Thoughts: Mqondisi Bhebhe (Founder)
“What I noticed as a teacher myself was the reliance of working parents on schools and teachers in terms of reading. When parents come home after a busy day at work, they hardly get time to read with or to their children, and Read With Us addresses that problem.”
Website URL: https://readwithus.org.uk/
How did Read With Us come into the picture? What was the need for this business model?
Reading is very important for a child’s development. Even research would tell you that every child has to read for 15 to 20 mins, every single day when they are in primary school. But what I noticed as a teacher myself was the reliance of parents on schools and teachers in terms of reading. It is not that they don’t know the importance of reading to their children or the impact it has but they don’t have the time for it when they get home because they are working full time.
So Read With Us was founded with the intent to connect children with reading tutors who are ideally from a younger demographic, and have stronger interpersonal skills. We also work with children who cannot read or have reading issues. It aids in improving the vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension of children. The literacy problems are also addressed. When you have got the literacy right, children can fly.
About your first sale/deal/transaction/tutor onboarding and the way it was special?
The day when I had the interest of around 20 tutors onboarding the platform, it was priceless, truly priceless. I was thinking that the onboarding of 1 or 2 tutors’ would be a success, but because of technology and having a platform (Read With Us), tutors could onboard themselves. In fact, the stages of onboarding are well managed. Individuals don’t need to call me, they can directly register and I can vet them. That’s the beauty of technology.
Before setting up this business, you must have had a vision. Where do you see yourself now? Do you think the business is in line with something you had planned?
I remember 18 months ago, I was discussing this with my nephew when we sat around the table at 2 a.m, talking about where we wanted to be in 2 years. He said, your success would be if you have 4-10 students and a concept that works and we wrote it down on paper. Never thought that I would be talking to you while running a platform that onboards tutors, is automated, and the systems are integrated, never saw that coming. It happened to me too soon. So from the beginning, we are ahead of our planning. And, we have worked really hard along with FATbit to deliver a tailored platform. Now, I can see that the end is nearer and a new beginning is right here. So that is where we are.
How has your journey with FATbit been?
What I have noticed is that FATbit has very good customer service. I don’t know if they work 24 hours a day, but every time I need something or someone to reach out to, the response is always immediate. And, I would say the relationship is quite positive. Like when I look at the SEO work FATbit is doing for me – I have got a presence on the internet and that support is coming from FATbit.
Your advice to other entrepreneurs who are venturing into such a business?
Anyone can run a business. The difference between people who run a successful business is not in their idea, but it lies in getting up and taking an action.
Also, I have tried business before and have failed but every step where you think you have failed is a learning curve. You only fail when you stop trying.
So keep trying, and most importantly as a business person, you cannot do everything yourself. Get the professionals to do the bit and you stick to doing what you know the best. That is probably the best advice I can give. You don’t have to be a marketer or a designer, there is always everything that your business needs out there. Just reach out and find the help.