My Revision Plan: Elaine Gordon
Elaine Gordon tells us how her company is helping school students ace exams
Company name : MyRevisionPlan
Website : www.myrevisionplan.co.uk
Founders: Elaine Gordon
Based : Hale, Manchester
Date started: 2007
Tell us what your business does
MyRevisionPlan is a new and completely free website designed to help students plan their GCSE revision. Specific exam details for each student can be drawn automatically into the planner from a school’s Capita Sims admin system or via our IT helpdesk, to ensure the correct details are added, meaning the student doesn’t have to complete the planner manually.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
When my son began his GCSE revision, I was struck by how difficult it was for him to effectively plan his time. Though his school provided excellent guidance, due to time pressures it is often a challenge for teachers to give revision planning help on an individual basis. Conversations with other parents proved I was not the only one concerned. I decided to look for financial support to develop the concept to find an answer to enable students to better plan their revision.
How did you know there was a market for it?
I undertook a concentrated market research exercise, carrying out a series of workshops with teachers, parents and students over the course of 12 months. Once the need for an easy to use, online revision planner had been confirmed, I set about developing a site with a local web agency. Over the course of the following 12 months, this site was continually refined in response to additional. Currently there is no equivalent tool available free of charge on the internet.
What were you doing before starting up?
I work as a counsellor. I have developed courses in personal development and specialise in helping build confidence and self esteem. The nature of my profession means that at the moment it is possible for me to pursue both career paths.
Did you do market research, put together a business plan etc.?
I developed paper based concepts of the planner for my son and other students. I decided to seek funding to develop an automated programme and discussed the concept with a web development agency. User groups were formed with parents, teachers and students to discuss the concept and following these discussion, Capita Sims were approached to see if we could link the site into the schools. Once this was in place a pilot run of the site was undertaken with a number of schools, which was a success and the site was subsequently launched.
What challenges have you faced how have you overcome them?
The challenge for us is spreading the word on a limited budget. We are using a combination of targeted events, e-marketing and PR to help raise awareness in a cost-effective and accountable way. We have e mailed over 5000 secondary schools in the UK and we are now looking to establish contact with Local Education Authorities (LEAs).
How have you promoted your business?
We have had good success at dedicated IT in education events, and our PR campaign, started only a few weeks ago, is starting to pay dividends. Our direct emails are also helping to generate more registrations. More recently I have been invited to present the concept to a number of LEAs in the area; and was a guest speaker at a meeting of the Greater Manchester Challenge team.
How much do you charge?
It was a very conscious exercise to make the site free of charge. Ultimately we aim to secure sponsorship from responsible businesses to cover the day to day running costs of the site and to achieve return on investment.
What’s the impact on your home life been like?
Life is extremely busy – juggling with counselling work. I work most evenings and weekends. www.myrevisionplan.com is always in my thoughts as to what next!
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Keep focused. Be prepared for lots of knock backs. Everything costs more than anticipated.
Look ‘out of the box’. Keep going.