What was the inspiration behind your business?
In 2011, my older son was entering grade 9 and we started exploring options for university. During the exploration we came across a lot of incorrect information and I came to believe the applying and getting accepted by a university with the program that is a direct entry is not an easy process. I vowed to learn more to help others.
What inspired you to launch it?
I retired from teaching in 2014 ,and since I had been in education for 21 years and felt passionately that applying to a university and program should not be done randomly without the proper exploration and research I decided to open up a firm specializing in Scholarship and University applications.
What are you hoping to accomplish through your business?
My main goal is to make the two processes I mentioned more enjoyable for the student and family by saving them time, money and anxiety.
What is the main goal?
In 10 years I want to build systems and processes for the business to take it to a point where I can franchise it. Along the way I will have had the pleasure to positively affect so many young people.
How is your business different than its competitors?
With over 27 years involved in education and after having visited over 80 universities in Canada, the US and the Netherlands - I understand the variety in university education, I know what to look for, I understand the admission requirements -the unwritten ones- and with this wealth of knowledge I work with each student one-on-one to find a university and program where they can excel emotionally, socially and academically. And part of the package is always to have students gain scholarship money when available. It is so important for me that my students are not one of the 33% of students that transfer out of their school,(costing money) or the 1 in 5 of university students suffering from mental health issues. I like to give them the tools to succeed.
In your opinion, what is the number one mistake that entrepreneurs make as they manage their business and how can they avoid it?
They try to do everything instead of outsourcing or reaching out to experts. And they do not have a business plan going in.
What’s your approach in solving day-to-day business challenges? Any creative ideas or strategies you may want to share with us?
My biggest challenge is staying calm in the face of an anxious parent or student. I take a big breath, remind myself that everything can be dealt with. If I know the solution to the problem, I present it, if not after I have calmed them I promise to research and return to them at a designated time and I keep that deadline even if it is to say I do not have the answer yet. And the most important thing is that I remind myself that I am not the parent, I share my expert advice and in the end if they choose to make a decision that I feel will result in the child's failure or cause a problem I let it go. And I am there when they come back after realizing what they have done to present new options.
What is your biggest strength? And What's your weakness?
My biggest strength is seeing the big picture in things and being able to present options based on that. My biggest weakness in business is providing far more service than paid for and feeling responsible for the student after our service contract is complete.