Studio Booking Software Articles

Studio Social Media PolicySocial media has been a key component in the growth of my studio. In fact, I’ve never actually done any “traditional” marketing such as print ads, fliers, and so on. I jumped on the Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn bandwagon long before it was almost a necessity, and it has most definitely paid off.

But there are some things to consider when using social media to promote your studio. Here are three key questions to ask, along with my thoughts on each.

BudgetNow that you are charging what you’re worth (last month’s blog), it’s time to discuss what to do with all of that money! A budget is an essential tool for any successful business. Ben Franklin said,

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

What is a Budget?

As a teaching artist and studio owner striving to learn the ropes of running a small business, I find it particularly challenging when faced with financial obligations such as creating a budget. But it is a task that must be done and the simpler I can keep it, the better! So, what is a budget? The website, investopedia.com, defines budget as “an estimation of the revenue and expenses over a specified future period of time.” A budget can be prepared weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly. An important reason to have a budget is to maintain control over expenses and avoid overspending. On the other hand, a business must spend money to make money. A budget provides a tool for organizing cash flow and planning for the future. Learning what you have to grow the business and compete is another function of a budget.

In my research, I found that there two types of budgets: a static or fixed budget and a flexible budget. The static budget is simpler because it projects established levels of fixed income and expenses over a set period of time. It works best for businesses that expect income and expenses to be stable. A flexible budget is one that takes into account varying levels of income and expenses. A static budget can be used prior to the start of a budgeting period. The flexible budget helps in evaluating performance and can be adjusted as needed when income and cost fluctuate.

scheduleAlmost nobody likes a deadline, but sometimes, deadlines are the only way something gets done.

In pondering the subject of this blog entry, I decided to use an example from my own studio – and hope the strategies and thought-processes I have used will be helpful to you.  I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on the matter.

Scheduling is a convoluted mess at best, and a nightmare at worst, but it does not always have to be that way.  When juggling so many families, students, schedules, and conflicts, the teacher’s job is rarely (often never) just teaching.

How many times have you put off that deadline until last minute?  Or, how many times have you assumed the teacher or organization would make an exception for you, because your situation is so unique?  Many teachers spend hours coordinating the schedule and arranging time-frames so students are given the best possible scenario for their lessons.

NetworkingAbout a year ago, my family relocated from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Bozeman, Montana, and I was faced with “relaunching” my piano studio in a new town.  When I opened my studio in Wisconsin the only marketing I did was to place an ad on craigslist — a dozen students soon followed.  After a few unsuccessful attempts at pulling in students in Bozeman via craigslist, I was forced to come up with better marketing strategies that would successfully reach out to my new community.

Bozeman — being an educated, college town and far from a big city — is big on networking.  It didn’t take me long to figure out that I was going to need to find new ways to “plug into” the community of Bozeman in order to create interest in my studio.

Networking with other professionals

One of the first things I did after my craigslist flop was contact the president of my local music teachers association.  Not only was she able to help me understand better how to attract students and brainstorm ideas for my studio, but she also provided me with my first three students.  Since she was no longer accepting new piano students, she gave the families who contacted her for lessons my information, and I was able to begin teaching again just a few short weeks after my initial meeting with her.  When I met other members of the group at monthly meetings, similar referrals soon followed.