Performance

Having been a piano teacher for nine years now, I have learned how very important it is to maintain contact with my clients.  I believe that keeping the lines of communication open with my customers results in a better lesson experience for all involved, and I’ve also learned that it helps my students and their families to feel as though they are important and not becoming “lost in the shuffle”.  Regular contact with stucommunicatedents makes them feel that I am accessible and they, in turn, are very open to coming to me with questions, concerns, and positive feedback.  Below are a few simple ideas to encourage interaction between you and your studio’s customers:

E-mail

The Internet has made communicating simple and effective.  When I think of how my own piano teacher growing up had to make phone calls whenever there was a schedule change or send letters home with students about upcoming events (and rely on us actually giving them to our parents…), I realize how lucky I am to be running a studio in the age of the Internet.  I use e-mail to communicate nearly everything that happens in my studio–upcoming recitals, workshops, lesson reminders, etc.  Not only does this simple and efficent way of communicating make life easier for me, but busy parents appreciate the quick, non-intrusive updates.  I also use e-mail to tell students about events in the community.  For example, if there is an upcoming symphony performance or a great sale at our local piano store, I will send a brief e-mail to my piano families to let them know.

Newsletters

I have found newsletters to be a great way to not only get studio information into my clients hands, but also to provide motivational and educational tips and articles to my families.  This has also been a wonderful tool to promote the benefits of music education. 

booksI find that often times I’ll pick up business books from the store looking for inspiration and they just end up sitting on the shelf collecting dust. Sound familiar? Sometimes it’s because I get excited about a new topic, ie. Social Media which warranted me purchasing not one but five social media marketing books! Needless to say I barely got through one and skimmed a couple others. I realized that as with any other task I hope to achieve associated with my business (Brooklyn Music Factory) I need to actually set aside the time to accomplish them. Books somehow felt different, but of course, they are not. They require time during my workday if they are in fact a priority. So, that is what has changed as of late. I now set aside some reading time a couple times during the week and, low and behold, I am starting to pull new books off that dusty shelf! This entry marks the first of a series on business books that I have discovered to be chock full of useful info. And how I see that info affecting my business operation.

FourHourWorkWeekI have just finished reading both Tim Ferris’ book, ‘The Four Hour Work Week’ & Michael E Gerber’s, ‘The E Myth Revisited.’ They are both wonderful reads for generating new and interesting angles on how to manage your studio or school. Today I wanted to discuss some of the tools I have implemented, based in part on Ferris’ suggestions, on getting tasks done for my music school, the Brooklyn Music Factory.I use an iMac desktop, an iPad, and an iPhone regularly everyday so I need all applications to be Mac friendly and I really want them to support all three devices (though they don’t always do it equally well.)

Tool #1:
Studio Helper
I use this daily to track all clients and outstanding balances due. I encourage all clients to use the Paypal ‘make a payment’ link and so all payments flow easily into Paypal and then into Studio Helper. Essential!

Tool #2:
Paypal App
I have the Paypal App on both my iPhone and my iPad. I regularly use it to quickly withdraw funds from my Paypal account and deposit them into my Citi business account. It takes less than a minute and can happen from anywhere I happen to be in the world.

Tool #3:
Evernote
An absolutely essential tool for me that I use to basically capture any and every idea I have about how I can grow my business. For example, recently I was on the hunt for a new commercial space to hour our school. I walked the neighborhood and snapped photos on my iPhone (in Evernote) of anything I saw I liked. I then added any text notes concerning details about each property (though the contact info was already usually in the photo). I finally made a single ‘notebook’ within Evernote that included all the photos of properties and my text. After synching with my iMac at home, I could organize and decide which properties seemed worth following up on.

PDF of “Facebook_1”Last blog entry I discussed how I communicate with clients, faculty, and staff at my music school, Brooklyn Music Factory. This entry is going to be a follow up pointing out what seems to have worked and what seems to have failed for us. Assessing regularly your system of communication and outreach is vital, I believe, to ensuring that you are reaching everyone you intend to connect with. To me, efficiency in communicating is important because is allows my faculty and I to stay focused on what we do best which is develop our unique curriculum and methodology for teaching music to our 75 students.

Think about distinguishing your studio from others by providing services that individual teachers can’t offer by themselves.  Even if your teachers are basically renting teaching space from you, everyone can benefit from a few coordinated events.jam

Such events can help make students feel that they are part of something bigger than just taking lessons from their teacher, and as a result, they will feel more of an attachment to the studio–a plus for both the teacher and the studio as a whole.

Pooling talents is the key.  An individual teacher could offer services from any location, but if you combine the skills of various teachers, you can offer something people can find nowhere else.

Examples include introductory classes, ensemble classes, jam sessions, open house festivals, recitals or demonstrations, camps, and gig services.  Let’s take a look at these ideas…