Home Tutoring Business Plan
You’re already well on your way to heeding your calling to higher learning by executing the decision to start up your own tutoring service. Now put your grand plans to work for you and maximize your experience by establishing a sound business plan. Business plans are proverbial guide posts for entrepreneurs, and if followed effectively, can help you identify, strengthen and achieve goals that will improve the success of your business, your clients and your tutoring future. Following are tips for creating a tutoring business plan along with some essential elements to address while running a tutoring business.
What Makes a Good Business Plan?
Too often, eager new business owners draft lengthy business plans that end up containing a lot of non-essential information. Sometimes these plans can prove downright flighty, so always begin with the basics and go from there. You won’t want to leave out anything of importance, but refrain from temptation to aim for the unattainable and overly-spectacular. The quality of a business plan is measured by its ability to be implemented, not by its showiness. List objectives and create goals that are in your reach while giving yourself just enough of a challenge to promote growth. Think baby steps, and outline goals chronologically so that you can see both short and long-term objectives come to fruition over time. Do some brainstorming to devise an outline for your business plan and follow this three-step process:
- Set Reasonable Goals
If you believe it you can conceive it, but don’t stress yourself. Decide what you can handle initially to avoid burnout and frustration later. It’s likely that you’ve mapped out the basics by now, such as the main goal your tutoring business will accomplish, rates you will charge, your target clients and your hours of operation. Next, be honest with yourself and figure out how many clients you are willing to juggle per day, week, month, etc. Based on projected rates, client capacity and hours worked, devise a monthly revenue goal and stick with it.
- Determine Your Strategy
Think up scenarios that might present obstacles while you’re operating your business. This is an inventive means of defining goals more clearly because it presents solutions to potential problems and gives you somewhat of a safety net in case things don’t go according to plan. Some of the most common challenges you’ll face while tutoring include: successfully promoting your business to attract clients and generate your projected revenue, standing out in the midst of competition, keeping clients satisfied (this includes your students as well as their parents), seeing that students reach specified goals successfully, delivering upon promises and providing your services effectively, and developing organizational techniques to keep track of student information, invoices and financial records. Once you understand the challenges you face, establish an efficient system to tackle them head-on.
- Evaluate Your Performance
We can’t learn and grow without being able to honestly asses our progress and this applies to life in general as well as in the business realm. Steer clear of rigid business plans by periodically evaluating their success and re-defining goals if necessary. You might have to tweak your plan every once in a while to suit the reality of your situation but this by no means makes the plan a failure. In fact, business plans are most effective when they can remain flexible and adaptable. Assess short term goals on a weekly or monthly basis and perform an annual evaluation as well.
Basic Elements of a Tutoring Business Plan
- Determining and Meeting Expectations
There are a few questions you should ask yourself before interacting with your first student that, simply stated, will just make life easier for you:
- Why is the parent/client hiring you and what are their expectations?
- What type of learner is the student and what are his or her strengths and weaknesses?
- Do you have permission to ask for outside assistance and guidance from the student’s teacher?
- What should be done in the event of an emergency during a session and who should be contacted?
- How will you relay progress information to the student’s parents, how often will you provide feedback and what will be your chosen mode of communication?
- What are your lesson ideas for a particular student and what teaching methods will you execute to attain results?
- How will you ensure that the session location is free of distraction and conducive to studying?
- What type of participation (if any) is required by the parents to ensure the effectiveness of your work?
- Should homework or supplemental materials be provided to the student in addition to regular homework?
- How will you invoice clients and what are your policies for payment and cancellation?
Most of the answers to these questions can be found after some reflection on your part, but others will need to be supplied by the parent of the student you are tutoring. Strive for your first tutoring session to act as a “question and answer” period where all of the above questions can be acknowledged and answered by both the student and at least one of his or her parents. Touch on all points and make sure your client knows where you stand. Determine where the parent stands as well, and take notes liberally. This is also the time to establish ground rules, especially if you are tutoring within your own home. Get to know your student and tell him or her a little about yourself. Be firm about what you expect yet aim to make him comfortable. Provide the student with information that will make him feel at home, such as bathroom location, procedures for getting drinks or snacks, and encouragement to ask questions.
- Using Your Time Wisely
What’s a promise if you can’t make good on it? Time is money, and unlike a public school teacher you’re being paid graciously for your time. Parents demand more in terms of student progress from tutors and will expect to see rapid academic progress as well as efficient utilization of time. Make each hour count. Hold students accountable for their work at all times and avoid straying from the task at hand. Always come to a session equipped with a highly-structured outline of the topics to be explored, key points to touch on and goals that have been set for that day. Be wary of going off on tangents during lectures and spending too much time on areas that don’t need improvement. Take notes that express where you left off at the end of each session and refer back to them so you can jump right back in from where you left off without a hitch.
- Staying Organized
Track each hour spent with individual clients meticulously: One of the worst things you can do as a small business owner is lose track of your own earnings and forfeit your hard-earned income because of a silly mistake. Organization in all aspects of a tutoring business is crucial, especially in terms of finances. Tally hours on a calendar or take a more tech-savvy approach by documenting time on an Excel spreadsheet. You can even streamline your efforts by compiling hours, invoices, client billing and contact information, tax information and printable documents within a tutoring business software program. Keep student information accessible and organized by assigning a folder to each student. Use these “student files” to store contact information, observations and future objectives.