Financial strategic planning for educational institutions: what is it?
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Financial planning is one of the most important functions of academic management. With it, it is possible to understand the health of the institution in order to develop and improve actions and processes in search of growth.
The planning analyzes several factors related to the institution’s productive routine, outlining goals , objectives and strategies to be achieved during the year.
With the financial data identified in the current year, planning must be done at the end of the school year, in order to project the scenario for the following year. In addition, it must be periodically reviewed and reassessed to ensure that the institution’s course is monitored and also to be able to identify and take advantage of market opportunities that arise.
A well-defined plan should answer some questions: how is the financial health of the institution currently? Where do you want to go in the next few years? What actions are needed to achieve this goal?
In addition, strategic financial planning allows for more assertive decision-making, ensuring growth , the financial remuneration of the investment and the continuous success of the educational institution .
Aware of the importance of strategic financial planning , and with 20 years of experience accompanying its customers, has separated some tips to help you, the manager, in the development of this process in your educational institution. Check out!
How to create a strategic financial plan
The first step in drawing up your strategic financial planning is to do a thorough analysis of the “numbers” of your educational institution. Identifying opportunities and revenue potential, and forecasting costs to achieve possible revenue, is the first step in building your financial plan.
From this, it is possible to establish the main goals and, if there are points of attention , to draw up the best plan that will guide each financial decision during the year.
Identifying the institution’s income and expenses is essential to produce a budget containing forecasts of income and expenses for the coming year. For this, the manager needs to identify all the institution’s expenses , classifying them into direct costs , such as salaries, rents, fixed monthly fees, electricity, among others, and indirect costs , such as taxes on revenue, graphic material, maintenance, etc. .
With this data , the manager knows the total cost of the educational institution and, from them, it is possible to identify costs per sector, per student or even per course, in addition, of course, to evaluate the sources of revenue for the provision of the identified costs.
With this mapping and definition of priorities, such as investments, renovations or acquisitions, the next step is to prepare the institution ‘s cash flow , which can be monthly or even for a longer period defined by the manager. This tool is essential for financial planning and to avoid scares and commitment in credit institutions.
Spending reduction opportunities
When preparing strategic financial planning, as the numbers are analyzed, opportunities to identify cost reductions in several areas usually arise. These measures, in addition to being considered in the budget, must be shared with employees, setting joint goals to achieve them.
Support tools for preparing strategic financial planning
A management software that has all the financial control of the institution is a fundamental piece for the elaboration of its planning. Through it, you have access to the entire history of income and expenses, allowing for comparative analysis and projections.
Some software even allow the elaboration of budget planning with a comparison between the planned budget and the realized budget, allowing the monitoring of the institution’s budget and financial performance.
With all your financial data and planning in hand, it is possible to know your institution’s break-even point , the minimum amount that must be raised to cover all monthly or annual expenses and even more importantly, if your operation remunerates the capital invested.
Purpose of planning
The financial planning of an educational institution is a fundamental tool to help academic management in the development of its daily activities, in the short, medium and long term.
The implementation of the strategies and goals contained in the planning must be aligned according to the reality of the institution, so that they are achievable and depend on the engagement , work and motivation of the entire team involved.
The manager also needs to be prepared for different scenarios . Planning must always include contingency plans , such as in cases of resources below the expected average , occurrence of unforeseen expenses , or even in terms of operational capacity, in a scenario of revenue growth (students).
Educational marketing: how to attract students in 3 essential tips
Increasing student enrollment is one of the great challenges of school management . When we consider the educational institution as a company , which provides a service and needs to reach a target audience , we can understand the importance of applying educational marketing .
Marketing well applied in educational institutions is a way to stand out in the market and also increase the number of new enrollments .
The first step to putting together an effective strategy is to know the persona of your educational institution. That is, a representation of your ideal customer .
This persona is assembled according to information gathered from the current base of students and potential customers. With this data it is possible to understand the needs and pains of your future student , creating a segmented marketing strategy to reach this specific audience .
Marketing also influences the retention of current students . The Higher Education Map in Brazil showed that the dropout rate in undergraduate courses in 2017 was 25%, and in the distance learning modality 34%. With well-applied marketing, it is possible to keep students loyal to the institution until the end of the course.
Investments in educational marketing tend to further strengthen the institution’s brand , increasing credibility in the market . We separate 3 tips to apply marketing in your teaching management . Check out!
1- Digital Marketing for Educational Institutions
A survey by the Federal Government pointed out that 65% of Brazilians between 16 and 25 years old use the internet every day , for about five hours . Young people consume a lot of information online , so marketing campaigns in digital media can be the right tool to get closer to the institution’s target audience .
Choosing an educational institution is a complex choice that needs time to analyze, after all, it involves education , career , personal and professional development , as well as time and money to be invested. In this aspect, the internet can be fundamental and have a direct influence on the student’s decision, being used as a strategic inbound marketing tool, to attract students who are in doubt about the choice of their future educational institution.
INBOUND MARKETING FOR SCHOOLS
Inbound marketing is a way to attract potential customers , arousing their interest in the service offered with informative content to lead them to the final purchase decision .
In the educational case, inbound offers relevant topics , not only for promoting the educational institution – demonstrating its differentials -, but delivering subjects that are relevant to the student , such as tips for choosing a course or on the job market and its opportunities.
The logic of the inbound strategy is to inform stakeholders before making a decision. And your institution can do this through content that can help with the choice and that are informative to gain the trust of the interested party . After all, about 60% of consumers make their purchase choice before even talking to a salesperson.
For inbound to be effective, our suggestion is to start with a blog on your institution’s official website and make regular posts with topics of interest to your current and future students. In addition, social networks are also a great tool to strengthen the institution’s image and monitor engagement with students and the market .
2- Offline Marketing
In addition to digital marketing strategies , it is also possible to invest in traditional media. The campaigns outside the digital environment involve commercials on TV , radio , billboards , magazine ads and also urban furniture , such as bus stops.
These strategies have a different reach than digital. The campaigns present content directly related to the sale , highlighting the educational institution’s differentials . It is a positioning tool that helps make more people recognize your brand .
Offline campaigns tend to impact many people by the time they are on the air. Segmentation can be defined by the channels used, exhibition locations – billboards and street furniture –, exposure times – in the case of TV and radio. The reach of offline campaigns can have a significant impact on your marketing strategy .
Within its strategic marketing actions, aimed at attracting new students, it is also possible to hire a press office , to guarantee space in spontaneous media, which normally has a greater weight of engagement than paid advertisements.
Remember to report costs and expenses for each offline action. This is important to measure the results obtained from each strategy . With this data in hand, it is possible to identify the assertiveness of each channel used in the strategy, serving as a source of information to prepare the next campaigns.
3- Relationship actions
Relationship actions can also count as strategies for attracting students . It is a way of bringing the institution closer to its current and future students, offering experiences of interest to this audience.
For example, it is possible to hold career fairs , counting on people who already work in the job market and who studied at your institution. This is a way to resolve doubts , share news about the job market, expand the network of contacts and also strengthen the image of the educational institution.
It is also possible to prepare other events within the institution, such as: sports competitions , lectures , panels, professional workshops or workshops . The school manager can prepare a calendar containing all the events of the year and plan the dissemination strategies with marketing actions, online or offline.