David and Goliath: Redux

As we approach the CCA Annual Conference, I continue to watch our industry shift from a “student-focused” education model to a “revenue-focused” business model.

While not every school group that is publicly traded or private-equity funded has made this transition, many have, and I believe that it has hurt everyone involved.

The staff loses the vision that drove them to work their hearts out in a mediocre paying job in the first place, causing turnover (which in turn exacerbates student attrition problems).

Students do not get quite the same level of attention, nor, in some cases, the same quality of education. The companies themselves struggle as they continue to try and solve their problems by focusing on the bottom line, a vicious cycle that will continue until they focus on what matters.

So who continues to do well? Those who stay the course the school companies that are often family-owned, student-focused and love helping people advance their careers.

While many school groups have seen their growth stagnate or even fall, these mom-and pop-schools – you know, the ones that “can’t survive the influx of the big spending monster school groups,” the ones that will get “crushed” by the competition – are doing well. Maybe it’s time the Goliaths realize and learn from the Davids.

It’s all about vision: Fix your eyes on the students and the profits will come. Fix your eyes on the profits, and the students (and profits) will go.

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