According to a study conducted by The Harris Poll, 90% of parents would encourage their children to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering, or math. If you’re a STEM teacher or coding instructor thinking about starting to teach these subjects outside of school, there is a sizable market of families who want to learn from you.
Do you command expertise in a STEM field and love teaching students? If so, it might be time to consider opening a business that inspires students to pursue coding or STEM as lifelong passions. Whether you pursue this work part-time or full-time, launching a STEM school or coding academy for kids can be a rewarding venture. Discover what you’ll need to teach STEM and coding in-person and online — opening your teaching opportunities up to a world of possibilities.
1. Put together a business plan
There is no right or wrong way to write a business plan; however, following a template may help you stay organized if you’re starting from scratch. If you’ve worked in technology before, you may have seen similar business plans for startups! Researching business plans for similar companies can help you get a solid understanding of what you’ll need to include in your outline.
A traditional business plan should have the following pieces:
- Executive summary: A simple summary of your business and its mission
- Company description: A longer description of your company, including who you are and how you plan to serve your community
- Market analysis: Research and findings focused on the demand for your business as well as competitors in your community and online. As the STEM and coding fields grow, this section might get long.
- Organization and management: Explain who you employ, their role in your company, and who is responsible for each tactic and topic. If you don’t have employees yet, you can explain your many roles.
- Services and products you offer: This section is for considerations like what do you teach? Do you sell any products? What kind of content do you specialize in?
- Marketing and sales plan: Add details on how you plan to market your business. This area should evolve over time, but we suggest using it to organize your initial marketing efforts.
- Financial projections: This section is for considerations like: how much money did you save or borrow to start this business? How much money do you expect to make? How do you plan on taking payments?
We recommend spending a good chunk of time working on your business plan. But, you should also be open to evolving it as your business starts and grows. Having a strong business plan can be helpful if you are taking out a small business loan or receiving outside investment. Not only does it shows you are serious, but also that you have professional experience in your field and a clear path to profitability.
2. Decide what and how you’ll teach
Take a second to consider your field of expertise. Are you a research scientist? A software developer? Are you a teacher with a passion for botany? Maybe, you’ve taught yourself coding and want to teach others. Regardless of your skillset, you’ll have to demonstrate a level of mastery over the content you wish to teach. If your business will span multiple classes or subjects, you can enlist the help of fellow experts as instructors for your business.
Next, consider if you’ll teach classes in-person, online, or have both options available. STEM classes are easily translatable to either format; however, there are pros and cons to each. Online classes are often shorter and cost less than their in-person counterpart. In addition, online classes allow for greater flexibility for customers.
Once you lock down your subject matter and class format, you’ll be one step closer to opening your children’s activity business. Teaching kids to code is rewarding, but writing lesson plans can be difficult. If you are interested in science, coming up with science lesson plans, experiments, and projects for children can be tough. Check out our guides to help you succeed!
3. Create your brand and research your competition
In order to establish a business, you’ll need to create a brand. As a small business, you’ll want to stand out from your competitors by highlighting what makes your business special. Spend some time brainstorming a name for your business as well as your logo and marketing materials. Then, you can start to consider how your business will reach customers.
A great way to see what kind of brand you want to build is to start researching your competitors. You may know who your local community competitors are, but we also advise you to research larger competitors — especially if you’re teaching online classes. There is a lot to be learned from brands that work in the space you want to build a business in. When doing research, take note of what other brands are doing well, where they could improve, and how your business is different. Having this information readily accessible later on will help you differentiate your business from competitors and attract customers by shining in your own unique way!
4. Get ready to multitask
Owning a coding or STEM school for kids requires wearing many hats. To get ready, make sure you have skills in the following areas:
- Teacher: Whether you’ve taught for years or are just starting out, opening your own children’s activity business will involve teaching students.
- Business manager: You’ll need to be prepared to work in every department of your business, including accounting, scheduling, communications, and customer service.
- IT professional: If you’re teaching STEM or coding, you might already be a digital pro! But, even if you’re an expert, you’ll need to make sure you’re comfortable with using classroom technology. Make sure you have enrollment software and feel comfortable using solutions like Zoom to teach a class.
- Role model: You’re about to start inspiring little hearts and minds through science! Remember that the children who take class at your future business will look up to you as a role model. It’s your job to set a good example, always.
5. Find a location and determine your curriculum
If you’re planning on offering in-person classes, you’ll need to secure a physical location. When thinking about the kind of space you need for a studio, consider if you’re teaching online, in-person, or a combination of both. In-person classes will require more space and online classes will require strong wifi.
When selecting a location, you’ll want to prioritize finding space in your community that is easily accessible for families — especially when they’re traveling to and from school. You can look into traditional commercial real estate, community centers, schools, or local churches and businesses.
Once you have a location, it's time to start thinking about your curriculum. Will you teach a camp? Private lessons? Will you offer after-school programs or semester-long weekend classes? There’s no right or wrong answer, but determining when and how you’ll offer activities will help you plan when and how you’ll use your location.
6. Get a payment processing and registration system
Once you’ve written a business plan and decided on an in-person or virtual location, you’ll need a way to collect student registrations and payments. When you’re teaching STEM classes, you’ll want your software partner to feel simple and straightforward so parents can discover and book your classes with ease. When you choose to partner with a good registration software, you will also benefit from software automations, seamless banking, flexible payment options, and financial reporting to make it easier to analyze where your business is thriving and where more work needs to be done.
If you’re starting a children’s activity business — whether it is in science, math, coding, or any other subject — Sawyer for Business has everything you need to make registration easy for your team and your customers. See why thousands of businesses love Sawyer for Business and why you will, too.
7. Connect with your community
Once you have a business plan, location, team, and powerful registration software, you’ll be ready to start teaching. Our best advice is to connect with your community whenever and however you can. Consider joining local parent Facebook groups, partnering with your local business bureau, offering free trials, and hosting events to get the word out. If you partner with Sawyer, you get access to the Sawyer Marketplace where hundreds of families can book your classes. Connecting with your community is key to unlocking success for years to come!
We can’t wait to see how your business grows! To get more information on streamlining your STEM business or coding academy for kids, connect with a member of our team today.