How to be a successful
| February 14, 2013
A key trait of entrepreneurs who make it is
optimism, and it’s no wonder. If you’re
looking to start a business, the power of positivity
is a valuable force to have on your side.
You’ll also need a strong work ethic, a solid
financial plan and, of course, a sound idea. Here, four
University of Phoenix alumni describe why they struck
out on their own and offer advice to aspiring entrepreneurs:
Believe in yourself
and your dream.
Beatrice Hair left her job as an elementary
school teacher to open Salisbury Tutoring Academy, a
“one-on-one school” in Salisbury, North
Starting her own company wasn’t easy. “I
lost my peer group [of teachers],” Hair notes.
While running her business, she earned a master’s
in education from the University and found a new
peer group of classmates from all over the country.
“Some [of them] are still part of my think tank
and are dear friends today,” she says.
Still, she feels like self-reliance was the secret to
her success. “Passionately believe in what you
will be doing,” she encourages. “If you
need too much advice, do not open a business, because
you must rely on your instincts.”
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in America: Losing the Three-Legged Race
Posted: 7/13/11 05:51 PM ET
Every time I hear about how school systems have to
cut their budgets, I hear the mantra of "back to
basics," how we can cut all the arts and extracurricular
programs as long as we get back to the basics of reading,
writing and arithmetic.
What I rarely hear is how the education itself needs
to get back to basics. As we focus on shrinking budgets,
lower test scores and falling reading levels, we seem
to miss the bigger picture. From the earliest colonial
times in this country, education was a partnership between
the teacher, the student and the parent. If we're going
to talk about education, let's start with that covenant,
that three-legged table that has always propped up public
education in America.
TEACHERS: We are hiring untrained teachers
right out of college and at the same time, we are firing
experienced teachers. As a result, we are seeing much
turnover in the teaching field. Exposing a teacher's
scores makes the teacher accountable, but also makes
him or her resentful. It is not fair outside of the
context of simultaneous accountability to parents and
students too. Teachers do need accountability, but they
need support and fairness as well. How is it fair to
judge a teacher on his or her scores, if that teacher
had a student with a medical issue that was not resolved
all year by the parent? There must be accountability
in place for all three -- parents, students, and teachers.
If an individual setting is not working, which leg of
the table needs strengthening? Can this be our new dialogue?
If resources are low, how can business, government and
administration all work together to re-create a setting
that will work. The achievement gap is not about race
or money. It is about the three-legged table and whether
it is in place or not. Let's take the teachers we have
and coach them into how to work the three-legged table.
Let's teach them how to ask for help when the student
and parent legs are broken and how to engage not only
the student, but the parents as well.
STUDENTS: Michael Kirst, emeritus education
professor at Stanford, estimates that 60 percent of
incoming community college students and 30 percent of
freshmen at four-year colleges need remedial reading
and math courses. In Charlotte, North Carolina, 30 percent
of high school freshmen drop out before they graduate.
This problem needs to be addressed on an individual
basis. Do we think these students are dropping out because
they're dumb? Or are they losing interest in their education
because education has lost interest in them. Standardized
testing, budget cuts, growing class sizes, dwindling
numbers of teachers all add up to making students feel
as if they are being abandoned. We cannot limit ourselves
to engaging their minds. We must engage their hearts,
ignite their dreams and show them that education is
the key to unlocking it all.
PARENTS: Parents in the top range of
our achievement gap know how to provide quiet time for
homework, have their children to bed on time, provide
proper nutrition, hire tutors for customized, individualized
programs and set the stage for success at home. Parents
in the lower range are often challenged simply to provide
any kind of meal, and those in the middle are working
as hard as they can but still fall short. However, many
parents in the top range volunteer at school, but their
time is not used wisely. In this era, it's all hands
on deck. These parents should be put to work providing
as much one-on-one attention as they can. We know there
are parents who do not do their part, but instead of
trying to punish them, we can help establish accountability
on their parts in return for support for their child
in the classroom. Helping to stabilize those children
will afford teachers and administrators the ability
to show that their kids can succeed with help, and present
a contract to their parents about the basics for nutrition,
sleep and creating a home environment conducive to learning
We all have to be committed to doing our part to educate
our next generation, and the only way to get back to
basics is one child at a time, one parent at a time,
one teacher at a time. We need to rebuild this three-legged
table so it can support the next generation and beyond.
Turns Her Passion into Profit
Beatrice Hair's tutoring
academy gives students an alternative to the one-size-fits-all
approach to education.
By: Beatrice R.D. Hair | 09/13/2010
Stepping into my first classroom as a new teacher
on the first day of school, I thought to myself, "I'm
going to retire from this very room in 30 years."
