Serious Entrepreneur: Math Tutor
Ankhi-Krol Law (www.ankhikrollaw.com) features various successful entrepreneurs in its series "Serious Entrepreneur."
For a chance to be featured, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Alexander Friedman, Owner of Brooklyn Math Tutors
Name and description of your business.
Brooklyn Math Tutors - a tutoring service, in existence since 2009.
Why did you start your own business?
Initially, a computer programmer, I started tutoring as a side-hobby, and quickly realized that it was far more satisfying than my day job. I helped people directly and saw the changes not only in their grades, but also in their self-esteem.
I decided to turn tutoring into a business to create a lifestyle that lets me do meaningful work to support myself. To become successful, I also had to learn and apply a multitude of diverse skills - from marketing, to communication, to writing, to graphics design, to SEO, the list goes on.
Although extremely challenging, it was - and continues to be - far more satisfying than wrangling a keyboard all day.
What was/is your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge was learning how to communicate with customers, market, and manage employees as my business expanded. Basically, the challenge was in everything besides the service that I was providing.
What sets you apart from your competition?
Brooklyn Math Tutors is probably the only tutoring agency in the city (and possibly the country) that was founded by a high-school dropout. I have great compassion for students who are lost, who struggle, who don’t fit well into the structure and push back against their teachers and parents instead of going along - because I was one of those students myself.
While most agencies select tutors based on where they went to college, I find that a degree from Harvard doesn’t help if you can’t empathise with a student who is struggling. Empathy, enthusiasm, and communication skills are as important as academic ability, and so I hire tutors who have an uncommon combination of soft and hard skills that help them connect with kids and motivate them do well.
Who’s your target clientele?
Brooklyn and Manhattan parents who are looking for compassionate, engaging tutors who know how to make math and other difficult subjects exciting and approachable so that reluctant students actually want to learn them.
One overall business advice for other small business owners.
Don’t waste money on advertising unless you happen to be an expert. In all my years running my business, nothing that I paid for directly (google AdWords, Facebook, Yelp, etc, etc) has worked.
Instead, invest in strategies that bring customers in over the long term: content and email lists. Content increases your search engine ranking and helps users find you years after you’ve invested in it. At the same time, quality content sets you up as an expert in your prospect’s eyes.
Mailing lists let you re-engage previous customers (and potential customers) cheaper and more effectively than any other medium. It’d old school, but it works. Start collecting those
What’s the best thing about being an entrepreneur?
There are really two ‘best things’ about being an entrepreneur. The first is, of course, not having a boss. The second is being in charge of your own financial destiny. If you want to make more money, you don’t have to ask anyone for a raise. Work harder, work smarter, take risks - and all the rewards from your efforts go directly to you. There’s no upper limit.
One fun fact about you.
I’m an assistant college varsity squash coach.
Where do you see yourself/your business in the next 5 years?
What type of legal help does your industry usually need?
Contracts and copyright.
What’s your advice for others in your industry who are in need of legal help?
Find a lawyer who is easy to talk to and specializes in dealing with small businesses. Your needs and the needs of a multi-million dollar company are vastly different, and it helps when the lawyer understands your situation as well as your economic reality. You also don’t want to be fighting for the attention of a lawyer whose other clients spend 10x or 100x as much as you do.
If applicable, what service(s) did you use Ankhi-Krol Law for?
Drafting a cease and desist letter for a competing local business that was infringing on my trademark by using an extremely similar name.
Why is that service(s) necessary/important in your industry?
Tutoring businesses - as well as other small, local, service oriented businesses - live and die by their brand name and reputation. Copycats with similar business names can steal customers who were actually looking for *your* business, and can damage your reputation by offering inferior services linked to a similar sounding name. When polite direct requests don’t work, a firmly worded letter from a lawyer can make all the difference.
What was your overall professional experience with Ankhi-Krol Law?
Working with Shahrina far exceeded my expectations. She was personable, professional, responsive, and her simple fee structure removed a significant amount of stress and uncertainty from the equation. She understood my needs, gave me a realistic assessment of my legal situation, and drafted a cease and desist letter that got the job done. Problem solved.
About Ankhi-Krol Law
Ankhi-Krol Law is a boutique law firm located in the heart of Midtown, New York City. The firm takes pride in working with ALL types of businesses in the areas of:
Business Law; Contract Law; Trademark Law; and Copyright Law
Niche focus in the following industries: Fashion, Creatives, Pet Industry
Shahrina Ankhi-Krol is the founder of Ankhi-Krol Law.
She started the law firm with the goal of providing accessible and transparent legal representation to small business owners after noticing that small business owners are often uninformed or ill-informed of the law. As a result, they either attempt to solve legal problems on their own or do nothing at all. Both courses of action are dangerous as “un-doing” a legal mistake – either through misfeasance or non-feasance – costs more money and time than would have been spent if the business owners obtained legal counsel from the start. Ms. Ankhi-Krol not only provides legal representation, but also provides business counseling to her clients in order to identify and address small problems before they become unmanageable.
Shahrina has been elected a Rising Star Super Lawyer FOUR (4) YEARS IN A ROW! It's a recognition given to no more than 2.5% of attorneys in each state, each year.
Admitted in: NY, NJ, EDNY, SDNY
Small Business & Intellectual Property Lawyer
112 W. 34 Street, 18th Floor
New York, NY 10120
Phone: (212) 729-6153
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