Posted on:July 15, 2022
In this Fireside Chat feature, Tutor Doctor Business Coach, Karly Arnott, sat down with Veronyk Zinn, the co-owner of Tutor Doctor Sudbury, to chat about her journey as a business owner and the keys to her success. Veronyk operates the business with her sister, Tiffanie Cormier, who have both made a prominent impact on families as the leading tutoring business in their community.
Karly Arnott: Hello everyone! My name is Karly Arnott, I am a business coach at Tutor Doctor, and I'm currently working with Veronyk Zinn, who is joining us today for this Fireside chat. I'm going to kick it off by asking first to introduce yourself, where you're from, what brought you into the Tutor Doctor network, and how long you've been with us.
Veronyk Zinn: Absolutely! As Karly said, my name is Veronyk. I'm located in Northern Ontario, Canada, so way up north in Sudbury. I've been in the business since 2012. I actually didn’t start the business, my mom started it back in 2008, and we're going on 13 years now. When she started the business, I was still in high school, but I was in the background. I loved taking part in the fairs, the festivals, and being a mascot for her at the time. Just making it a family thing!
After graduating high school, I went to university with a degree in business. That's all I knew. I knew I wanted to be some kind of entrepreneur; I just didn't know what field. Essentially what ended up happening is I got a really good job at the university working in the marketing department, which was my passion. I loved marketing. At one point in 2012, my mom had grown the business so big, so fast that she needed an extra set of hands at that point to really help her.
She approached me and said “Listen, I'm looking for somebody that can help so we can keep growing this business. Is this something you could see yourself doing?”
At that point, I just had to reflect. Working at the university is great. I love the social aspect of it, but I really didn't feel like I was making a difference in anybody's life advertising the university. I saw her and my dad throughout the years enrolling their students and making a difference in their lives. Seeing kids that didn't know how to read and then could read, or kids that were failing chemistry and then they were passing… it really resonated with me, and it seemed like the perfect fit! That's basically how I took the plunge. I joined the family business in May of 2012, and my sister joined as well.
We essentially became a family business overnight. So that's what brought me in the business, and I wouldn't change it for the world!
Karly: Talk about a perfect fit! She's quite humble, but she did win our Tutor Doctor Spirit Award at DBA this year, which is a very honorable award. Veronyk and her sister, Tiffanie, embody the Tutor Doctor spirit, all the way through to their clients and students within their community. It’s been a perfect fit for you. I can speak to that for sure!
We’ve been working together, and just to give a little bit of an overview of what that relationship looks like, can you speak to how long we've been working together and how that’s added value to your business?
Veronyk: It started with us during COVID. I think everybody can relate that from March to June 2020, we were very isolated. Everything had transitioned from in-person to online. We were working from home and no longer going out to do interviews. We just fell in that slump. We received an email from Home Office saying that they were encouraging people to get business coaches. At first, I didn't really see the value since we've been around for so long. I didn't know what that could really do for us. But you know what? Something told me just to try it.
So, I requested a coach, and it was love at first sight! Karly is everything I didn't know I needed. Basically, she keeps us accountable. It was the kick in the butt that we really needed. To show us our data in black and white, and organize where we're sitting in terms of sales goals, and revenue goals.
Every month we meet and we discuss how we're doing and where we're going. It gives us that light that we look forward to. It's the pat in the back that I didn't think I needed. It's also a way to keep me accountable for reaching those goals.
I'm a very goal-oriented person, so it's not like this was new to me. But, at the end of the month, if I was shy a couple thousand, I was like “Okay, I'll make it up next month.”
Now, it's become a competition with myself. I'll stay up extra late and make sure I get my extra renewal so I can text Karly and say “Hey, I did it! I made my month. Now I can sleep tonight.”
It's honestly one of the best decisions we made as business owners. I’ve told Karly she can never leave. We're for-lifers with her!
Karly: I just want to echo the accountability piece too, because, and I always say this with everyone I work with, it really is a two-way street! I think your ability to take ownership over your part of the goal-setting process and accountability, by going through the exercises and showing up to the meetings is really what makes this relationship so strong. It's been a wonderful experience working with you this year.
The last question I'll leave you with is what advice would you give to another business owner looking to grow their business this year?
Veronyk: That one is an easy one. In order to be successful with this type of business and with the Tutor Doctor brand, it's truly about caring. I can't stress that enough. I speak to so many franchisees day in and day out. Some that did really well and some that maybe didn't do as well. I think the clear difference between the two is the caring factor.
When it comes to walking into a consultation and meeting that potential client for the first time, if you walk in with a sales hat wanting to sell them something because you need to put food on your table, I think they're going to smell you from a mile away.
The approach we've always taken is walking in with a listening ear. The families are going to sense that, and they're just going to pour their hearts out to you. Just truly being present in that consultation, taking down notes and then doing the best you can to help that family reach their goals and following up with them.
The consultation, to me, is always the easiest part. Once they've given you all the information, it's up to you to take it and really make a difference with it. For me, I overthink all my tutor matches. Some people think I'm crazy because I'll have three people that could potentially take the file. I'm second-guessing every one of them and saying “Who do I think will really take this little guy out of a shell” or “Who will be able to explain things in a way that this student is really going to understand?” When I overthink it, it always usually ends up paying off in the end.
Once I do find a match, I’m actively following up. I always like to touch base after that very first session. Then, every six to eight weeks, I'm touching base with them to make sure they're happy. By doing so, the renewal piece becomes a natural transition to the client if they still need you. If they do, then it's not like you're calling on a sales call again saying “Hey, you're up for renewal, you owe this much money!”
If everything's going well, usually they'll say “Hey, keep the payments rolling. Things are going super smoothly. We want to continue with you for another six months.”
The whole caring factor is the most important thing. I think that if everybody went in with their heart, I think they would definitely do well.
Karly: I want to double-click on the care factor and the thread that was weaved through everything you just said. I think from my experience from the outside in, watching all these beautiful reviews coming in from your office this time of year is just such a powerful gift to receive after all that effort you put in with each of your families - to really see that translate into actual results and actual success for the student and family.
You have many reviews to be very proud of. Those are beautiful gifts following all your work with each of your families that you do, and I get to sit back and read those. Thank you for sharing that much. We'll wrap up the fireside chat here.
Thank you so much for taking a few minutes to have a casual chat with me. We’ll be moving into goal-setting mode now!
Veronyk: Yes! We always look forward to meeting with you. It doesn't feel like work, honestly.
Karly: Thank you so much Veronyk!
Veronyk: Thank you, Karly!
It goes without saying that Veronyk is a prime example of what it means to have Tutor Doctor Spirit. Known in their community for consistently displaying the utmost level of professionalism and care, Veronyk and Tiffanie continue to grow their business while making a positive difference in their community. Their approach extends to everyone they work with, and the way they conduct their business has resulted in overwhelmingly positive feedback from clients and tutors alike.
You can watch the full Fireside Chat between Karly and Veronyk below. If you’re also passionate about making a positive impact in your community and dream of owning your own business, get in touch with us to learn more about franchise opportunities with Tutor Doctor.