Not everyone might agree, but associations can be very beneficial and powerful for your language business.
You can learn the most from associations by looking at what they do right and learn from their examples, such as the IALC.
Today we would like to focus on the Spanish example FEDELE and what you might be able to learn from the impressive network they have built over the last decades.
While it is obvious that joining an association will help you to gain credibility and profit from their network it is also obvious that achieve such mega-authority status yourself and all “on your own” takes significant time and effort.
FEDELE is actually not just another association, it is the supercharged combination of seven associations combines and as the writing of summer 2018, there are almost 100 Schools of Spanish as Foreign Language connected to them.
FEDELE is specialized for the Spanish language market, but can still serve as a powerful example for you own trust-building efforts for your own language services.
Starting to create your own association always will start small. Someone said once that everything significant started once insignificantly.
FEDELE is structured as a federation and it consists of six Associations of Schools of Spanish as a Foreign Language which include Spanish Schools in Andalusia, The Canaries, The Valencian Community, The Community of Madrid, Castille and Leon, Catalonia, The Balearic Islands and the Basque Country.
How did they become so big?
Certainly, you need to be a good networker and create something of great exceptional value other businesses want to join and be part of. The secret lies in creating a win-win network where competition is not a threat but working together is seen as expanding possibilities to reach more students and serve them better as you would being all on your own.
It has to do with a big mindset change. Language business owners who look for a quick fix by joining a “business association” in order to quickly gain new customers without contributing anything are on the wrong path.
How can you grow your own language school association?
Get started by creating a unique focus on improving language education quality with a personal mission that you can associate yourself for decades to come. Once you have created a mission statement that is beyond “finding more customers” but focusing on providing excellent quality standards that distinguish from competitors you are off to a great start already.
To attract reliable partners that share your vision and become interested in joining your association you need to go beyond thinking “competition” and focus on becoming a “quality network” language professionals want to be associated with.
You might want to consider to read the article Should You Start Your Own Business Association?
It is a good start to think of an appealing name and create a standalone website with a decent logo and your mission statement. It does not need to be a big thing out of the box, but something that shows your commitment and that makes other businesses give a base to talk with you about it.
This project website should be a separate branded platform that you could use as a stand-alone business card when going to conferences such as the ICEF Conference.
Growing into a big association will take time and significant effort but will pay off big time and even might create a legacy for you to leave behind for decades to come.