applies to advertisers as well. If your basic offering is not able to attract customers, how will the additional ones do that?
So, before investing ahead of the cycle, prepare a solid groundwork. Without that, you will have trouble creating anything valuable.
To conclude, things are better when planned and executed in a proper way. Food tastes best when it’s cooked with a proper recipe and portraits come to life when drafted with proper tools. Planning is important in everything, be it a holiday or a start-up. A baby comes to life only after its nurtured for nine months. Similarly, a start-up emerges victorious only if its fed and watered properly.