Monthly Archives: May 2016

Tips to Start your Own Music Teaching Business

If you can play a musical instrument such as the guitar, piano, or any other, or if you sing well, you may consider starting your very own music-teaching business. It is a lucrative business option and can be done from the comfort of your home. You can take classes at home and also train students over the Internet, thus reaching a large number of students. This business requires less initial investment and can prove to be a profitable venture. There are some music teachers I know, who are earning pretty well through a music-teaching business. Knowing how to start this business can help you begin on the ‘right note’.

Conduct Background Research
Conducting a background research is of utmost importance before starting any business. In case of a business in teaching music, do some online research to understand the number of music teachers in your area, what they teach, how much they charge, and the response they get. The answers to these questions will help you gauge the viability of your business idea and tell you whether investing in this business would be profitable. If there are quite a few music classes in your locality, consider starting your business in some other area. Choose the location wisely.

Find a Mentor
Try to speak to a person who has worked in the field or someone who owns a similar venture. Talking to him will help you understand the nitty-gritty of the business. However, if he is from the same city/locality as yours, he may not divulge too much information with the fear of competition. Look up on the Internet for someone who has achieved success with a music business. Consulting him will help you know about all the aspects of starting this business. Maintain good relations with him. Sharing a good rapport with a successful music business entrepreneur is sure to benefit you.

Have a Business Plan Ready
Before you start the business, you need to have fool-proof plan ready. Start by deciding a name for your music class or academy. It should be striking and inviting. Other things to be planned include, whether to conduct one-on-one lessons or take group lessons, how much to charge as fees, and which musical instruments (or any other equipment) to use. It is also important to decide the target audience and devise ways to reach them. Pertaining to the financial aspect of your business, ways to raise funds for the initial investment, salaries of the people you may need to hire, expenditure on the infrastructure and equipment, and the record-keeping system to use, are among the important things to consider. It is important to think about ways to expand your business, and also have an exit strategy ready, in case your business is not a success.

Source Instruments and Course Material
Decide the number of students to be accommodated in a single batch. Accordingly, decide the number of instruments (and accessories, if any) that need to be sourced. After a few months of training (once the basics are taught), the students can be asked to get their own instruments. Prepare the course material and source books and song sheets accordingly. Make lesson plans for beginner level as well as expert level students. Arrange for the course material to be printed and given to every student who enrolls to your class. You can also make instructional DVDs for the same. This will save you a lot of time and effort.

Complete the Formalities
You will have to get the license to teach and buy insurance for your business. Look into the zoning and land use rules of your community. Also, don’t forget to get a business liability insurance. You can browse through the government’s Small Business Administration website to understand the formalities that need to be taken care of. You may have to register your business name as ‘Doing Business As’. Complete the necessary paperwork as per your state’s requirements. You will also need to register your business with the IRS. Take professional advice for accounting and taxation.

Find a Good Location
You can either rent a facility or use a part of your house. Renting a facility will be costly. It is good to start small. To start with, use a spare room in your apartment or the basement. See that it has a separate entrance so that movement is easy, and ensure that this arrangement does not disturb other residents of the apartment. If time and distance are not your constraints, going to each student’s place to teach him, is also a good option.

Use the Media for Promotion
It is important that you promote your business strategically. Use attractive visiting cards, brochures, and fliers, and circulate them in music stores and cafes. Advertise through local community newspapers and specialty magazines. For any business to succeed today, a strong social media presence is important. Make Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and LinkedIn profiles for your business. Keep updating them with interesting photos and information. Try to have a Fan page on Facebook. People tend to visit these pages to see how many people Like them before deciding whether to join the classes. You will benefit immensely if you start a YouTube channel and display your musical talent in weekly video updates. Create a separate email account and website for your business. Advertise your business effectively.

Watch Your Conduct
Leave your flip-flops and that rugged t-shirt at home when you go for networking or invite students for a musical demonstration. Dress smartly and neatly to make a positive impression on the people you interact with. When communicating with them, be polite. Be approachable.

Do Good Networking
Visit local music shops and leave your visiting card, resume, and fliers/brochures there. Meet the managers personally and explain your business to them. Visit school teachers and ask them if they can give your reference to students who want private lessons. Firstly, this will help you get students. In addition to that, it might get you work as a sub-contractor for a marching or jazz band. Contact local band directors. Even they may help you get students. If you have a college degree, or if you have received formal education in music, you may get hired on an adjunct position in a community college or university. Word-of-mouth promotions work wonders for a music-teaching business.

Make the Classes Interesting
Fun activities, educational games, and contests make learning a fun experience. Feature the best students on your website and/or social media pages. Once in a month or two, host a musical night so that your students get a chance to perform. Such events help promote the business. Even the students and their parents feel motivated to continue with you. Introduce discount schemes, lucrative offers, and/or allow the students to pay in installments. Schemes like these help attract more business.

Tips to prepare your business for bad weather

My hometown recently experienced an intense late summer heatwave. With temperatures hovering at a record-breaking 111 degrees one afternoon, I realized that I was the lone person outside at the normally busy community college campus where I teach.