Little did I know all the lessons I'd learn over the
next eight years, including the unfortunate fact that
a good number of children are falling through the
cracks. Learning is a highly personalized process,
and the one-size-fits-all approach to education is
regularly failing our students. I realized I could
have a more impactful role on these kids outside the
|This meant a career change--I
went from elementary schoolteacher to entrepreneur and
business owner. I wanted to make a difference in the lives
of my students and create a system that helped all students
learn. Every student benefits from one-on-one instruction.
And no matter their financial situation, parents and guardians
prioritize--and pay for--programs that benefit their children's
first student I tutored was the friend of a child in
my class. Word of my tutoring sessions spread quickly
through the community, and in a span of six months,
I found myself in high demand.
I founded the Salisbury Tutoring
Academy in 1996 and started offering tutoring
instruction out of my home, with the assistance of two
additional teachers I hired. I began tutoring elementary
and middle-school students because I was certified to
teach those grade levels. I quickly found that my teaching
and learning philosophies easily transcended age and
grade levels, and helped all students succeed. STA now
provides one-on-one instruction for children ages 4
and up, students with learning disabilities and even
some adults. STA students range from low performers
to honor roll students and those who want to improve
their study skills or prepare for tests such as the
I created several core principles for my business and
built upon these. They include:
teaching requires children to be supplied with both
an emotionally secure and physically safe place to
study and learn.
• The learning
environment must facilitate trust and be devoid of
Shortly after it started, STA outgrew my home. My
small staff of seven and I moved to the educational
building at a local church to keep costs low. This
was a very busy time; running my own business consumed
almost every second of every day. Fortunately, my
labor paid off and STA began to grow exponentially.
In 1999, I purchased and designed a new, fully equipped
school facility and moved my business into its current
building, which has 19 one-on-one tutoring rooms and
two audiovisual rooms. It remains STA's home today.
I was able to design
and build a state-of-the-art tutoring facility three
years after opening because of STA's initial success.
STA was profitable from the beginning because demand
was high and I kept startup costs low. The biggest investment
was my time.
As my knowledge of
business continued to grow, I realized I had to augment
my skills to set STA up for further expansion. I was
well-versed in teaching and child psychology, but I
needed to supplement my business knowledge. Fortunately,
I found a program that accommodated my demanding schedule.
I attained my Masters of Education in curriculum and
instruction from the University of Phoenix in 2004 while
running a business full time. The best part is that
I was able to apply what I was learning in the classroom
to my business in real time.
The added value my master's degree brought to my business
is reflected in STA's continued growth. My business
has had a steady gross income for 14 years.
STA currently serves from 70 to 100 students, and I
oversee a staff of 25 to 30 teachers who are retired,
tutor part-time or work full-time in the classroom and
tutor after school. Each teacher is trained to use the
customized programs and techniques I designed. I also
use this proprietary training system for franchise development.
In 2007, I founded a sister company called the Salisbury
Tutoring Academy Franchise Group LLC and opened an additional
facility. Franchises have the option of being part-time
or full-time businesses, allowing greater flexibility
for new entrepreneurs. My goal is to have 1,000 franchises
across the country by 2020. Franchising allows me to
reach more students of all ages across the country with
established programs and effective teaching methods.
The biggest challenges of franchising STA have been
protecting my proprietary teaching methods and finding
franchisees who share my teaching philosophy. I have
to ensure STA's continued strong reputation to allow
for expansion in the future. This means legally protecting
my unique curriculum and learning methods, and making
careful decisions when selecting a franchisee. I have
learned a lot about the legal aspects of business because
I constantly adjust my programs to fit the needs of
I am actively searching for franchisees and have spoken
to many people, mostly referrals and attendees at franchise
conferences. I'm looking for those who are passionate
about teaching and helping students, not just running
a business, to ensure that STA's principles are upheld.
I attribute STA's growth and success over the years
to word-of-mouth: My students and their families are
great ambassadors for the work we do at STA.
The personalized instruction and support STA provide
have proved their positive impact on our students. After
four months of one-on-one tutoring, on average, our
students gain 10 months in grade level. Our average
gain for the SAT is 390 points in six months.
While my path as an entrepreneur has been filled with
milestones, the ultimate recognition as an educator
and entrepreneur came 14 years after I started my business.
In May, I received the 2010 North Carolina Small Business
Person of the Year award and was invited to the White
House to be congratulated by President Barack Obama.
Since my first day of school as a new teacher, I've
learned many lessons as an educator and also as a businesswoman:
1. Before you "step
of the cliff" to own a business, be sure you
have a strong support system.
2. Operating and owning
a school is an education, and an educational adventure
about business, human nature, the how-tos of working
with clients, managing a staff and finding trustworthy
3. Clients must always
know how you are better than the competition. For
example, STA has three distinguishing factors. Our
competition offers one-on-three tutoring for the same
price as our one-on-one tutoring. A trademarked, proven
product is superior to after-school baby-sitting and
help with homework. It is better to find a tutoring
business that meets student needs K-12 rather than
looking fruitlessly for a person who may not be able
to offer consistency.
