It is a great feeling to specialize in something and consider yourself an ‘SME’ or Subject Matter Expert; being an SME will help bring you your reputation and, one would hope, new client opportunities riding in on that wave of expertise and word-of-mouth advertizing.
But is that all you should do?
The answer to that is a resounding ‘NO’. Let’s learn from the mistakes of the public school system. As the curriculum narrows in public schools, cinching in like a desperate dieter to the core subjects of math and language arts and some STEM if you are lucky, tutoring companies who do the same risk limiting their customer base and opportunities. In olden day parlance this would be considered putting all of your eggs in one basket and this has inherent business risks; as the SES tutoring providers in waivered states have painfully found out!
Don’t get me wrong, being a subject matter expert is crucial for your business; as tutoring providers you need to be able to support the school curriculum because parents will still seek out the best local Math, Language Arts or Test Prep tutors. However, as a tutoring company, doing only this might leave you vulnerable. More importantly, some parents are beginning to realize it is leaving their children vulnerable.
Parents everywhere are starting to notice this narrow minded approach to education and the great voids it leaves in their children’s overall knowledge. Couple this with busy working parents and a whole gamut of potential subjects and fields open up to you as a tutoring company. Incorporating some of these arty, practical subjects as group workshops on Saturdays or Friday evenings or even as one-on-one sessions can provide add-on sales to existing clients or pull kids the other way from the workshops to the core subject tutoring.
So what exactly am I talking about? Well there are three main areas to workshops: The forgotten subjects, the new subjects and the taster classes. See below for ideas.
Walking around Home Depot on a Saturday morning and seeing how many kids are tiling a floor or painting a window frame or planting bulbs in a container is testament to the fact that kids are desperate to try their hands at other skills as their education narrows in on them. Don’t forget adults too.
2. The New Subjects – Life skills for the modern world that might not be taught at school. Using appropriate fonts, how to interview well on Skype, how to conference call, (if you google interviewing on Skype you will find enough material for a curriculum).
Being assertive without being aggressive. Leadership and getting ahead and breaking the ‘everyone gets a trophy’ mindset. As schools force students to be average let’s provide springboards for more well rounded kids. Don’t forget high level skills such as programming, photoshop and excel.
(This great article from Edudemic outlines the problems kids have with choosing fonts.)
What about film-making or drama? Perhaps offer a six week taster series partnering with the professionals, and strike a deal.
Yes, you may pass the student on to someone else in the end but you can make a profit from it along the way and you never know when the Horse Riding instructor or Sensei will recommend your tutoring to one of their existing clients or you might enroll them in a core subject course after their workshop.
The rest is just marketing which might be the hardest part but consider teaming up with experts and sharing lists, ask for reduced fees from the horse stables in return for potential new clients. Ask for a commission if one of your workshop students signs up. For less intense sessions find a tutor, they don’t need to make gowns for royalty to be able to teach a beginners class in sewing and make a simple tote bag. Always ask your tutors what else they can do. Perhaps your Algebra tutor can also teach fishing!
The world is your oyster and opportunities limited only by your imagination and drive. Look for larger groups with a lower price point per person and you might be surprised how popular these workshops may prove to be but remember to check your insurance and background check your helpers where appropriate.
If you are wondering how to manage all your new programs and session types, take a look at Oases Online.
You can break your business down into programs and charge each student, subject, tutor combination a different rate. You can have multiple tutors or aides on any one session with unlimited students and pay your tutors a different hourly rate for everything they do – all automatically at the click of a button.
Schedule your sessions taking into account availability, specialist subjects and proximity. Check out the Features to see how Oases streamlines your world.