5 challenges of a new ADI
Some good advice for driving instructors just starting out
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1. New kid on the block
Establishing and growing your new business
You’re new to a fiercely competitive market, and keen to promote your business effectively, but perhaps you don’t have much experience in digital Marketing or Web Design. Once you’ve found pupils you also need to keep them – Social Media and the latest ways to reach your target market is continually changing so it’s important to keep up. The web is full of great tips on ways to promote small businesses and social media channels are a low cost way to engage with your audience. So take the time to do some research online, and think about where your target market is and how you can find them. Also remember the importance of customer service with the old adage that it takes 4 times more cost and effort to find a new customer than keep an existing one. The Visitors to www.bsm.co.uk are typically interested in getting a price as quick and easily as possible, so think about how you show your prices and availability online.
2. Getting the right balance
Your work-life balance
You thought that once you became self-employed it would be you in control of your working hours? Hmmm… not quite. You’re working evenings and weekends to accommodate your pupils, and that’s a weeks’ holiday and relaxation might cost you that eager pupil wanting to learn quickly. At BSM we typically see the peak demands for lessons falling on weekends and evenings. Perhaps you can try to take off a day or 2 in the week, and make sure you optimise the time you are working to fill up your calendar and avoid big gaps between lessons. Keeping time for you and your family is a challenge at first while you’re establishing yourself, but try to ensure you do keep some time aside away from work to get the right balance.
3. Money matters
Profitability and cash flow
Not quite earning what you had in mind? Factor in set up costs, car maintenance, fuel, insurance, advertising…maybe your bank balance isn’t exactly overflowing. But neither is your pupil’s – they’ll be market savvy and hunting down the latest offers and discounts elsewhere, however great your teaching. Diary and pupil management can really help you here, ensure you’re booking in your pupils for the next lesson straight away, to keep the momentum in their learning and your diary busy. Consider incentivizing block bookings, we see 10 hours a very popular block at BSM, offering a £50 discount.
4. The boring stuff
When do I start being a Driving Instructor?
Admin, tax returns, DBS, admin, IT, complaints, admin, customer service, admin, admin, oh, and a bit more admin. Not quite life on the open road with the wind in your hair is it? There are tools to help small businesses out there, BSM local business advisors suggest you look online for hints and tips on the areas you find most challenging. As with most things, organisation is key, so by dedicating a few hours a week to those more menial tasks will help you deal with them in an organised fashion.
5. Flying solo
Create your own community
You might not be alone, but it doesn’t mean you’re not feeling a tad lonely on the road. Building a rapport takes time. You’re also spending time by yourself between lessons, and the chances are you’ve been stuck in traffic having hit that seventh straight red more than once! Make sure you reach out to other instructors online – there are plenty of forums and places to interact and share your experiences and tips with other ADI’s who understand your challenges… At BSM we see our instructors get together locally to talk about their experiences and share best practice, it also helps to feel connected.
For information on the new BSM Partner Lite, where you can bring you own car and benefit from the brand, tech and expert support for just £99 per week, click here.