I was thinking the other day that I post the monthly ‘If you need a Reason’ marketing post and also our weekly ‘Tutoring business resource’, but have not, to date, covered a Successful Tutoring Business. After all, marketing and resources are all but cogs in the wheel that is your Tutoring Business.
Here comes my ‘small print’ disclaimer; I don’t have any formal qualifications in commerce nor do I run a successful tutoring business, so where do I get off, sitting here and writing strategies and ideas for you to assist your company. Well, I work for Oases and assist and train tutoring companies every day, some successful and some not so, after a while I start to see the patterns.
From the questions asked during training to the demeanor of the staff on the training sessions, I can now predict with quite a high success rate, who will still be using our software after 6 months and who will be a successful tutoring business. These are purely my thoughts and observations.
So what are the key things I notice, in what I will fondly refer to as Kath’s Redneck School of Business? At this point my inner redneck shouts, ‘You cannot fix Stupid’ and ‘If it’s not broken don’t fix it’, but I digress.
CHANGE: My Redneck School of Business definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. We are in an industry, especially those tutoring SES, that has to move with the times, we have to innovate, adapt and overcome. The expression ‘But we do it this way’ can be a death sentence to a company.
People hate change, it makes them nervous. They are too afraid to ask the burning question, “How will this affect me?”, or “I might not understand this and then look bad”, so they resist the change. Sometimes with a burning fervor that comes over as aggression and confrontation. Why is this? Bottom line – Insecurity! But any successful tutoring business needs to know when to change and then implement the chosen change.
PEOPLE: If a change makes a person feel insecure, either in their job or intellectual capacity, they will resist that change and in doing so keep your potentially successful tutoring business in the dark ages. I encounter this often with new companies taking the Oases software for the first time.
Think of this scenario: Two office staff doing everything on spreadsheets are being trained to put data into software that will streamline the business and give them fingertip control. Makes sense for any business to implement, right? But it does not make sense to those two office staff. They have worked out that one of them will probably have nothing to do when all is up and running and Oases is taking care of everything for them. So they subliminally make a pact to be difficult as they don’t know which of them will get to stay. Attack is the best form of defense so they ask distracting questions, call attention to themselves by interrupting and continually state, ‘but we do it this way’. They are fearful, and it comes out as being difficult.
This ‘scenario’ happens to be true and during the second training session, the boss stopped the session and quietly told the girls that their jobs were safe, he would still need both of them as they would be able to expand the business with the new software and he really needed them for the company and to be ‘onboard’ with the change as he could not do it without them. Within 60 seconds, the comments changed from, ‘but we do it this way’, to ‘that could go there, and this could go here’. It was singularly the smartest thing I have ever heard.
FIRE FAST: On the flip side, staff that don’t accept change or continually strive for the benefit of the company need to go. I don’t mean create a culture of fear as that is counterproductive, but staff who feel irreplaceable and are floating along comfortably with the status quo suffocate a successful tutoring business. Don’t drag it out, give a pep talk, give a warning with clear objectives, if the objectives are not met then it’s Goodbye. Don’t drag it out; keeping non-productive people or those I carelessly refer to as ‘the poisonous anti-team’, is a drain on your resources and if their attitude does not spread like a virus it will surely annoy your star employees. Annoyed employees will eventually leave.
HIGH EXPECTATIONS: This leads me very neatly to expectations of staff. Expect great things and they will rise to the challenge. I have heard, ‘oh dear, we can’t ask our tutors to do that’, more times than I care to mention. If that is the case, why are they getting paid? A successful tutoring business demands great things; from themselves, their staff and their students!