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Lorna Clayton: Academic Families

Founder and Director

Why did you attend Scotland Can Do SCALE?

Academic Families offers guardianship care and school placement advice to students from around the world studying in Britain. Scaling up is not easy for a business like this. We’re a service business operating in a tightly legislated area. All of our clients are high-network individuals and are based overseas, and new clients work on a referral basis. So, it’s a very niche market.

I wanted to attend Scotland Can Do SCALE because I was looking to be challenged to ensure I had the right mindset to deliver growth and scale the business, as well to network and make good connections. There’s simply no better way of doing this than by taking on a programme delivered by a world class educationist like Bill Aulet.

Key takeaways from the event?

The programme really makes you think about what your company is best at. Rather than trying to be good at everything, it encourages you to focus on one area you already perform very well and expand from there.

The programme also focuses on making sure you talk to your customers and find out what it is they want from you.

How have you implemented key learnings?

Taking this on board, we knew we were very strong at providing guardianship within Scotland, so we used that as a springboard to widen these services to the rest of the UK, recruiting a team of area managers in the process.

We are speaking to our customers more. For example, we were offering customers in Colombia guardianship and school placement services. Upon speaking to them, we found out they wanted more options, such as shorter courses and university placements. So now we constantly talk to customers to find out exactly how we can help them best.

We’ve narrowed the number of countries we recruit clients from, and have settled on the mix of products that we offer. We have also changed and are continuing to change our marketing approach as well, as well as using what we’ve learned on the programme to develop how we fundraise.

We want to be the go-to guardianship company. We want to provide all the guardianship in Scotland, we want to be a major player in guardianship in the UK and in new markets as the go-to for support in British education. My participation in Can Do SCALE is certainly helping us with that goal.

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