The people I did see outside as I drove home looked understandably weary and stressed by the heat. As I stopped to pick up a few things to prepare a light no-cook supper for my family, I noticed the trashcans outside the store were overflowing with cold drink cups.

Inside the sparsely populated store, I saw some people grabbing watermelon and ice cream. A few others were at a freezer pulling out bags of ice.

There is no doubt that extreme weather affects business. On that day, stores selling cold drinks and ice were bustling, while most retail stores, restaurants and other businesses were slow.

Retail businesses usually see a significant drop in traffic during heatwaves and cold snaps or during stormy weather in any season. Even if your business does not count on in-person traffic, your employees may not be able to get to work or stay as engaged in their work during bad weather. In addition, your supply chain can be significantly interrupted by extreme weather conditions that cause icy roads or delayed air traffic.

Since even the best weather forecaster cannot fully predict how weather swings will affect a business during an extreme weather event, there are some steps you can take to keep your business afloat during bad weather.

Create a weather communication plan. Be clear about setting expectations and communication guidelines for your employees during bad weather. If you have to close your business due to a weather emergency, you don’t want some of your staff attempting to make it into work.  Notify them via group text or through your website of any closings or delays in operation.

For the same reason, have clear communication with your vendors and suppliers about what happens during unexpected weather-related events. While the weather may be a surprise, the way you handle the situation does not have to be.

Keep up with short-term weather forecasts. As a business owner, you are accustomed to keeping up with economic forecasts and with business news. You need to add weather news to that list.

Here’s an example. Knowing that its customers buy more soup in cold, damp and windy weather the Campbell’s Soup Company pays close attention to the weather.  It even links its advertising to the weather forecasts in certain markets with an algorithm called the “Misery Index.” Therefore, if you hear a Campbell’s soup ad on the radio, chances are pretty good that the weather where you are is miserable.

Diversify your product line. I recall a new small business in my town that sold primarily smoothies and iced drinks. The Hawaiian-themed drive-through kiosk seemed to be doing a brisk business during the summer tourist season. As fall neared, however, I watched closely for menu items that would reflect the upcoming temperature changes.

Maybe soup? Hot drinks? However, nothing seemed to change and, not surprisingly, I saw a “For Sale” sign on the shuttered doors before the end of the year.

Seasonal changes are predictable, but you can also experience the occasional cold snap during the summer and warm spell during the winter. Have options for your customers, so that you can meet their needs on a year-round basis.

Have an emergency plan. In weather emergencies, the situation can worsen quickly. Although you hope you never need to implement it, it is important to have an emergency preparedness plan in place.

The first step is to think about what weather-related problems could affect your business and what you can do to prepare for them. The type of emergency will determine the steps you should take to keep your staff, your customers, your inventory and your equipment safe.

Here are some details to include in your emergency plan:

  • a detailed evacuation procedure
  • storage of important company documents in an easily accessible and secure location away from your business location
  • a list of contact information for people to notify, including supervisors, board members colleagues, clients family members and insurance company.
  • the location and directions to the closest emergency shelter. Contact your local fire or police department if you do not know.

Finally, it is important to remember that bad weather does not always affect us in predictable ways.  Harvard Business School professor Francesca Gino and her research team asked 200 adults to predict the impact of weather on work productivity. More than 80 percent of the respondents predicted that good weather would increase productivity and that bad weather would decrease productivity.

However, that supposition may not hold up in the real work world. As part of its research, for instance, the Harvard team examined findings from a Tokyo bank that showed its workers were more productive during stormy weather than on clear, sunny days.The Harvard team’s follow-up studies confirmed the trend.

Tips to Keep Track of Your Money

Before we take a look at few ways to keep track of your money, here is a simple test. Ask yourself these questions, and answer with a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’.
Do I owe anyone money?
Do I borrow money too often?
Am I usually late to pay my bills?
Have I put off doing something that I actually need to get done but can’t because I can’t afford it?
Do I run out of money before my next paycheck arrives?

If you answered most of the above questions with a ‘Yes’, there is no other way to break it to you but to say – you need help, friend! It is not everybody’s cup of tea to manage their personal finances. However, the good news is, you can learn to do it pretty soon and quite effectively too. The following tips on how to keep track of your money are going to help you save money. It is never a good idea to live paycheck to paycheck; so if you don’t want to do that, follow the tips given below and start keeping a tab on your money!

Ways to Keep Track of Your Money

Wallet

Know the exact contents of your wallet. That does not mean you should keep track of every single penny that you put in or remove from your wallet. But it always helps to know how much money you have in your wallet. It even saves you from embarrassment – what if you were to have coffee with a nice girl in a nice cafe and you discovered you had no money left in your wallet? I wouldn’t want to be the girl with you! (Just kidding… I hope that never happens to you.)

Tip: Check in the morning before you leave the house how much money you have in your wallet. Even if you find some of it missing, you have only a day’s expenses to cross-check and trace back your missing money.

