Founder & CEO at Mindseed
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Mindseed - Senior Manager - Cluster Operations - Preschool Chain (6-8 yrs)
Hi, I am Prasad, don't let my INSEAD MBA fool you. I've been a lifelong entrepreneur and this is my story.
The reason I'm so passionate about education and making it more personalized for each child, is because I am a failure of the factory model of education. All through school I was great at mathematics, numbers, and logic. However, my school preferred to focus on the subjects that I'm terrible at. All through school it was an effort to get me up to the artificial standard that was set for each grade rather than letting me go faster and engage in the things that I was enjoying. It was only when I got to St. Xavier's College and selected Mathematics, Statistics and Economics, all subjects that played to my strengths and that I enjoyed, that I finally found my stride. I suddenly went from stupid to smart, which is when it struck me. It's not about labels! If we enable each child to move at her own pace, everyone can find their stride and excel. Everyone can find their inner genius!
"Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."
Our vision is, to change the world by unlocking each person's learning ability. We have been at it for 9 years now. But still each month when we look at Mindseed, it's a new beast with a new set of problems and opportunities. To tackle these we have radically changed how our business operates. We have rethought everything including the product, the school setup, the marketing and even recruitment, as you will soon find out. Nothing is written in stone and change is the only constant at Mindseed. While we have grown over the years, we have worked to keep the startup spirit alive through the pace of growth, change and innovation. This has held us in good stead even in the pandemic that has shaken up the world, but especially the education sector.
Emerging from the ashes of the pandemic, the plan is to accelerate the pace a few more notches - get bigger, better but faster! Schools and preschool are only the start, we will use our centers as beachheads to give us a local presence and work to unlock peoples learning potentials through a variety of products and technologies which we are developing. Our sights are set on having 100,000 learners on the books by 2030. Yep, - challenging- is an understatement, and as our Angel Investor & Advisor Srikant Datar (Dean Harvard Business School) says - we need some equally crazy people to make it happen! Thats why Im posting this.
To achieve great things, we need more awesome people with an entrepreneurial mindset (we're little over 400 people now).
- We are looking for a Senior Manager - Cluster Operations who is an entrepreneur by heart and experience to bolster our Management Team, a partner to take Mindseed forward with us.
- Senior Manager - Cluster Operations is a very broad role with exposure to each facet of the business and it is on each one to define how wide and deep she/he takes it.
- The role will also be very hands-on, so we are looking for people willing to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty.
- This means a Senior Manager - Cluster Operations has to consistently do things like :
- Generate leads - You must fix a target of leads per school in your area per month and must ensure it's done.
- Convert leads to walk ins - You need to assign someone to follow up from leads to walk ins (or maybe this is distributed across all Centre Managers in your area) and look at reports of this every week. You need to motivate this team by doing some calls yourself and helping them close. You need to push this team to meet the conversion targets. You need to ensure the team is always charged up to win.
- Convert walk ins to admission - For this you need to focus on (1) School experience (2) Counselling (3) Follow up (4) Management of the process
- Generate Referral Walk ins: Ensuring all parents are on the app, ensuring good evidence is uploaded regularly on each child's app in each school (need a system for this). Using the app engagement to drive referrals. Doing good regular parent engagement events every month (these activities need to be fun and engaging), doing good PTM's every month (these activities are educational), ensuring each Centre Manages has high level of engagement with her parents, driving referral walk ins.
- Generate direct walk ins - For this you must ensure (i) a certain amount of marketing is done every month - Ads, flyers, jackets, banners, lamp posts, bus stands, no parking boards, auto backs etc. (ii) the location is attractive for parents to walk in.
- Set appropriate Fees - we need to set fees at the right level so as to maximise this equation, in cases that may mean we charge the highest fees in a market as we have a premium product, in cases it may mean running a discount in a price sensitive market.
- A lot of things like school experience, parent engagement and marketing can keep adding to the premiumness of the offering and helping us to capture more value.
- All the above is the same process for pre school, day care or activity classes.
- To make all this possible however you need a motivated and driven team that is willing to do anything for you, their leader. To do that you need to use the mastery, autonomy and purpose framework.
- Coach and mentor them
- Invest in them to get better
- Give them new challenges so they can learn
- Give them autonomy
- Make them feel like owners
- Connect them to the purpose of the organisation and what we are doing
- Help them see how our mission is actually coming true
- Make them feel like they are contributing to our vision
- In addition to these you need to help them by solving their problems, win their respect by leading from the front (doing sales yourself), show them you care about them as people and go above and beyond for them so they will do the same for you.
- To do all of this well you must:
- Understand your parent
- Understand the market in which you operate
- Understand your team (including Principals)
- Understand your product
- This is the job and these are the skills required. Do it consistently and you will win. It's that simple. There is no silver bullet, but these are all the lead bullets it takes to be a good Senior Manager - Cluster Operations
- You must currently ensure that 80% of your time is focused on doing this and only 20% of your time goes on things that don't maximise revenue.