A Trying Week

These last few days have been so trying that I have given myself a mental headache.

Over a year ago my wife and I made the decision to move my English Language School from its current location to a new. Everything was put into place to make it that a year from that time we would have enough money to finance the move.

Now that a year has passed it has come time to start that search for a new location and as expected that task hasn’t proven to be easy. We have to find a location that is cheap enough on rent and located in a safe place as our main customers are children themselves.

Sunday just gone we found a relevantly good place that my wife jumped at the second we saw it. It was located about 10 minutes for the station and had a great customer base nearby. The only trouble was that it was a little unsafe what with it being on the edge of a main road. The rent was cheap and the size was a bit smaller than what I have now but it would do for what I had in mind.

So we contacted the estate agent and started the process of arranging to sign a renting agreement. After a long morning of trying to negotiate a cheaper price, as you do as you could strike lucky, we got the ball rolling on getting papers drawn up. We returned home feeling smug with ourselves and the only thing left to do was to await a phone call from the security agency before we signed any contract papers and handed money over as well.

Then the dreaded call came from my wife’s father and mother who didn’t agree with our chosen location on the grounds of it being unsafe for children. Now I didn’t flip out or tell them to sod off but what I did was sit down and have a long think about it. In the end my wife and I agreed that perhaps we rushed choosing this place and we should keep looking.

Now here is where the mental headache begins. I was advised to continue my school in its current location and try and build it up to what it used to be. Now what I put together was a type of rebranding / relaunch marketing campaign. I would evaluate our prices, philosophy, and curriculum and come up with something that would make the schools local community take notice. Now all was agreed so I went ahead and spent the whole of Monday and Tuesday revamping everything.

When I returned from work yesterday with a few flyer designs in toe for my wife to give me her opinion and for her to check my Japanese I was greeted with another plan. Now she wanted me to leave the school as it is and continue saving money so we can move the school in 2017. I was allowed to continue with my rebranding but I wasn’t allowed to do any advertsing at all as the money would be put in the saving pot along with what we have already collected.

Now my wife has no experience about running a business and like me is learning as we go. I have a strong tradition that we flyer every year from the months of January until the end of March as this is when I do the biggest campaign of the year. She believes in the old Roman saying; “If you build it they will come” whereas I believe to have success we have to get our name out there and to do that we have to look at all forms of advertising which in turn costs money. Yes, I have come to learn and understanding the biggest form of advertising an English School in Japan is the “word of mouth” but I like to top that up with a few thousand flyers to get the best results.

I can see her point that if we were to move the school in another years’ time then the advertising in its current location would be ill advised but to have a constant profit we have to have more customers coming in the door than there are leaving which is a headache in itself when running an English Language School in Japan.

In the end I agreed with her terms and I will revamp and rebrand without telling a soul what I have done. I know that my current customers will go forth and spread the word and any potential customers will find out by the redesign of the website but I believe the influx of new students will be slower than what I was planning and a rebuild of the business on the level we agreed would not happen.

And to finish this post off and to add to my already stressed out self my wife this morning has said that she wants me to continue to look for somewhere to rent so we can continue with the relocation now.

Now I’m saying to myself; “Which way are we moving?”

Being married to a Japanese woman can be difficult in itself but when she wants to jump on the bandwagon with my business it is a hell of a stress headache that sometimes leaves me pulling my hair out.


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