Credit

This is how credit cards work (in the simplest, crudest terms) – they (credit union) give you money to use for free. They give you a time limit within which you have to return the money. But if you fail to return it in that time, they charge you an interest such that you eventually end up returning a lot more than you borrowed! Now the problem is, somewhere we have this psychological block in our heads – credit card is somebody else’s money, so even if I overspend, ‘my’ money is still intact. So we tend to overspend. But that is so wrong, for we all know that ultimately we have to pay the credit card bill from our own money. Plus credit card bills are always unbelievable. We take one look at the bill, and we are like ‘Damn! When did I spend that much money?’

Tip: Switch to using an ATM card or a debit card. That way, you would think twice before spending, as it would be ‘your’ money. Also all your transactions will show in your monthly bank account statement. It makes keeping a track easier.

Expenses

It is best to keep track of your expenses to know exactly how much money you spend and on what. Many a time it so happens that we do not remember how much money we spent. We buy a box of liquor chocolates and forget we bought it. We pick up a bottle of wine on our way to someone’s house and forget we did. And then we rack our brains trying to remember where it is that the money was spent! So keep a track of your expenses. You can keep a record in a small pocket diary. If you want to be all pro, you can do the same on an iPad!

Tip: Do this daily (at the end of the day, before you hit the sack) and you won’t even have to keep a diary! It is not important to actually ‘write’ down all your expenses; even a mental check can suffice, as long as you are absolutely sure.

Budget

Set yourself a budget and do not spend outside the budget. If you do, make sure to keep a track of what you spent the extra money on. Did you indulge in a shopping spree? Did you lend anyone money? Were you hit by some unexpected expenses? Medicine? Dinner? Trip to somewhere? Keeping track of your money when you are out on a small trip, holiday or vacation becomes almost impossible. Everybody is in the mood to spend. It is essential you set yourself a budget to keep track in such cases.

Tip: Keep a comfortable margin. Too low a budget can make it seem like you are overspending all the time, when actually you are not. It can bog you down! Take into account all your monthly expenses before setting a budget.

Account

Monitor your bank account vigilantly. It is the world of e-banking, so make sure you subscribe for an electronic monthly statement of your bank account, and make sure you actually go through the statement when it arrives and check for any transactions that seem fishy or unaccountable. I do hope this never happens to you, but a possibility of theft cannot be overruled. Credit card scams are not something unheard of. A lot of people have a lot of reasons (though wrong ones) to tamper with people’s bank accounts. It is better to be careful than sorry!

Tip: Train yourself to read through the bank statement carefully. Do not simply throw it in the trash can. It hardly takes a few minutes. Also report any unusual transactions immediately, without further ado.
So those were some personal finance tips that will help you keep track of your money. Train yourself to deal with money responsibly. You can inculcate responsibility in your children right from their tender years, so that they learn to use money carefully from an early age. Everything in life is not about money, yes. But many important things are – food, clothing, shelter, medical help, for starters. So it is always a good idea to save and invest. Hope the above tricks and tips help you out.

Tips to Successful Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing is one great way to target a whole new group of people to market your product. It is a fact that just roughly everybody owns some sort of mobile device today. As business owners, there is the need for you to diversify your target market. And that includes mobile users. Sure, though these users have wants and needs and would want an easy way to grab those in just one click.

However, before delving into mobile marketing efforts, you must know the basic tips to make it work for your business.

  • You need to comprehend what your consumer wants in order to market them through mobile formats.
  • Mobile marketing is not the notion of “saying more with less” when it proceeds to your promotional content.You cannot have dull product and landing pages here that go on and on, since it’s not saying anything helpful. Mobile marketing progress can best be achieved when you provide your content clean and clear.
  • Wait for results for your first mobile marketing campaign before beginning a second one.
  • Try out as many mobile devices as possible and ask your customers for feedback about their usage experiences.
  • When you call or text someone, remember that they are “people” and deserve to be treated well.
  • If you aspire to be successful in your mobile marketing, you must adapt changes gradually. Always be up for even a little tweak in your programs but remember to study and know it well.
  • Though mobile marketing has been proven to be an effective way to connect with your customers, there is still a necessity for it to be capable of working on multiple platforms. Note that if your marketing efforts don’t work on all the popular devices, you could lose customers.
  • Before applying mobile marketing, techniques do some research if your target audience can appreciate it. Know what your target audience responds to before you spend lots of money on mobile marketing. Are they more likely to use a mobile phone than desktops? What is the main type of operating systems do their phones?
  • Make sure your content is timely and purposeful. The idea of adding mobile marketing to your marketing strategies might excite you, but you must create content that fills the need to. The information and products content that you put out needs to speak to your potential customers’ problems. If it is appropriate, they will contact you.
  • As more and more people own mobile devices, the demand for mobile marketing will increase. Pretty soon most people will have a mobile phone, making mobile marketing a highly profitable way to promote products and services.

By using the these points, you will be ahead of your competition and will be in the right place to effectively improve your products through this new form of marketing. Just another reminder, your business shouldn’t be based solely on mobile marketing this is just one way to promote and gain more audience. But as proven right, mobile marketing is one best way to market in this current phase.