For all the latest news and information from ThinkSmart Software.
For all the latest news and information from ThinkSmart Software.
All over the world, businesses have been forced to modify or suspend operations due to COVID-19. Sadly, the worldwide pandemic is still growing, and people are adjusting to this temporary ‘new normal’ of social distancing, wearing masks, and doing most things online.
Businesses offering personalised instruction (e.g. dance, music, or sports) are also transforming in response to COVID-19. The very nature of the industry means that they must interact with people and provide valuable lessons. As such, many owners are now wondering how to cope with the COVID-19 restrictions and be productive corporate citizens promoting positive health.
If you own a personalised instruction studio in a region with COVID-19 restrictions (most of the world right now), below is a guide to help preserve and nurture your business during these unprecedented times.
Potential Government Assistance
The first step all businesses should take is to review government assistance options. Most governments around the world are offering some form of assistance for businesses that need to close down due to the pandemic. The Australian government has an extensive list of programs designed to help small businesses, including loans, grants, and other subsidies. Similarly, the UK also has many programs that are of benefit to small companies, including income tax deferrals, loans, and grants.
Look through your government's respective assistance programmes to see if there is one that works for you. Alternatively, you can also ask your accountant or tax professional about the plans. In most cases, businesses find that there is some financial assistance that can help them stay afloat until things return to normal.
At first it might appear strange to teach a skill like dance online, but it is most definitely possible! Similarly, many instructors are now teaching music, subject tutoring, sports, gymnastics, etc. online.
You may think that instructing something physical, like gymnastics, would be difficult to transition to an online format. However, many instructors find it a little easier than they thought it would be. Remember, these lockdowns will not last forever, so now is the time to teach any theory, ideas or abstract concepts to students. You can also demonstrate your regular lessons, assuming everyone has enough room in their home and some of the equipment necessary.
For example, you can use this time to teach students how to practice at home. With skills like gymnastics or dance, typically, the teacher will provide some practice to do at home. However, usually you have no idea what they do at home or even if what they're doing is right. Now's the time that you can teach and even monitor that. What exercises/moves can students try to keep themselves flexible and ready to perform? What material can they read to keep their minds sharp and focused? The ability to practise correctly at home is a valuable skill to teach. Try compiling an instructional video for the students to download and view. This can be updated and added to on a regular basis and will provide the students with something other than their home schooling to focus on. Once students have completed their schoolwork, they can quickly become bored at home. Providing something different, and which they are already interested in, will help alleviate any boredom.
For the foreseeable future, teachers/coaches offering instructional content will have to do so online. Look at what you teach and how you can keep students engaged and active, even if you are all in different places!
Keep Marketing: You Can Attract New Clients from Home
Customer discounts will be a useful tool in retaining students and attracting new ones. COVID-19 presents a unique situation from which you can encourage people, who would never ordinarily sign up for your services, to try them. And you can offer these services at a potentially better price than usual, since you might have government assistance or reduced overheads. You could combine these two factors to create packages to market to others who are curious about your services and who are also staying at home.
For example, suppose you have an instructor, Jim, who teaches guitar. His studio has been closed due to COVID-19. Like many others, he is receiving some COVID-19 financial assistance and looking for online customers to keep his studio afloat.
Bob has always wanted to learn to play the guitar. But each lesson costs $50, and Bob has to drive somewhere to learn. Bob is busy, usually with work and doesn't have time for those lessons. However, Bob's company furloughed him recently, and he's staring at his old guitar, wondering if he should learn to play it during this time.
Suppose Jim runs a promotion – ‘buy one get one free’, online only. Instead of paying $50 for one lesson, Bob can get them for $25 each. The promotion is only valid while people are at home due to COVID-19. Bob sees the promo and decides that now might be a fantastic time to learn guitar with Jim!
Studios across all industries have a unique opportunity to attract people who might not physically go somewhere and commit to several lessons but are interested to learn online. If they have an enjoyable experience, there's a decent chance that they will continue with the lessons after the pandemic subsides.
You might be at home, but that doesn't mean you have to stop finding new clients!
Be A Leader and Role Model
You can be a leader and role model in your space by using social media to encourage others to practice social distancing, and proper hygiene to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The pandemic also presents your business with a unique opportunity to earn respect and admiration within the community as a good "corporate" citizen. Not only does it feel good to contribute to saving lives and stopping the spread of this deadly virus, but it also gives your business goodwill and positive press, which helps translate to additional sales. It also demonstrates that you are still trading.
COVID-19 Doesn't Have to Stop Your Business
Ultimately, you don't have to shut down due to COVID-19. With some creativity, persistence, and marketing, your business can help people feel more connected and better about themselves. This pandemic will present your brand, studio and personnel with unique opportunities to attract new clients, improve overall efficiency (like handling all schedules and billing online), and become role models within the community.
The best part is that you can keep your business thriving while maintaining social distancing by staying home and saving lives!