At the beginning of this year, I was cautious and hesitant to daub too many bright colours on the picture I painted of the outlook for the year. Yet while people seemed braced for a tight year, there also seemed to be optimism that education would continue to be an essential expense in the eyes of many.
Now, as the year unfolds a little more, I am feeling increasingly confident, and I imagine you may be sitting in the same boat. In this issue, we hear that at the time of going to press, bookings were slightly up in Australia for January compared with 2008 trends. And among Ialc members, enrolments are at least steady for the majority of the membership, if not up a little.
I have just read a contribution for a “View from the Desk of” which appears each week as part of our regular Your World on Monday webzine that you will find on our Hothouse Media website and I have to say that the news from one UK school is nothing less than extremely positive. Let’s hope this buoyancy can continue as the year progresses.
Among agencies, particularly in Europe, there is expansion happening too, with new branches being opened by businesses that are clearly prospering. One of these agencies points to a move into the work & travel sector as a possible safeguard against any downturn in demand. As we say in the UK, not putting all your eggs in one basket is always a sensible strategy, and in another article in this issue, we learn another useful expression from Germany: “It is always better to stand on two legs”.
This is a quote in relation to “roundbound” business, a term that was explained to me by Andreas Beyer from Exploricus/Educatius another company that operates an inbound (educator) and an outbound (agency) division. Such hybrid companies may not be the norm, but they are certainly not uncommon, and they put a whole new spin on the notion of partnership if two such composite companies should work together.
Agencies and educators are always on the lookout for new strategies to consider that might lead to increased business revenues. Whether it is tangential business development, investment in school buildings or becoming an Ielts test centre , the first people to know will normally be business partners, whose support and comradeship is essential in 2009 as it is every year.