As a coach and entrepreneur, one of the most powerful tools you have is the vision of your school. Your vision holds your purpose for starting this adventure and your ultimate dream for what your microschool will be able to do for your community.

Mission statement

A crucial tool in maintaining your school’s purpose and direction is your mission statement. Families will decide on your school because they agree with your philosophy of education. As students create a school culture, it will be flavored with the school’s mission. Ultimately, when you’re faced with a hard decision, you’ll be able to lean on your mission statement to stay focused on the reason why your school exists.

A mission statement doesn’t have to be complicated; in fact, it can be something as simple as “Spread ideas,” which is TED’s mission statement. Consider writing your mission statement an exercise to answer the question, “What do you do?” as simply as possible.

Statement of beliefs and pedagogy

Since your business is a school, defining your plan for putting education into action is a critical aspect of your business. This description is more detailed than your short mission statement. What are the fundamental principles of teaching that will govern your school? Some of these might be practical in nature. For example, you might share your focus on Socratic seminars and project-based learning rather than lectures. Others might be more philosophical in nature. You might share your focus on 21st century skills and character development rather than solely content-based learning. Whatever you choose, these principles will start to build the foundation for your relationship with your students and their families.

Which students?

On a more practical note, you also have to decide what types of students you’d like your microschool to serve. Consider how big you’d like your school to be, and the ages and grades of the students you’re planning to accept. Your school could also be targeted toward a particular group of students. For example, you might have a child with special needs and want to offer other families the same education you’d like for your own child. Alternately, there could be a lack of a strong art, music, or technology program in your area, and you’d like to design a school focused around a specific discipline.

As you create your vision, don’t forget to consider the number of families in your area who would be looking for the kind of school you’re envisioning. Try to strike a balance between the passion that drives you and an honest consideration of the market. It can take time to find that harmony, but it’s well worth the effort.