Tara Bradley Williams started Pronto Spanish Services, LLC as a part-time endeavor in 2002 when she was working as a school teacher, and now her full-time business is booming.
The business quickly grew from its original educational content to include Spanish Immersion Weekends hosted at Edgewood College. The Spanish curriculum that Tara developed began to be offered at Madison College as well. This summer she even offered etextbooks for general Spanish courses to suit the college’s switch to all online courses in the face of the pandemic. In June 2020, Tara quit teaching in high schools and middle schools to focus on her business full time.
The content offered by Pronto Spanish Services is unique because Tara built her own learning management system and she works with companies and distributors to offer personalized pricing and industry-specific packages. For Open Sesame, a distributor offering content nationwide to corporate clients, Tara recently updated 14 courses into new software to keep current with her students’ needs. For Ed2Go, another distributor, Tara wrote and currently facilitates four courses (Spanish for Medical Professionals 1 & 2, Spanish for Educators and Spanish for Law Enforcement) that are available at over 3000 community colleges, universities and adult education facilities across the country.
Another valuable partnership Tara has created is with Speak Shop, a non-profit company based in Portland. They work with native-speaking Spanish tutors in Guatemala to provide online tutoring for those learning Spanish. In this partnership, students take Tara’s online courses and are able to practice their new conversational Spanish skills with native-speaking Spanish tutors.
The growth of the company is a direct result of Tara’s hard work over the years. She said, “It has been a challenge to manage every aspect of the business. It is not just content creation, which I really enjoy, but I also need to do the social media marketing, accounting and technical tasks.” In 2008, she came to the UW-Whitewater SBDC for marketing assistance and has worked with Ron Chisholm and other SBDC consultants over the years. “Ron took the mystery out of the unknowns. He helped me come up with pricing for my on-ground courses. He was a sounding board for different ideas and helped me stay grounded, providing advice on what I should be focused on. The SBDC helped validate my work on contract proposals and improve my confidence in other things I thought I wouldn’t be able to do. I felt empowered,” she said.
And that empowerment shows in the continued growth and success of her business. She was recently contacted by the Colorado Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), which offers services to individuals wanting to start a business. She was asked to serve as a consultant on starting eLearning businesses and got approved to be a vendor with the organization.
So, what comes next for Pronto Spanish Services? Tara is working to teach more in-person courses as she loves working with students. She also wants to develop more customized online and in-person courses for individual businesses and increase her consulting services. She has a goal of adding part-time employees so she can focus on what she enjoys doing most. Best of luck to Tara and this wonderful small business!