A new music studio recently opened in Bray Street, Coffs Harbour called Guitar Lessons Play. The business offers guitar lessons to both beginners and those wanting to develop their existing talents further. The studio’s owner Glen Hitchon is an experienced guitar player himself who has performed with top bands across Australia.
Glen’s business has got off to a flying start and he gives us some of his tips for starting up a small business.
When I began to plan for my guitar teaching business, one of the best pieces of advice I received was to write a business plan. A business plan was such a great way for me to effectively summarise my goals and lay out a method for achieving them within a realistic timeframe. I find that the key to writing a great business plan is to keep it simple, clear and succinct. I broke down my plan into 5 simple goals, then outlined methods for achieving these goals working within a timeframe. This really helped me get my business off the ground and gave me a document to refer to over time to help keep me on track. It’s very important to review your business plan from time to time and as you achieve your goals to set new ones in the same manner and follow the structure you intend for your business. A business plan doesn’t have to be a novel, I suggest you start by writing out your basic ideas today.
Invest in yourself
As a guitar teacher, I need to be at the top of my game when it comes to the instrument and music. That being said, I also need to be able to relate to my students and clearly communicate what we are learning within our lesson environment. Over the years I have invested heavily in my personal musicianship and teaching skills, completing a diploma of music as well as private study with some of Australia’s best guitar players. I also have ongoing advice from professional music teachers in order to further my skills in the areas relating to my business. This helps me deliver the most coherent and productive lessons so that my students really benefit not only from my personal experiences in music teaching but my network of professionals that I am supported by. My ongoing development as a musician, teacher and business operator helps me to achieve a positive experience between me and my students.
Seek professional advice
Starting a business can be an overwhelming experience. It’s unnecessary to believe that you know everything about all the components of running a business, and there’s no need to. I have personally taken the approach of learning as I go and seeking professional advice on all aspects of my guitar teaching business. I have ongoing professional support in areas such as marketing, sales, accounting, teaching, playing, lesson planning, web design and record keeping to name a few. The old saying, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” comes to mind. We all have our strengths that contribute to the overall structure and running of a professional service. ETC’s Business Advisors have been extremely helpful to me in running my business, offering invaluable advice and support in areas such as planning and marketing.
Marketing is the key to any business. Everything I do for my guitar teaching business outside of my lessons involves marketing. A common mistake for many businesses is to assume that marketing equals promotion. In fact, promotion is only one aspect of marketing. Understanding and working on the other aspects of marketing is integral to achieving good results. From identifying your market and communicating with them to establish a positive reputation and product or service is all part of marketing. Much like having a business plan, establishing a productive marketing plan will go a very long way in running a successful business.
Make the leap of faith
Ultimately when starting out as a small business owner you may come to a fork in the road where you can take a risk or take the safe road. There may not be a guarantee of your business being successful but you will never realise that if you never give it a go. At some point you have to make a leap of faith and trust yourself to do the best you can. As mentioned earlier, surround yourself with professional support in all aspects of your business and you will have a much greater chance of it being a success. Running my own guitar teaching studio in Coffs Harbour is such a rewarding experience. Sharing my enthusiasm of music with students and seeing them progress on the instrument is satisfying and encouraging which ultimately excites my approach to running my business and refining it over time.
Glen’s studio is located at Shop 7, Bray Street Shopping Centre in Coffs Harbour. You can phone him on 0422 440 647, or check out his website www.guitarlessonsplay.com.au
To find out more about ETC Business Services visit www.etcltd.com.au/business