Tutor Tango. Take your teacher with you.
Can an Online Business Be a Local Business?
Friday, March 8, 2013

Salve! I’m Scott Wilson, the founder and chief executive manager of Tutor Tango. By day, I’m a Latin teacher at a Manhattan private school (hence the greeting). But when the final bell rings, if I don’t have any tutoring appointments, I take the subway back to my home neighborhood of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, where we run the site.

The way I see it, I marry two worlds every day: the real, physical classroom that I teach in, and the online educational space that Tutor Tango calls home. Our site itself was born of the same desire to join together two worlds: the virtual address where students work together with our talented teachers, and the schools and communities where many of those same tutors and students learn and live.

But how do we go about this?

We’ve started by establishing a presence in our own community not only as a tech startup, but also as a local business with a Main Street mentality. Here are four things we’ve done to that end:

1. We rely on local personnel. All managing members of our startup staff are based in the neighborhood. Several members of our advisory board are teachers and tutors based in New York City. And many of our tutors are based in New York and the greater New York area.

2. We’re establishing partnerships with local businesses and community organizations to find meaningful ways to give back to our local community.

3. We’ve engaged the services of other local professionals. Our bookkeeper, attorney, accountant, and PR consultant are all based in Brooklyn. We take pride in helping other professionals in our neck of the woods thrive and prosper.

4. We provide tutoring help for kids in our home borough of Brooklyn. We love all five boroughs, but we take special pride in helping students right here in our own backyard. To make this happen, we’ve partnered with local educational outreach organizations, such as Prep for Prep, to identify students in Brooklyn who need tutoring but don’t have the financial means to pay for a private tutor.

We truly believe that it’s even more important as an online company to have a “local” state-of-mind. And we’re not alone in this approach. A recent article in the Boston Business Journal detailed the ways in which New England-based tech companies give back to their local communities around the holidays. We hope the “online-but-still-on-Main-Street approach” goes viral.