TutorCruncher in Conversation With: Athena Tuition

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Updated  Maahi Islam


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Meet the Minds Behind Athena Tuition

Welcome back to the TutorCruncher Interview Series! We sat down with Wesley Sanders, one of the dynamic leaders behind Athena Tuition, to dive into their journey and unique approach to tutoring. Founded in 2012, Athena Tuition specialises in bespoke, personalised tutoring for students globally, with a strong presence in the UK and China. Wesley and his co-director Nelson Lo bring a wealth of experience from their time in Asia, with Wesley spending a year teaching in Suzhou, China, from 2011 to 2012.

Since joining forces with TutorCruncher in 2015, Athena Tuition has experienced impressive growth. Wesley, coming from a tech background, and Nelson, with his expertise in research and marketing, transitioned from corporate life to entrepreneurship, enjoying the flexibility and quick decision-making that comes with it, along with facing a unique set of challenges.

Setting Athena Tuition Apart

In a bustling tutoring market, standing out is crucial. We asked Wesley how Athena Tuition carved its niche, especially post-COVID with the surge in online education.

With their diverse backgrounds in the UK and East Asia, Wesley and Nelson built a vast network that not only inspired the launch of Athena but also fuelled its growth through word-of-mouth and strategic marketing.

“Focus on the bread and butter. Work alongside excellent tutors who cover a range of subjects and love teaching."

He shared a recent success story to illustrate this point:

“We had a student needing tutoring in late mediaeval poetry, and we found the perfect tutor for them!”

Success at Athena Tuition goes beyond working with excellent tutors. It’s about enhancing the overall customer experience. They have a robust process to match students with dedicated tutors, offering both in-person and online lessons. Additionally, Athena encourages students to explore subjects beyond the standard curriculum, with a special focus on personalised exam preparation.

"Typically, a client will give us a call or send us an email, and we aim to speak to them as soon as we can. We'll have a chat with them, find out what they're looking for, then match them with the perfect tutor."

1-to-1 or Group Tutoring: Which is Better?

The classic debate: Is one-on-one tutoring better than group tutoring? The answer lies in what suits the student best. One-on-one tutoring offers personalised help, flexible scheduling, and lessons tailored specifically for the student, although it can be more expensive and lacks the social aspect. On the other hand, group tutoring is more affordable, encourages teamwork, and can be motivating, but it provides less individual attention and can come with scheduling challenges and distractions. One-on-one is ideal for focused support, while group tutoring is great for those who enjoy learning with peers. Often, a combination of both can provide the best of both worlds.

We asked Wesley for his thoughts on this topic, as Athena Tuition excels in both one-to-one and group tutoring. Here’s what he had to say:

“We specialise in one-to-one tutoring, in-person and online, but we also hold group lessons. We emphasise one-to-one tutoring because it offers focused attention for the student and allows the tutor to teach more effectively.”

However, Wesley also acknowledges the benefits of group tuition, noting that the affordability and social interaction can be very advantageous for students.

Harnessing the Power of TutorCruncher

Athena Tuition has come a long way since its inception in 2012. Wesley shared how they transitioned from relying on spreadsheets and various online tools to using TutorCruncher to consolidate everything in one place.

“We’ve been using TutorCruncher since 2015, and it’s essential to our daily operations. It helps us match tutors with clients, log lessons, and manage payments. Thanks to TutorCruncher, we’ve grown significantly.”

Athena Tuition’s high-contact approach pairs well with their personalised service. TutorCruncher’s matching feature saves them significant resources by finding tutors within a specific proximity to students.

“Before TutorCruncher, we manually checked tutor distances from students. TutorCruncher’s feature has saved us a lot of time and money.”

Analytics also play a vital role at Athena Tuition. Wesley uses TutorCruncher’s analytics suite for both micro and macro decision-making.

“You can see which clients spend the most, how many hours tutors have taught, and other useful data that help us monitor performance.”

Navigating the Saturated Tutoring Market

Navigating the competitive tutoring market requires a focused strategy and unique service offerings. Wesley has first-hand experience in making the leap from tutor to business owner. His advice? Start by building a solid client base that trusts your tutoring skills and forge connections with others in the industry.

"A great tutor retains students by delivering excellent service. But when you run your own business, your work with other agencies naturally decreases, so focusing on acquiring your own clients becomes crucial. You need to excel not just as a tutor, but also as a savvy marketer."

He emphasises the power of advertising, especially through Google Ads.

"Past experiences with magazine ads sparked interest but had lower conversion rates compared to Google Ads."

Google Ads offer targeted advertising, immediate visibility, measurable results, and local reach, however, optimising them requires significant effort.

Entering a competitive market is always a tough challenge, but Wesley firmly believes in prioritising key fundamentals like customer service, service quality, and a focused growth strategy.

Key Takeaways

Athena Tuition’s journey exemplifies adaptability and innovation in the tutoring industry. From personalised learning paths to leveraging technology like TutorCruncher, Wesley, Nelson and their team have demonstrated that a blend of passion, strategic vision, and customer-centric focus can drive success in a competitive market.

Thanks for joining us on this insightful journey with Athena Tuition. Stay tuned for more inspiring stories in our TutorCruncher Interview Series! 

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