The mission of LittleLives is to make each day easier for schools. The Singapore-based company provides technology to simplify daily school processes for education communities in 10 countries, facilitating growth and learning among educators, school leaders and parents.
Aiming to be a one-stop solution for schools, LittleLives platforms include a range of integrated products, including a School Management System, Little Check In, LittlePoop, LittleAcademy, and Little Family Room.
LittleLives Founder and CEO Sun Ho launched the company in 2011. Since its establishment, the business has expanded across borders to help over 1300 preschools in Asia digitize their operations.
After covering 42% of the preschools in Singapore, for LittleLives to continue to grow, it was crucial to break into international markets to continue growing.
“The first expansion for LittleLives was regional, to our neighboring countries Malaysia and Vietnam. We learned through the hard way, at first going door to door, phone call by phone call to reach local preschools,” said Ho. “We eventually succeeded by learning the ways of business in each country, localizing our platform, and training up our new team members in the local teams. We now have about 500 preschools using the LittleLives system in just these two markets.”
Parents and teachers are able to stay digitally connected through a web platform or by easily downloading a LittleLives app from Google Play or the Apple App Store.
In 2020, the digital nature of the business proved a simple solution for schools that needed to quickly and seamlessly pivot.
“Our mobile payment feature was a great relief for schools as the switch was simple and fast. In the month of June 2020, we saw more than 2700% increase in mobile payments made via our app compared to the year before.”
During the pandemic, another big change for LittleLives was moving all sales meetings and school training online.
“In the past, schools were often more conservative with technology adoption, wanting to meet our team in person before signing up. Now there’s been a change in mindset, we have schools in countries like Canada, China & Dubai signing up with us after our video conference call with them.”
With the help of digital tools, the LittleLives team can secure sales and provide continuous support regardless of the distance.
For the LittleLives team, the expansion into new countries has not come without barriers. “Some of the biggest challenges when it comes to global expansion include building a strong local team, learning the local culture, finding trusted partners and understanding the different foreign regulations,” she explained.
Since these initial new markets, through trial and error and learned experience, LittleLives now knows how to manage some of the challenges to entry. “The next step is to go further into other parts of Southeast Asia and to the rest of the world,” Ho noted.
She emphasized that “finding trusted partners and figuring out how to comply with different foreign regulations is tedious but necessary.”
“We have found grit to be our current method, but we believe building stronger local relationships and having local advisors may help. Perhaps someday a technology solution would show us an easier way forward. I’m looking forward to that day!”
Ho advises other entrepreneurs to prioritize digitalizing their operations and capacity building. “Digitalizing, enabling small businesses, and supporting the adoption of technology is the way forward”
“To ensure people don’t get left behind, upskilling and training are a must. Opening minds firstly by opening our own minds. Listen, adapt and grow. The world is bigger than us.”