Minding Your Own Business
As Musicians and Teachers first, it is always difficult to think like a business person. The interesting part is…..many of the same skills and characteristics that make you a great Musician and Teacher are the key ingredients for becoming a successful business person.
So, lets take an inventory….all great Musicians and Teachers are personally motivated, disciplined (practice, practice, practice), good listeners, good leaders, follow up effectively, and are intuitive (to name a few)……All of those attributes directly apply to being a successful business person. The key is learning to apply the music and teaching skills you take for granted to your business.
I would answer some of the most asked questions from our Teacher/Business owners.
#1. How do I figure out how much to charge for my lessons?
Each city has its own “price threshold” although the most common assumption is that the less you charge, the more customers you get. Not necessarily so!!
One key way to check your prices is to call competing companies and see what they charge for weekly lessons…..ballet, karate, piano, and now even the public schools in many areas charge a fee for activities. Here is a hint. As close as I can figure, the average lesson price for Harmony Road 1 is $15.00 per lesson. A bit low in comparison to dance or karate.
Be careful not to undercharge. Parents hold their children dear and a very low a price could scare the best customers off. If milk goes on sale at the store for $.25 a gallon…..would you be serving it to your children?
#2 What is the best way to advertise?
First, there is no “one best” method of advertising. To get you in the right frame of mind, lets go over some of the basics of advertising and marketing.
Avoid one time spot advertising….These salespeople can be very convincing but a single exposure to your customer is not very often successful. Each prospective customer needs 5 exposures to remember you.
Best to dominate in a smaller media than get buried in a large one…..Large city publications, tv and radio are really tough for small companies. They are very expensive and to get any real impact, you often have to make a long term, high cost commitment. Smaller publications like the local parents publications, church newsletters , pre and grade school newsletters, small regional newspapers (try the classified adds.
For services, its best not to advertise price…..Your best chance to sign a new student up is always going to be when you are able to explain the benefits of the program verbally. When you post your prices in your advertising, you are automatically losing some of those prospective students by price without the benefit of explanation….when there is a price listed, that is often the only thing the customer sees.
So, what is the best way to advertise……Plan what you do before you do it and don’t consciously break the basic rules. Lack of planning wastes valuable advertising money as does breaking the basic rules. Make your message clear and try and encourage your prospective customer to contact you. If you get them to talk to you….you are much closer to a new customer.