Why Some Music Schools Grow and Others Don’t | Ep 148

Struggling to Grow Your Music Studio?

Why is it that some music schools grow up to 300, 400 even 500 students and beyond? Other business owners struggle to grow their music studio past 100 or 200 students.  Last week on the show, I spoke with music school owner, Eric Bourassa, who has an enrollment ceiling that he’s trying to break through over a hundred students. I had an enrollment ceiling of 250 students that couldn’t breakthrough, but todays’ guests Maury and Raquel Kelly of Franklin Brentwood Arts Academy, have around 340, 350 students in their music school. What’s the difference? How are they able to achieve such great results? Perhaps some of it is their market. Perhaps, they live in a more densely populated area with younger children. My hunch is that there’s something else going on there that I think is worth exploring.


Embrace Your Entrepreneurial Self

Why are they able to run such a successful music school? First of all, I want to point out Raquel and Maury are a married couple. The fact that they’re able to run a business together, I think is a testament to both their marriage and their professional relationship because running a business together can certainly be taxing on a relationship. I think the key to their success begins with their mindset. They have both fully embraced their entrepreneurial identities. They’re able to separate in their minds, their artistic identity, and their entrepreneurial identity, and being able to separate those identities, I think is crucial because it’s easy for your artistic identity to create tension within your entrepreneurial efforts. It’s easy for your artistic vision to get in the way of the needs of your business.


Become a Student of Business Growth

For your business to thrive, you need to be able to retain students for longer and you need to be able to attract students. Your retention improves as your internal marketing and your internal business systems improve. Your marketing improves when you become committed to being a student of marketing and committed to implementing marketing strategies into your music school. Marketing and business concepts are just as complex and fascinating as music is.

I’m passionate about music but I’ve learned firsthand, the more I’m committed to learning about marketing and business strategies, the more my business grows and the more I learn about it, the more fascinated I become in it because I’m getting results. I think the secret to Maury and Raquel’s success is that they hold each other accountable. I think that’s one of the tough things about being the owner of your business, there’s no one there holding you accountable. Your employees certainly aren’t.


The Value of Accountability

Since Maury and Raquel both own the business, since their business partners and life partners when one of them comes up with an idea and says, ‘I’m going to implement this, the other one holds them accountable. They force each other to think out loud. Raquel can turn to Maury and say, we’ve got a problem, we need more students. What should we do?’ And then more, we can think out loud and begin to formulate a strategy. Being held accountable is huge. That’s what I think is so tough about running and owning a business. One way that you can create that accountability for yourself and in your professional life, is to have a business coach. Someone you meet with once a month. I work with Maury and Raquel as their coach. I was doing a lot of coaching during COVID and I’ve cut back on them.


They’re the only music school that I’m working with right now. I know there are other people out there. I know Danny Thompson does coaching, Shane Nicholas, I believe does coaching. Even if you reach out to a business coach who is outside of our industry, it’s fine. All businesses are made of the same parts, the same components, the same engineering is involved in all businesses. The only different thing is the unique products that each business sells.


Why You Need a Mentor

If you’re struggling to grow your business, I encourage you to either seek out a business coach or a mentor, somebody who’s going to hold you accountable. Someone that you can think out loud with, someone who can say, “what seems to be the problem and what are you doing about it?”. Then someone who can hold you accountable to a timeframe and a deadline that you’ve established for yourself. It’s lonely at the top. I get it. You’re the only one in your business that’s feeling your pain and your struggles.


When you can’t make payroll, that’s a private matter. Unless you have a business partner, you’re not sharing that pain. You’re not coming up with solutions together. Having a mentor or coach can allow you to simply think out loud. It allows you to put all of your thoughts and concerns out into the air. You’ll find yourself solving your own problems by simply verbalizing what’s stuck in your head. I do believe that’s one of the secret components of Maury and Raquel’s success.


Today’s Sponsor

Today’s show is brought to you by Kidzrock. A group class that teaches kids ages 4-7 how to plan an instrument in a performing rock band.


Featured Music School

Thank you to Stefano Ashbridge, owner of Drum Lessons in LA on his recent review of the podcast in Itunes.

Dave’s always delivered some amazingly useful business advice, not only for music schools but useful for business in general. I look forward to every episode.”

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