Tutoring Business Simplified – The Art of Getting More From Less
When you operate a tutoring business, you’ll find that there is always something to do. If you’re not responding to inquiries from potential customers, you might be interviewing new tutors, marketing your business, sending out invoices, or managing your tutoring business’s accounting. There is always something you can be doing that will help you grow your business. However, where many companies differ is in how productive they are with what they do. The results you get from the time you spend on activities related to your tutoring business can vary greatly depending on how much time you spend on certain activities. In this post we’ll take a look at how to evaluate your business activities and determine which ones are high-impact activities that will help you grow your tutoring business and which ones are related to maintaining your business. By being creative to find ways to reduce the amount of time you spend on the low-impact activities you will be able to dedicate more time to the high impact activities and grow your tutoring business.
Step 1: Tracking your activities
In order to evaluate the activities you regularly perform in your tutoring business you’ll need to track your activities for about a week. You could think about the activities you frequently perform and estimate the time you spend on each of these, but it’s better to actually track the time. I think you’ll be surprised by the amount of time you actually spend on some activities.
Using a notebook or computer spreadsheet create one column that lists all of your activities. Then create seven columns for each day of the week and a column for the total. Keep this document close as you go through your day and update the time you spend on each activity. To make things easier you might want to use a time tracking application such as SlimTimer or for your smart phone one of these time logging apps: Eternity Time Log, Pug Time Tracker.
Step 2: Classifying Activities
Once you’ve collected a week’s worth of data you’ll want to classify each of the activities. You should have at least two categories.
- High-impact activities that directly lead to the growth of your business in the near-term such as marketing, responding to customer inquiries, networking, or activities that directly reduce your expenses. Within this category you can divide activities into ones that increase revenue and others that decrease expenses. Generally, activities that increase your revenue will generate more growth than ones that decrease expenses because while expense reductions are finite while revenue can increase much more than expenses can ever decrease.
- Low-impact activities that don’t increase the growth of your business, but are necessary for maintaining your business such as accounting, billing current customers, interviewing tutors, etc. Low-impact activities are necessary, but because they only help you maintain your tutoring business and not grow it, you should try to dedicate more time to the high-impact activities.
Step 3: Reorganizing Your Schedule
Now that you know how much time you’re spending on each activity and the level of impact each activity has on growing your business, the next step is to implement changes so that you can spend less time on the low-impact activities and more time on the high-impact activities. Completing this step effectively can have a drastic effect on the success of your business.
Three ways you can reduce the time you spend on low-impact activities are through simplification, automation and delegation. These processes don’t have to be limited to low-impact activities – you can also apply them to any activities in order to increase your productivity.
Simplification refers to streamlining activities so that they become more efficient. You might accomplish this by removing unnecessary steps, changing the sequence of steps, and so on. An example of this in a tutoring company may be to change the way you handle customer inquiries.
Many companies post their tutoring business phone number on their website and need to respond to phone calls at any time, plus they don’t know how long they will be on the phone. If your business doesn’t yet have a receptionist who can focus on this activity, you will likely find these phone calls can be disruptive to other activities in your business. Responding to inquiries is necessary, but by simplifying the process you can make this process less disruptive and just as effective. For instance, you can create an information form on your website to collect information from interested customers and respond twice each day.
Another example of simplification is to use standardized forms for interviewing and hiring, tracking tutor hours, customer contracts, etc. By using standard forms you will simplify the process of processing the information and can spend more time on higher impact activities.
Automation is when you make use of technology that can increase your productivity by completing processes for you. A simple example is a spreadsheet, which quickly performs mathematical calculations that would take much longer for you to complete manually.
The growth of software for personal computers and the internet provides tutoring companies with all kinds of opportunities to automate their tutoring business processes. There are online tools for scheduling, invoicing, accounting, payroll and more that can drastically reduce the time you devote to these activities.
A prime example is Teachworks. This tutoring business software helps you both simplify and automate many of your administrative processes such as scheduling, billing, payroll and accounting. Using tutoring business software like this can reduce the amount of time you spend on administrative activities that don’t directly help you grow your business, and allow you to dedicate more time to activities that will help you attract more students and increase your revenue.
Delegation is an important ability for any leader. It is simply not possible for a tutoring company to attain a large size without the ability to delegate. Simply having tutors that work for you is delegating the teaching portion of your business to other people so you don’t have to do it yourself. You might delegate your accounting to someone who is more knowledgeable and can accomplish the same results in much less time than you can.
When evaluating which activities to delegate you should begin by evaluating if a specific activity is the best use of your time. If you can have a larger impact on the success of your business by focusing on another activity that you truly excel at, it does not make sense for you to spend your time on an activity that another employee in your company can complete.
Of course when you still have a small business you will likely have to fill a lot of roles, but as your company grows and you hire more tutors, delegating the low-impact activities to your employees will help you focus on activities that will make your tutoring business more successful.
By implementing changes using the three methods above you will be able to not only spend less time on activities that do not grow your business, but you will be able to spend more time and be more productive in the activities that directly grow your tutoring business.
Step 4: Tracking and Tweaking
Once you’ve made some changes to your schedule use a log like the one you created initially to track how much time you are spending on activities. You should see some pretty big differences and soon after you will see the impact of the changes in the form of more customers and higher revenue. It’s unlikely that every change will produce the desired result and you may need to go through a few rounds of changes to get things right. That’s why it’s important to track results and tweak your business activities until you get the desired results.
Well-known speaker and self-help author Tony Robbins offers a simple 4 part recipe for success: 1. Determine what it is you’re absolutely committed to achieving. 2. Be willing to take massive action. 3. Notice what’s working and what’s not. 4. Continue to change your approach until you achieve the desired outcome. In order to complete the third and fourth step in this process you need to track your results and adapt your methods until your results line up with what you want.
For your tutoring business this means tracking information such as the amount of time you spend on different activities, how many new students you’re gaining, the number of active students at a given time, how long student’s stay with you, performance improvement of your students, financial measures such as revenue and profit, and more. View your business as a constantly improving organization that you can make a little better each day. The results from every improvement you make will be cumulative and will build your tutoring business into a successful one.