Entrepreneur watch: Those who can, teach

How important have good employees been to your success? How many employees do you have?

Employees are an extension of the brand. That means that everything you need people to understand about your brand, needs to be first and foremost presented by your employees. Our employees are encouraged to build and nurture relationships with their clients, especially since our industry dictates that we seldom meet our clientele personally. We have 50-plus working tutors at the time of writing this, one driving instructor, two admin staff and one training supervisor, above mine and my business partner’s work involvement in the company. I love having a bulk of young staff – all our tutors are varsity students – who enthuse their clients with a passion for the subjects they teach. Young people are generally full of hope for the future, full of life and are dedicated to having a vision for their lives. I wanted this to infect our clients who are equally warring with apathy and dwindling motivation.

Who is your competition and what is your competitive advantage?

Our competition counts as the rest of the tutoring companies in South Africa. We understand that while the market-share is limited because the market is saturated, we can grow our portion by offering several differentiators that set us apart. We offer assessments before we start lessons, which gives the parent an accurate gauge of the help needed and a good plan of action to get to a desired goal. Attitution also allows its staff to manage their own relationships, eliminating excessive admin work and a bureaucratic system of governance – giving more to our staff also. Another benchmark we have set is a training system that allows us to maximise the tutor’s understanding of the subject, by equipping them with various teaching techniques and lesson planning skills to effectively and professionally do their jobs. They say “those that can’t do, teach”. We say that they don’t teach for us.

What has been your most effective marketing tactic?

My most effective marketing strategy identifies itself as an understanding of the things that make the business work well – its most effective assets, its hooks – and then utilising the best practices to maximise their presence in our business. We hardly advertise but we are always talking about [how] every person is a walking commercial and we understood this. I understood that it was necessary to let those commercials do their thing … why fix what isn’t broken?

Where would you like to see your business in 10 years? 20 years?

In 10 years I would like to see us in every province of South Africa and having started an international offering. I always say, “Why not?” So, “why not” to allowing other countries to benefit from a system that has worked so well in South Africa? If it serves the world well then that’s good business.

In 20 years I would like us to be listed. I would like people to believe and invest in the power of being young – having a stake in this force called youth that can achieve anything.