Founder Stories: Adam Shlomi On Building SoFlo SAT Tutoring
In today’s Founder Story we feature Adam Shlomi founder of SoFlo SAT Tutoring.
Read on for lessons he’s learned from launching and marketing an online tutoring business.
1) Please introduce your business and share your role.
My name is Adam Shlomi and I am a 22-year-old senior at Georgetown University from South Florida. I am the founder of SoFlo SAT Tutoring, an online SAT/ACT tutoring company that provides exceptional test prep to students across the country.
2) What’s your backstory, what kind of challenges did you face, and how did you come up with your business idea?
I come from an entrepreneurial family. Working for myself has always been encouraged by my family, but before I could get started, I needed to learn a skill. At Georgetown, I study international politics and business. I really didn’t know what kind of business I could start, and frankly, planned to work as a (boring) data analyst after graduation. But then as a freshman at Georgetown, I began working for CollegeVine, as a tutor. There I learned methods and strategies for effective online tutoring and about what doesn’t work with online tutoring.
In my junior year, I suffered a horrible ankle injury due to which I was forced to return to Florida. I had to do some soul-searching and committed myself to a positive mindset and working every day to improve my physical health.
Without classes, I used the extra time I was afforded to begin taking SAT tutoring seriously. I built a website, established a legal company, and marketed the business to friends & family. Thus, SoFlo SAT Tutoring was born. Slowly, the idea gained momentum. Students raved to their friends and parents wrote shining reviews about SoFlo SAT Tutoring. I hired and trained tutors to handle the influx of new students, and once I started bringing other tutors on board, I realized I had started a real company.
3) How did you prepare for, and go about your launch?
We just wanted to launch and iterate. We didn’t make a huge plan. The sooner we want to market the sooner we started iterating
4) How did you come up with your logo and the visual identity?
Our brand’s visual identity was the sun because Florida is the sunshine state. Personally, I love the sun because it makes plants grow, is the largest source of energy in the universe, and I love tanning by the beach. The sun seemed happy. Based on the sun we went with orange and yellow colors. To resonate with our young team we went for modern sans-serif fonts. And our initial logo was designed on Fiverr. Later we updated our logo in 2020 with the work of an NYC designer and it’s inspired by the logo of the Weill Cornell hospital.
5) Since launching, what types of marketing campaigns and designs have worked best to attract and retain customers?
Sharing reviews from happy customers, and success stories of past students have helped.
Another key aspect of customer retention is connecting with the students. We try and hire tutors who are young and charismatic — seriously, I don’t hire anyone who I don’t like talking to.
6) What have been the most influential brands for your business? Whose branding and marketing do you aspire to and why?
- I love the simplicity of Bang & Olufsen, the consumer electronics company known for its speakers and other audio accessories.
- Another business I admire is Prep Expert which was featured on Shar Tank. It does a good job of enticing customers
7) What are your favorite marketing platforms/tools?
- It’s all about ad spend. Google ads and Facebook ads are my personal favorites.
- Hotjar is a great tool for measuring website engagement
8) Who or what inspires and motivates you?
Social entrepreneurship. The idea that we can make money and do good at the same time is something that inspires me. SoFlo SAT Tutoring is focused on giving back and has helped hundreds of underserved students receive free test prep tutoring.
9) What are some lessons you’ve learned along the way that you would share with entrepreneurs hoping to launch or who have just launched?
The internet is revolutionary. Every single topic is available to learn, so the argument that “I don’t know how to do something” falls short.
If you have an idea but don’t have the knowledge to execute it, use that idea as motivation and go learn how to turn your vision into reality.
10) What do you believe are the qualities of a good entrepreneur? And what makes a team successful?
Persistence is crucial. Another is the ability to keep charging and making something happen.