Young Entrepreneurs run Bootstrapped with Great Efficiency

Anita MossTwo years ago,  Anita Moss only 26 and just graduated, started an online business called First Tutors, and since then she and her business partner have helped thousands of families to find private tutors in their local area. The business is UK nationwide and much more affordable than using a tuition agency to find a tutor.

A young company with young owners that picked up awards (e.g. Big Chip Awards, and Best eBusiness 2008). Recently, the company released niche sites catering to those searching for one-to-one tuition for related subjects, e.g. IT, Business, Arts, Languages and Music, as well as a blog. Time for an interview with The NextWomen.

First a couple of facts: Start date, start team, start funding?

We started Jan '07 with a small team, just two partners and no funding. Literally, we built the website evenings and weekends, did a bootstrapped launch and since then have grown organically.

The team consists of me, Anita Moss, 28, graduated from Cambridge, who worked on Whitehall then for Doug Richard of Dragons' Den fame at his firms before leaving to go and start my own business. I've been short-listed for or won various 'women in business' awards. Paul Norman is my business partner, 27,  and technical Director, graduated from Nottingham and Leeds, worked for a new media start up before teaming up with me to build First Tutors.

What is your Business model?

Its free for tutors to advertise via tutor profiles. Its free for parents to contact tutors via private forums. Only when a tutee confirms they wish to go ahead with tuition do we charge a small introductory fee to both parties.

What is the Turnover year 1, year 2, and projected for future?

We're pleased the business is profitable and self-sustaining and we look forward to taking it to the next stage in its development.

Who has built the website?

My Business partner, Paul Norman, PHP Developer.

He builds, I market.

Who are your Competitors and what is your advantage?

Competitors tend to be traditional agencies, over which our advantages are:

  1. Giving tutees (parents) greater choice - they can choose the tutor of their preference rather than having an agency tell them who will be teaching them.
  2. Affordability - it is much cheaper for a family to source a tutor through us than through an agency, but the quality of tutor will likely be the same.
  3. Availability - we're online and available 24/7.
  4. Accountability - We're the only tuition firm we know of to allow parents to read feedback about tuition quality as perceived by a tutor's previous clients. This helps tutors build reputations and reassures our tutees.

What is your vision for the next 3 years?

We want to form exciting strategic partnerships to move the business forward.  We need to populate and build the recently launched new niche tuition communities alongside continuing to develop the strength of our community of tutors teaching school subjects.

And finally, we need to persuade some of those skilled graduates looking for something to do to come and tutor with us!

Any news?

Sure, we launched a blog to serve our community about a week ago.

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