Six Business Functions
There are six basic business functions in your music school. The actions in your business fall under one of these six categories. Your music school will turn into a well-oiled machine by creating a set of instructions and processes for each category. You’re most likely executing these tasks, but putting them down on paper into different categories allows you to take a step back and identify some additional steps that are missing from your music schools’ processes.
– – – EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS – – –
BUSINESS FUNCTIONS: WHICH COMES FIRST?
- Human resources
- Business development
This would include billing, collections, student onboarding, bill payments, and customer service. Even more mundane tasks such as cleaning and managing inventory would go here. Each one of these tasks then needs a series of processes to support it. The way I recommend creating these processes is simply through bullet points.
EXAMPLE 1: STUDENT ONBOARDING
Create clarity by simply naming each process, without getting into the details, and by identifying the action that’s going to take place during the onboarding process.
As you’re creating these bullet points, you might realize you could probably add a couple of things to this process.” You realize you’ve done a good job on the student’s initial onboarding and made notes on the email exchanges during the onboarding process. Perhaps you decide it would be great to send a postcard to the student a few days before the lesson. By writing these different steps down, you also might realize that you don’t do much follow-up after the student’s been onboarded.
If you get it down on paper, you can then share it with your staff and turn your music school into a well-oiled machine.
EXAMPLE 2: CUSTOMER SERVICE
It’s one thing to deal with a complaint from a customer, but you can implement a system in terms of a follow-up to make sure that the issue’s been resolved a week later.
It’s nice to have all of your marketing tools laid out in front of you. Tools like your website, email, social media, ads, events, and fairs. Identifying which marketing tactics you want to use is just the beginning. Now you need to put a game plan together—a strategy.
- What are you going to post about on social media?
- What are all the steps required to putting on a recital
- How can you exceed people’s expectations at the recital?
How can you improve how your sales are conducted in terms of what’s happening on the phone and in email and text exchanges? Perhaps you implement sales training and sales role-playing with your office staff.
Accounting is a common category for small businesses to overlook. Set days of the week to check your bank account, create your budget plan, and examine your balance sheet and your P&L. Cash is the gas in your music school’s tank, so you need to always check how much fuel you have in your business. Having a system in place is essential.
Put a process together as to how you interview and hire an employee. How do you handle an employee who needs to be redirected, who needs to be disciplined? Is there a follow-up that you need to do with this employee? Get these all down in bullet points, but not too detailed yet with actually how everything’s implemented.
My music school had to focus a lot on product development. I was focused on streamlining the teaching as much as possible to the point where each lesson delivered by each teacher would touch on certain points. There were some consistencies from teacher to teacher; each of their unique styles was also celebrated. We had a lot of ongoing teacher training.
SIMPLIFYING THE PROCESS
Having a notepad where you can make a note of the situations that require processes mapped out is another helpful thing you can do throughout the day. Perhaps it’s an unusual situation—a situation that doesn’t have to happen on a regular basis but does happen from time to time. How do you handle a power outage or inclement weather at your music school? How do you shut your music school down if there’s a snowstorm? If you’re in a school long enough, eventually that’s going to happen. By identifying these six business functions, and creating subcategories for each one, you begin to create a very general outline of how your business can be run more efficiently.
SETTING YOUR BUSINESS ON THE RIGHT TRACK
By documenting how to implement each process, you begin to create an operations manual for your music school. An operations manual is key to building a business that can run without you. I encourage you to ask yourself this, “If you were to walk away from your music school for a month, what would happen? Could it run without you?” If the answer is yes, great! You’re off to a great start. Your music school has a set of instructions as to how it functions and operates. If it lives in your head, that’s a problem. Get it down on paper.