As the founder and director of Uber Tutors and as an academic and emotional intelligence trainer, it’s always been very important to me to set up a tutoring service that is “meaningful” and is a “good business”!
I also often listen to and feel inspired by Alain de Botton (the fantastically influential modern philosopher), and his School of Life. Lately I was listening to one of his talks where he breaks down the 5 criteria for a ‘Good Business” and decided to test it out for Uber Tutors.
Alain de Botton says there 5 things necessary for a “decent, humane and profitable business culture”:
1. Good businesses should be defined by how they make their money (not just by how much they make)
Only businesses that satisfy our needs are good moral businesses. As human beings, there are things we need that are genuinely important for our flourishing. And then there are things that we desire but are not genuine needs. This desire leaves an exploitative opportunity for the business market known as capitalism! So a “good business” tends to make money from our “higher needs”.
According to de Botton, 80% of businesses in the world should come from the top 20% of our needs. But right now, a big percentage is dedicated to our lowest basic needs, according to Abraham Maslow’s pyramid of needs. We understand we have higher needs for self esteem, love, self development, emotional intelligence, social intelligence and more but we have a prejudice that paying for something can’t be good for our highest needs but the fact is that that is just not true!
We need to live in beautiful cities. We need to have good psychological advice and support. We need to manage emotions. We need to support families and we need to do more.
We need to, as business people and as a wider population, support a society where it is normal to be wise, kind and self-possessed. At Uber Tutors, we believe that this is exactly what we do through intelligent (academically, emotionally and socially) approach and we have set up a new and unique business model since 2021! We teach students to be wise about their studies and to manage their fears and anxieties by teaching them how to believe in their value and worth. We coach them to manage their emotions and rise above systems (including education system barriers and challenges) that either aren’t fulfilling enough or hopeful enough!
2. Work twice has hard as the competition to meet people’s “Needs”.
It’s not easy to run a good business based on needs and not desires. We understand this concept at Uber Tutors. It is much easier to sell fries than academic and emotional intelligence. As de Botton says, “Lots of businesses have mastered seduction but very few have mastered seduction AND goodness! The great challenge for businesses of our time is to make goodness its own reward but also defuse goodness and business seduction”. It is not an easy task to make sure students and parents understand that receiving private tutoring that is inspiring and result oriented is a ‘need’. It is a need because it changes a young person’s academic skillset, self-awareness, confidence and independent and mature learning. Our motto at Uber Tutors is, ‘we are invested in your best potential’. We put our money where our mouth is every time we meet a student who needs our service in order to thrive as a person and fly into their future as a happy and hopeful person!
3. Meaningful work – any occupation that reduces suffering or increases the level of fulfillment of others – leaving the world a little better than when you entered it
Meaningful jobs have historically been highly valuable to our human family. As de Botton says “Soldiers die for the nation, explorers and nurses…. Good employers are those who reward their employees not just with cash but with the great currency of meaning!” If you ask any of the tutors, mentors, coaches and consultants on our team, you will hear that they absolutely love the meaning behind their work. We hand select a very careful list of private tutors in London and internationally every year. Uber Tutors trains them all the best teaching methods that are meaningful, intelligent and efficient. That way they can pass these skills onto their students, whether their student is a 6 year old preparing for the 7+ entrance exams in the UK or a GCSE and Alevels student in Maths and English or a university-level student studying Economics or Law. The happy smiles, the sense of self awareness and skill and the critical and intersectional teaching we do in every lesson makes our work so very important and meaningful to our tutors and team!
4. Good business leaders realize they don’t want money – we all want respect, honour and love.
Many business people are pushing hard to get the maximum returns they can… it’s all about more money, money, money! The important thing to know is that if these business people knew themselves well, they would know they are quite likely not after money but that money is symbolic for what they are really after: respect, honour and love. This is a good clue for how we should reform our society – we should respect, honour and create demand for businesses that do meaningful work. As de Botton says, “Currently we are mostly in favour of businesses that have high profits at any cost, without asking how this wealth was accumulated. We are all responsible for how impressed we are by money!
As a business that is interested in providing growth and development strategies, a business that ends up boosting students grades and creating life-changing results at university education and careers, we certainly prefer respect, honour and love! Thankfully, creating tailored lessons and training also means we are profitable and thriving!
5. Externalities and Just Price from Just leaders
De Botton tells us that we talk about low prices and discounts a lot but we don’t talk about “Just” prices. A just price is a price that factors in the true cost of production. Whenever a company is giving discounts that are too good to be true, that company is taking a shortcut somewhere at the cost of someone or something else that’s important. They must be treating someone badly. Good business ensures everyone is treated with fairness, equity and kindness.
This is precisely what we changed the tutoring business model in 2013 in the UK! We created the only ethical financial model where students of all incomes are able to access the amazing results that students get from private tutoring and mentoring that’s incredible and meaningful! We not only fill academic gaps and learnability that schools often leave behind, we also make sure we close the gap in financial access by providing subsidized rates! We offer up to 50% off our services depending on the students’ family and financial circumstances.
Bringing academic, emotional and social intelligence to our service at Uber Tutors is what makes me so very happy!