Many teachers often supplement their income with private lessons or even live on them entirely. However, one lucrative area in this field which is often overlooked by teachers is giving Private Lessons to Businesses.
Although many of the issues involved with private lessons are relevant when teaching business people, there are one or two additional points worth considering. This article looks at how to find private lessons with local businesses and how to approach them successfully.
As with any successful dealings with business, the key here is professionalism from start to finish. This will impress the businesses and make them realize that you have something to offer them which will benefit their company.
Find the Right Businesses
The first step is to scope out potential businesses who might need your services. If you are living in a non English speaking country you will be looking to approach:
- businesses which export or import
- businesses who have dealings with foreign clients or suppliers
- businesses which have dealings with foreign clients/suppliers locally
- local branches of multinational businesses
Since English is the de facto language of international business, simply go through the local Yellow Pages and make a list of businesses which are likely to have dealings with foreigners. The list is massive but here are a few examples to think about:
- agricultural producers where produce is often exported
- banks & financial institutions which are often multinational
- hotels, travel agents & the tourist industry in general who will be dealing with foreign visitors
- larger manufacturers & producers of all types who export
- the medical profession who will be accessing information in English on new developments & drugs
- website developers who may be asked to produce multilingual sites
- estate agents selling to foreigners
- larger exhibition centers with international shows to put on
- international movers and relocation companies
Also don’t forget to go online and look at the websites of local businesses to see which ones have sites in English.
Businesses like professionalism so that’s how you’ve got to do this.
1. Get a website. This doesn’t have to cost much at all and it doesn’t have to be fancy. Keep it simple for now with the facts of who you are and what you do. It will be a brochure for your services so if you can, get it displayed in both English and the local language.
2. Prepare some business cards with your name and what you do viz, offer Business English lessons! It might be a good idea to get them double-sided with English on one side and the local language on the other. These can be ordered online for very little cost.
3. Check out the companies. For each one you plan to approach you should know firstly the person to approach (if it’s a big company this will probably be someone in HR; a small company may mean approaching the boss directly). You should also know a little about what they do – the worst thing is for you to see if they want English lessons only to find out they only sell locally which would mean both your time and their time has been wasted.
4. Once you have the company details sorted you should contact them. If you speak the local language then by all means pick up the phone and call to make an appointment. If you can’t then think about sending an email to the right person in the local language. The whole point here is to get an appointment to see the person who makes the decisions so remember that the more emails you send out, the more appointments you’ll get.
5. Once you have an appointment, prepare your pitch. Remember, businesses want to know what benefits they will get by employing you so simply tell them
- who you are
- how having English lessons will benefit them
- what you offer
You will also want to be able to leave behind something when you go; here you can simply produce a short A4 handout which briefly says what you can offer (in the local language again). And remember that when you visit the company dress the part: businesses deal with businesses so wear a suit or formal clothes to inspire confidence in the business!
Importantly, remember that if you do prepare anything in the local language get it done properly!
Depending on the company you approach you might want to offer different kinds of packages. Because you have researched the business you will be able to prepare and offer specialised packages that will appeal to that business in particular. For example, suppose you are approaching a local real estate agent whom you see has dealings with foreign buyers looking for a holiday home. You might then offer:
- English for House Tours (how to present a house to a prospective buyer in English)
- Telephone English (practice on telephone conversations with a prospective buyer)
On the other hand, if the business exports car parts to the United States then you might want to offer:
- English for Business Documents (looking at letters of credit, bills of lading, packing lists and so on)
- Telephone English (practice on telephone conversations with American buyers)
As you can see above, you need to give the businesses what they want. Thus it’s very important to research them well and find out what kind of English is best for them.
- If you can, get in touch with the local Chambers of Commerce. Often there are foreign chambers who have close ties to British or American business groups and these are worth approaching (especially if you offer members a discounted rate and can get your ad included in the in-house newsletter).
- One area which can prove very lucrative and relatively easy is to use your knowledge of English to offer proof reading services to businesses. If a business has a website in English or any other material (brochures, menus, etc…) then take a look at it. If you spot more than a couple of mistakes why not approach the business with a defined package such as a fixed price to review and rewrite their menu in good English. This is usually a one-off sale but it can lead on to more work.
Private English Lessons – a general look at teaching privately
A First Private English Lesson – what to do in that first private lesson