Entrepreneur: Jinas Thadayil
Business Name: English House
Welcome to Entrepreneurs of India #startupstories episode 128
Proficiency in English is a crucial aspect in today’s job market. Unfortunately, it has become an Achilles heel for many job seekers and students in India. An extensive world of opportunities remains closed before them due to poor language skills.
English House, founded by two entrepreneurs, Jinas and Shafeel, tries to solve this problem with the help of technology and social media. They teach English through WhatsApp! Yes, it may sound easy, but they put enormous amount of research into building the course.
For them, it was all about using social media productively. And the rave reviews they bagged on Google is a testimony to their quality. Apart from the immensely popular WhatsApp course, they also handle regular training classes in English and business communication.
English House is now one among the most profitable language training centres in India. Today, it has a core team of sixty trainers. How did English House happen? What are the challenges they face in the continuously evolving edtech landscape of India? Co-founder and CEO Jinas tells the story.
1) How did you get your idea for this business?
Though I graduated in commerce, I had an unsettling passion towards learning English and the dream of starting something innovative always booms in my heart of hearts. I should call it a turning point in my life meeting Shafeel, a man with extraordinary qualities of head and heart.
The idea for the startup popped up while having a casual conversation with him over a cup of coffee. Entrepreneurship is very exciting as every day will be filled with new opportunities for creativity and challenges to measure your determination, willpower and skills. And the reason for giving birth to English House is simple because most of the people in India and over the world are surging to master this global language.
In spite of their busy schedule, little time do they have to invest for this purpose. There comes the necessity of a virtual classroom where they can acquire the language and it’s at their convenient time and place. Rather than stressing them out, we focus on imparting the language in a natural way and that is our key feature.
2) Why is now a good time for this idea to exist?
We are living in a digit world with smartphones being found everywhere. Thus, we thought it would be a better idea to utilise this social platform for something productive. And as I already mentioned, we are all made to grab opportunities that make our day easy and smooth.
Atop of all, learning English language through WhatsApp is a strength to many of our NRI students as they probably have no other solace or remedy.
3) What was the reaction from your family when you first decided to become an entrepreneur?
Right from my childhood, I have been very different from others. They very well knew that I wouldn’t settle for any job for that matter where my freedom and creativity would be altered. When I first discussed about the plan for this startup, they suffocated me warning about the challenges and risks of it.
But when the time progressed, they seem to be happy and relieved. I always try to find time to share the stories and developments with them. Their priceless prayers are always a blessing for us.
4) What was the biggest mistake in business and what did you learn from it?
The biggest mistake, I believe, is choosing the wrong cavalcade to build a company’s manpower. It is always vital to build a corpus of skilled and rational people who share similar point of views .
This is, in fact, a lesson I learned from the failure of my first business. Today, I am very attentive in every step I take.
5) What is your biggest obstacle in the next twelve months and how will you overcome it?
It is too good to watch the unflattering growth of our English House. When we initiated this company in October 2018, we had only ten trainers. It’s only been a year and now our team is hiked with sixty eminent trainers. Since the number of students are increasing, we have more demands to meet.The biggest challenge is to survive the competition in the business market and at the same time ensure the quality of education.
We are greatly trying to bring out more programmes and benefit our students. Our current programmes being Spoken English and Business English Training, we have plans to begin online coaching for International exams like IELTS, TOEFLS, OET etc. For that we require more trainers and capital too.
6) What habits contribute to your success?
I am a keen observant and most of the times I watch people, I try to learn their motives, gestures and postulates of mind. This, in turn, has helped me to deal with students, trainers and other associates of the circle in a perceptible way. Every coin has two sides. Likewise, our enterprise has won both bouquets and brickbats. Often, I am able to deal with criticisms and hate comments in a very pleasant way with the aid of this quality of mine.
7) We had the opportunity to start this business again,What would you do differently?
If I had a chance to go back and start afresh, I would have thought of a project instead of a program like this. According to my view, a project is always better than a program in terms of scalability. A program will require rigorous management, more manpower and huge investment too. On the contrary, a project is a product that will only need a one time investment and comparatively less effort from the managerial part.
8) What is your favourite inspirational quote ?
“Always deliver more than expected” – Larry Page (Co-Founder of Google)
9) Where do you find inspiration?
Finding contentment in our lives is very important for a happy and prosperous life. Despite all the complications in life as well as business, I take a few breaks then and there. I promise myself to spend those little intervals qualitatively to explore myself, to talk to my inner self and find peace within. I do this as a therapy for myself and it highly reawakens me.
10) What is your favourite book ?
The power of your subconscious mind – Joseph Murphy
11) What advice would you give someone starting out?
Customer satisfaction must be the first preference. Always be a stricken when it comes to quality assurance. Never ever give up on that. It is also important to learn the marketing strategies for the overall development of a business.
However, I think the most effective advertisement is the ‘word of mouth’ which is only possible when your ustomers are valued and that they are happy with us. Our English House runs as a team and I strongly believe we have walked the talk. Everything is evident from the reviews we have received on our Facebook and Google pages.
Entrepreneurial spirit stems from one’s relentless passion to solve a problem in the market. Jinas and team rolled up their sleeves to teach English in an innovative way. They called into aid a popular social media platform like WhatsApp to do it effectively, which also allowed them to provide their service to NRIs across the globe.
The emphasis on customer satisfaction gave English House an edge over their competitors. Within a year of its inception, the brand has become the talk of the town. So, no matter what your domain is, always put your customer first.
Click here to follow English House on Instagram.
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