by Kristin Yost

Studies of business success over time have shown that companies that emphasizegoals in addition to making money succeed better and survive longer than companieswhose sole motivation is monetary.

Rhonda Abrams, The Successful Business Plan; Secrets & Strategies

by jjpacres

As a seasoned piano teacher, you probably haven’t thought to write up a business plan. You might be saying to yourself, “Why do I need a business plan?  That’s for big companies.” What we often forget is that we ARE a company. We may not be a large corporation, but we are certainly a small business. You are also a brand, and you should have a plan! While a lot of business plans are for other people to secure funding, your plan (most likely) is for you to articulate your philosophy and mission, see how your expenses line up with your income, and if anything needs to be changed, come up with a solution to make the changes. During the construction of this in-depth analysis of your current studio, it will provide you a benefit because it allows you to stay competitive in your market. Knowing which direction you are heading gives you much more control on your future retirement. You plan and plan and plan for your students; now take some time to plan for yourself.

Anyone who is teaching and providing an important part of a family’s (if not sole) income should have a financial plan, not just a family budget. The plan itself does not have to be 75 pages, but rather between 15 and 20. You first need to assess the goals and purpose of your company. Yes you love teaching, but what is your philosophy that you embrace to reach your goals. What are your financial goals? How much are you actually spending on studio expenses? You know how much you deposited last month (or year), but what did you set aside for retirement and savings? This whole process will help to allow you to potentially make more money!

A truly complete outline of a business plan will be composed of the following:  

I. Executive Summary

II. Company Description
A. Name
B. Mission/Objectives etc….

III. Industry Analysis and Trends
A. Size of industry
B. Industry Maturity
C. Seasonal Factors etc….

IV. Target Market
A. Demographics! (I love these reports)
B. Purchasing Patterns
C. Disposable Income etc….

V. The Competition
A. Are there music schools nearby?
B. Is your city saturated with independent teachers?
C. How are you different?
D. How will you remain valuable

VI. Marketing Plan
A. Your Message
B. Strategy to brand yourself
C. Strategic Partnershipsetc…

VII. Development
A. Long-Term goals
B. Growth Strategy (or maintenance strategy)
C. Milestones

VIII. The Financials
A. Income Statements
B. Cash-Flow Projections
C. Balance Sheet etc…

None of this is rocket science, but it does force you to get organized and articulate who you are, what you do and lets you see where you are financially. It can also lead you to where you want to go.


For more details on building a business plan for your piano studio, come to Kristin Yost’s workshop at the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy called, “Got Money? How to Write a Business Plan that Gets You Thousands!”

Kristin Yost is an active performer, author, teacher, and lecturer.  Kristin is widely known for her conference presentations on business issues including “How I Made $100,000 My First Year Teaching Piano.” Kristin is the founder of Centre for Musical Minds in Frisco Texas and will be launching the Piano Teacher School (covering especially business issues related to teaching) in the summer of 2011.  Visit her other articles in the Dollars and Sense category on the blog.