How “Starbucking” can transform your tutoring business

I learnt a word called “Starbucking” recently, when I attended the Design Thinking course taught by Ian Dyason of SCALA ( Starbucking is one of the seven methods to reframe a problem to get creative perspectives.

“Starbucking” frame of mind asks the question of “How can we make our product / service an experience, rather than a commodity.” The classic example is how Starbucks is able to deliver a customer experience of chilling out with friends, working at a cool place, enjoying a good book, etc. By making these experiences for their consumers, they charge them close to 10 bucks for a cup of coffee – and other coffee shops struggle to sell at 5 bucks.

How “Starbucking” can transform your tutoring business (Part 1 of 4)

Imagine what “starbucking” can do for your tutoring business, when you create Starbucks kind of experience.

I have come up with a few guiding questions for our Future Ready tutors. The first is: What kind of experiences do we want our students to have?

Sometimes what we may not know what we are really delivering until someone tells us.

A little true story to illustrate my point. I had a Maths student called Kate, a very smart teenage girl. Kate tend to get into a really anxious mood before exams, yet when we met she would never ask anything about Maths, but would talked about her passion, role-playing websites. We had great chat regardless, and tried as I might, I could not get her to talk about Maths. After these “lessons” I would always apologise to her parents for not teaching much maths. Yet her parents constantly assured me, that Kate always felt much more relaxed after talking to me and looked forward to my lessons. Now, Kate is in university, facing much tougher kinds of maths and she would still text me when she got into trouble with maths.

Incidents like this challenged me about the value I really deliver as a tutor. Do you have such encounters too? What are we really delivering, if it is not the answers, not the solutions, not even the grades?

Did I teach Kate a lot of stuff? No I did not. One thing I believe I did well, was to always listen attentively, and give her my fairest opinions. That was all. The experience she had from me, was being understood and respected; and that made her feel good.

May I get you to try a little exercise? Try to fill in these blanks below. They may help you to think about the experience that you really delivered to your students.

My student always feels _________ after our lesson.

If you’re not sure, you can always ask your ex-students!

(End of Part 1)

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