Many small businesses are still recovering from the impact of last October’s Superstorm Sandy. We heard from quite a few of you about the effects of Sandy in your work: power outages, damaged buildings and limited transportation options made it hard, if not impossible, to run your businesses. No doubt about it, Sandy created (and continues to create) major challenges.
When the storm hit six months ago on October 29, 2012, high school students across America were deep in preparations for an SAT exam scheduled for November 3. Many in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut (and the rest of the country) had enlisted Parliament Tutors to help. Founded in 2009 by New York University graduate David Greenberg, Parliament provides private at-home tutoring for standardized collegiate tests. A couple hundred students use the company’s services at any time – some as far away as Saudi Arabia – and Greenberg taps into a network of about 700 tutors.
“Students had already purchased tutoring sessions, and the SAT was less than a week away,” David explains. “When the storm hit, many of our tutors in the affected regions couldn’t travel to meet their students at their homes. That’s when we introduced both the students and their tutors to the idea of Skype video.”
Fortunately, Parliament was already quite familiar with Skype. About ten percent of its students take part in tutoring sessions with Skype video and whiteboard software called Scriblink, and the company relies on Skype video calls to recruit and train its educators around the world.
However, some students and parents who were accustomed to at-home tutoring initially were reluctant to try something new.
“That quickly changed when they saw the quality,” David says. “Skype video and Scriblink together provided great alternative to in-person meetings. We were able to continue our tutoring sessions with minimal cancellations, despite the adverse circumstances in New York and the surrounding states.”
Having Skype already integrated into the company’s operations meant David could mitigate the potentially disastrous effects of Sandy. It’s a good reminder to have a back-up plan in case an emergency strikes.
Did you find creative ways to carry on in the wake of Superstorm Sandy? Share your story in the comments.