Are EdTech Businesses Burning Out?

by | 21 Aug 23

As the world slowly recovers post-pandemic, it’s becoming increasingly clear how we work and learn has changed forever. With more and more educational institutions transitioning to digital technologies, EdTech businesses are facing a unique set of challenges in the coming years – all with the aim of providing the best possible solutions for students, teachers and parents.

But what exactly will 2023 bring for EdTech businesses? From changes to school budgets to rising costs associated with technology, there’s no doubt it will be a challenging year. But by staying ahead of the game and understanding what users need from their digital solutions, businesses can create products and services that stand out from the crowd.

In this blog, we will look at the challenges EdTech businesses will likely face in 2023. We’ll explore how they can stay ahead of the game and provide secure and effective resources for their users while staying profitable in a competitive market. So if you’re an EdTech business looking to stay ahead of the curve in the coming years, keep reading!

What does business burnout mean?

Business burnout is a term that describes the feeling of exhaustion and frustration experienced by businesses and their staff when they are overwhelmed with the demands or challenges within the business and/or from external pressures. It can lead to feelings like being unmotivated, having difficulty focusing or being unable to make decisions – all of which can hurt the success of a business.

Burnout can be caused by various factors, from long hours and excessive workloads to being in an unsupportive environment or feeling overwhelmed by responsibilities. It’s important for entrepreneurs and business owners to recognise the signs of burnout early on, as it can have serious consequences if left unchecked. Taking steps towards preventing burnout, especially for EdTech businesses, can be especially dangerous. With so many competitors vying for a share of the market, it’s crucial to remain focused and motivated to create an effective product or service.

What challenges are EdTech businesses facing in 2023

Post pandemic recovery

As the world continues to recover from the effects of COVID-19, EdTech businesses have to adjust their strategies and operations to remain competitive. The pandemic has created several obstacles for these companies, including changes to school budgets, increased expenditure, and an increasingly competitive job market. On top of this, many firms have had to pivot their products and services to meet the changing needs of students, teachers and parents.

COVID-19 saw an increase in the use of online technology and an introduction of the Oak National Academy, an organisation providing an online classroom and resource hub in the UK. It provides teachers with free lessons and resources for pupils aged 4 to 16, from reception to year 11. Oak also includes a specialist curriculum for supporting pupils who normally attend specialist settings.

This shift to free online resources created obvious commercial challenges for businesses that had been competing in a similar space before the pandemic.

The best gatekeepers in the business

I recently wrote a blog titled ‘Who created the gatekeeper, and do schools have the best in the world?’ and my view was yes, school gatekeepers are the best in business.

Why do I think they are the best? From my experience, most organisations utilise the gatekeeper as the first line of defence when looking to connect with or receive contact from sellers, but in schools, they are more than that. The gatekeeper in a school is often a business manager with decision-making authority, sometimes a member of the Senior Leadership Team, and they have strong backing from the ultimate decision-maker. That set’s them apart from other gatekeepers who are often placed simply as a buffer between the relevant lead in their organisation and the seller.

The harder it gets to run a school, and the more budgets are squeezed, the less time school staff and leaders have to field calls and speak to salespeople. Gatekeepers ensure that key staff have their time protected, making it harder for EdTech businesses.

Reduced budgets and increased costs in schools

The Institute of Fiscal Studies estimates that spending per pupil in 2024-25 is expected to be 3% lower than in 2010.

The government has announced a teacher pay award which, while welcomed by the sector, has added an unplanned increase to each school’s wage bill. Couple this with the steep rise in inflation, particularly the vast increase in energy bills of 200%, and it’s easy to understand why schools are being more selective with the technology they purchase.

The above pressures have a noticeable impact on EdTech businesses. With fewer funds available, schools are forced to make difficult decisions about how best to allocate their budgets. This can often mean cutting back on spending in areas like technology and digital solutions. This means that the resources available for EdTech companies are limited. Coupled with the increased costs of providing solutions and services post-pandemic, it’s getting harder and harder to generate business from schools.

Traditional sales methods

Schools have advanced, and they are more business-like than ever. They have to be because of the pressures mentioned previously. This means that more traditional and outdated sales methods and tactics, such as cold calling and email marketing, don’t work anymore. Buyers are instead looking for trusted advisers in the education space.

There’s a shift required by the EdTech world to provide buyers with the experience they want. Not only will you leave customers feeling better and more valued, but you will also increase your pipeline and revenue in a more predictable fashion.

Sellers have more tools at our disposal than we have ever had before, so we must choose the right ones and use them effectively. If we don’t, we will get left behind by those that do.

Competitive job market

The EdTech sales job market is currently one of the most competitive there is. While there are a lot of talented salespeople in the market right now, the number of those with a strong education pedigree is low, which means companies are struggling to fill roles due to demand outweighing supply. More than ever EdTech businesses need to ensure they are an attractive proposition so they can attract and retain top talent.

The Opportunity of Change: How EdTech Businesses Can Thrive in 2023

Choose technology wisely

Sales and customer success are big business, and there’s a whole host of technology out there that promises to help you make more sales and keep more customers, some great and some not-so-great. This means it is vital that you choose a technology stack to support your business and what you are trying to achieve.

In challenging economic times, businesses will often batten down the hatches and reduce headcount. Making your business more efficient and predictable through modern technology and sales tactics will ensure that you save money and generate more revenue.

We use several tools at Acceler8, and I’d be happy to take anyone through what we use and why we use it. If you’re interested, click here to book a catch-up in the diary.

Look after your staff

It sounds a bit cliche, but your staff are your most significant assets. It is important to look after them as it will help retain them in the long term. Investing in their growth and development, providing them with the right tools and giving them the autonomy to make decisions can help prevent burnout.

It is also essential that teams have regular breaks, a good work-life balance and are rewarded for their efforts. Providing a safe and open working environment where employees can voice their opinions and ask questions can also help them grow and maintain motivation.

Finally, regular check-ins with staff to ensure they are still feeling engaged and meeting their needs is key to keeping them motivated. By looking after your staff, you can ensure that burnout doesn’t become an issue for your EdTech business and that you continue to thrive in 2023. With the right approach and dedication, EdTech businesses have an excellent opportunity to make this year their best yet.

Write useful content

Writing helpful content for your followers, prospects, and clients is essential for any EdTech business. Not only does it help to build trust between you and your customers, but it also helps to position you as an expert in the sector.

Content writing doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming though – a simple blog post can be the catalyst for a bank of really thought-provoking content. It’s important however, that the content you are writing is relevant to your target market and provides some value, whether that be through helping them fix a problem or offering advice on how they can achieve success.

By regularly writing useful content for your followers, you can create relationships with your customers and prospects and let them know you are here to help them. You’ll also become more discoverable as your content will be shared further, helping build trust and authority in the sector.

Writing useful content for your social media followers effectively ensures your EdTech business stands out from the crowd and continues to succeed in 2023.

Takeaway: Use 2023 as an Opportunity for Growth

2023 provides many great opportunities for EdTech businesses, but only if they are prepared to invest in the right strategies. By focusing on customer needs, utilising the right technologies, taking care of their staff and, most importantly, adopting a modern approach to selling, businesses can ensure they are well-positioned to take advantage of what 2023 has to offer. With the right mindset and dedication, EdTech businesses have a fantastic opportunity to reach new heights and make this year their best if they are brave refresh their approach to generating conversations.

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