4. No matter what type of business you choose to run,
be sure to stay current on your certifications and
credentials. I earned my master's degree online while
simultaneously operating my business. This was a very
powerful way to improve myself without disrupting
the flow of my relationships with my clients.
Beatrice Hair, who
founded the Salisbury Tutoring
Academy, was recognized this year as the 2010
North Carolina Small Business Person of the Year.
Copyright (2110) by Entrepreneur Media,
Inc. All rights reserved- www.WomenEntrepreneur.com
Congratulates Beatrice Hair at Rose Garden Celebration
Page Newspaper Article
Barack Obama urged Congress to pass a $30 billion small
business jobs package while also honoring the Small Business
Association's (SBA) business persons of the year in the
White House Rose Garden, Salisbury business owner Beatrice
Hair sat in the front row.
an issue that involves putting our government on the side
of the small-business owners who create most of the jobs
in this country," Obama said Tuesday.
Hair, the 2010
North Carolina Small Business Person of the Year and founder
of Salisbury Tutoring Academy, is celebrating her accomplishment
all week in Washington, D.C. during National Small Business
Business Association has rolled out the red carpet,"
Hair said. Meeting Obama and hearing him speak, was "unbelievable,"
surreal to actually be sitting there," she said. "He
encouraged us that we are the people that run the small
businesses, and that he was there to honor us."
Hair was one
of about 12 people who Obama shook hands with, and the only
one he got a photo with.
awestruck," she said. "You can see a person on
TV. But when you're literally there, it's close contact.
I could see everything he was about as a person, and the
strength in which he was conveying his message."
Hair said Obama
stressed that America's economy was counting on the small
us the economy is riding on people like us to take risks,
which has been the across-the-board message," she said.
upon her arrival to the week-long event, the SBA welcomed
all 2010 business persons by flashing their businesses on
large screens, along with a banner with her name and business.
Hair said the
reception Sunday and events since have been filled with
many different people, "who are just excited about
of people here are actually passionate about what they do,"
she said. "It's very refreshing and inspirational.
I feel like I've just made lifelong friends here."
Hair has also
met several congressmen and senators, and was interviewed
by a local television station, with the reporter asking
her what it was like to start a business from scratch.
really proud to be a North Carolinian."
During a gathering
party in the same room where the president holds events
such as the inaugural ball, Hair and other business people
received a special message from Secretary of State Hillary
videotaped in China telling us to keep doing what we're
doing, share your ideas and take your business global,"
She said her
students back in Salisbury were anxious to hear the stories
about her trip, and for her return.
thanks for the entire experience goes to the University
of Phoenix, she said.
my master's degree for me so that I could get my master's
while I was working," she said, noting that the University
of Phoenix customized her online learning just as she does
for Salisbury Tutoring Academy students.
like an unbelievable, once-in-a-lifetime, breathtaking experience,"
Hair was nominated
for the North Carolina Small Businessperson of the Year
award by Jenifer Flatley of the University of Phoenix Alumni
Tutoring Academy, Ltd and Mrs. Hair have been featured
on the front page of the Salisbury Post for its successes
Some Spotlights on
Salisbury Tutoring Academy in the Press!
Below are several articles from newspapers
and magazines regarding The Salisbury Tutoring Academy. Click
on a picture to view a full-sized version of the clipping.
(The full sized articles are large, so download times maybe
be long for modem users.)
Hair is published nationally for the third time"
Hair's article is
published in the
National Tutoring Magazine!!!!!
Feel Blessed to
Have Met Pope
ADHD: Local woman publishes work on dealing with
Among the participants Monday were, Mayor Susan
Kluttz, Beatrice and Randy Hair, and Clayton Jones.
and education are two of the biggest worries for parents
of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Once a child has been diagnosed with ADHD, doctors
must determine a course of treatment, and teachers must
come up with the best way to help those students excel
||Article in Salisbury Post!
What did Albert Einstein, Walt Disney and Babe Ruth have
They all had Attention Deficit Disorder.
But they probably never got the chance some Rowan County
children, diagonised with ADHD, got last week -- their
own two-day summer camp.
"Children have a hard
time fitting in or following simple school rules such
as sitting still," said Beatrice Hair, Director of
Salisbury Tutoring Academy. " This camp will give
them a chance to use their energy, exert it to something
positive and at the same time meet other kids just like
themselves." ... [more]
Rowan Salisbury School System asked Beatrice Hair to
help teach the ADHD Workshop with Dr. Koontz and Dr.
Aiken. View the feedback from this Workshop. ... [more]