March 10, 2010 // Franchising.com // TCYonline.com's Business Affiliate Model is going great guns in the US despite the fact that the country is going through an economic recession. "Since education is always recession-free, now is the best time to show effectiveness of our service. People with common goals always click," says the company chief, Kamal Wadhera, in an interview.
Ans: Well, I would say it has been pretty successful, especially the phase I, the signing up of affiliates. The phase II is the affiliates bringing in students. In fact, we had introduced this model after a lot of research. Number one, it is very easy for them (affiliates) to get into the business where no major investments are required. Number two, there is a lot of support from the company that initially any affiliate needs.
We do a lot of hand-holding in the beginning that helps them get into the groove pretty fast. From that angle, I think it's going great guns. We hope to see many more affiliates signing up week after week and for that we are strengthening our system accordingly and proportionately.
Ans: The model is very lucrative because its returns are lucrative. There is hardly any entry fee we have put in. Purposely, we have made it very lucrative because for us the prime motive is not to see their (affiliates') investment capability but their passion for this sector, the passion for the child's improvement and understanding parents' concerns. We are very happy that we have been able to shake hands with some of the most energetic and passionate affiliates.
They are enjoying working with us. You know, in every business it takes some time to learn the ropes, to understand what the game is all about. In fact, we are able to strike a very good relationship with them. It seems most of our affiliates feel that they have been with TCYonline.com for long. Although we haven't met some of them, it seems this relationship has been going on for ages. When people have same goal, they click well. Their goal is also to help the child grow; our goal is also to see the child going up academically. When both the parties have the same pain, the same concern, they click better. We are happy on that aspect.
Ans: As I said, first is the passion, a deep genuine concern for the student. If we find the people with such genuine concern for the coming generations, they understand the pain of the child, the pain of the parent, and then everything else follows. For that we see how energetic they are, how much they enjoy talking to people, visiting places, schools, going out, talking to parents, telling them about our programs and their effectiveness; talking to our tutors, talking to our academic and research people. If these factors are missing, though he/she may be financially strong, we don't take much interest in that affiliate. That's how we evaluate our prospective affiliates.
Ans: The real answer can only come from them. As I said, they need real hand-holding. We have seen that with our 40 Indian franchisees too before we entered into all this. Unless you run with them in the beginning - hold their hand till a certain point - you can't expect them to bring results. So, we are helping them a lot in terms of understanding this industry - supplemental education and test prep sector - needs of the market, pain-points of the customer, concerns of the parent; then what and how we have to offer, and how we are different and result-oriented. We give them the complete explanation of the product and the process that they go out and explain to the market, parents and child and it is shaping up very well. I think they should be pretty happy with the results. Moreover, from time to time we keep on taking their feedback too. The testimonials we have received are very heartening. I guess that's a good sign.
Ans: I think we can go beyond this number very easily because our team is very effective and is getting a very good response. First of all the program is very effective. Now we see that number would be achieved much before that. Reasons can be many. I think we have to put a pause ourselves. It is not the question of bringing 100 people but we have to service them too. It has to match with the backend also all along. We never want to bite more than we can chew. We are very careful about that.
Since the program is very effective, so competitively priced, people are automatically attracted to it. Sometimes we find it very difficult to say no to people who consider it just another business. I think we will get a response much larger than this. But we would not like to have more than this number. With every affiliate coming in the network, there is a lot of investment that goes in the backend too. If we can match, well and good, otherwise we're happy with this figure also.
Ans: Most of our affiliates are from the education sector. They have seen the classroom tutoring and not tutoring through the net; through virtual classrooms. No doubt, in the beginning it a challenging task for the affiliates to explain to parents about this new concept. As I said, since our team is always there to help them - whenever they have to go, demonstrate anything, talk to anybody, any moment they feel any difficulty, they can simply call up and experienced executives are there to help them out.
Ans: In fact, this is the best time for us because education is one sector which is recession-free. In the present times the US customers will not start consuming less. They will consume but at lower prices. Anybody who gives them the same service at a lower price makes a lot of sense for them. It's not that the people will stop eating, stop educating their children or stop driving their cars, the point is they will go for 'cost-effective' solutions. They will go for economical cars, more affordable education, the same quality, hygienic food at lower prices.
Now is the best time to show the effectiveness of the service because somebody who was used to paying $35- $40 per hour, if he or she is getting the same for $10 an hour, I don't see any reason why their classroom models would scale up. The Internet model is more likely to pick up in the present times and e-tutoring will see its actual growth.
Ans: I really appreciate the plunge these people have taken. Most of them are financially very well off and they have done extremely well in their careers. It's their passion that brings them to this sector. I am glad that really good people are associated with us. Rarely have I seen these people discussing money matters with us. Most of the times they are discussing quality education; how it would be different from what the students are getting now, how we can make them more satisfied, how can the parents be less worried. I am really excited to have these people in our team. We'd like to meet them as often as possible.
Handsome rewards are awaiting really good affiliates. The ones who do a phenomenal job in servicing the customer would be rewarded in one form or the other. For example, we would welcome some of them to India so that they can spend some time with us. The ones who do a phenomenal job can expect an increase in their territories. We can even encourage them to become master affiliates, who can further make and develop new affiliates. There can be many ways to encourage, motivate and elevate them.
An online initiative of Top Careers & You (TCY), the company specializes in school programs and standardized test preparation; provides LIVE online homework help through one-on-one tutoring. One of the leading educational organizations, TCYonline.com is gaining a foothold in North America with its unique online tutoring budgeted plans and free content. The company's Business Affiliate Model is doing great coast to coast in the US.