Wednesday, September 10, 2014
NAME: Bryan Daley
JOB TITLE, COMPANY, CITY IT IS BASED IN: Owner, Easthampton Music Conservatory, 12 Greenwood Court, Easthampton
AGE: Over 35
WHEN THE BUSINESS STARTED: 2009
HOW MANY ON YOUR STAFF: My wife, Taryn, and I are full time, and there are various part-time music instructors as well.
WHAT YOU DO: Aside from teaching drums, piano, voice, guitar and other stringed instruments, we give our students a fun learning experience.
EXPERIENCE: More than 35 years. I took drum lessons from a young age, studied with numerous teachers and continued into my late 20s. Knowing various styles and honing my craft was very important to me. Taryn is classically trained in piano and has been performing and teaching for about 20 years. She splits her time between voice and piano. In addition, Taryn and I are in a band together called Hot Messs (believe it or not, the three s’s are correct) with one of Taryn’s former students. We perform locally, and in Vermont as well.
THE MARKET: We teach old and young, beginners and advanced students. Depending on the students prior learning, we may continue with that method or alter it. Each student is unique and deserves to have a customized learning environment. We teach classical to jazz, rock and sacred.
HOW YOU REACH OUT TO IT: We are almost exclusively word-of mouth. We will be holding a performance in the fall — starring our students — at The Rapids Restaurant in Huntington. This is always a thrill for the students and their parents. It also helps motivate our students to learn their piece.
WHAT FINANCING HURDLES HAVE YOU FACED AND HOW HAVE YOU HANDLED THEM? We started on a shoestring. We made our signs ourselves, and they are still prominently displayed. We offer free lessons to anyone who brings us a new student. Our profits go right back into the business. We have doubled our revenue for three years in a row and continue to grow.
KEY TO SUCCESS: Music is a combination of knowledge and physically understanding the instrument. Customizing lessons based on each student’s aptitude is critical. Making the student as comfortable as possible — while showing them how fun it is to play music — keeps them improving. Giving our customers spacious, comfortable rooms to practice in helps immensely.
CHALLENGES: Getting the word out. Trying to accommodate the various learning styles of students can be very challenging, but that is what we are here for! Often our students bring us new music, and we learn it along with them.
MISSTEP YOU LEARNED FROM: Once I booked a student without realizing my wife had booked the slot earlier that morning. A phone call resolved the issue. Now, we have a board where we keep track of our schedules.
WHAT OTHERS COULD LEARN FROM YOU: Business isn’t about you. It is about others, always. When you give your customers what they want, your business growth follows organically.
WHO HELPED MENTOR YOU PROFESSIONALLY: My father owned his own business for over 40 years. Owning my own business didn’t seem like a foreign concept. My wife is my mentor, as well as partner. We are a team, and we like it that way!
TOP GOALS FOR 2014: The main goals are to get more drum students into our Drummer’s Dungeon for lessons, and increasing our exposure. If all goes well, we may add another music room, as our demand keeps increasing.
ADVICE FOR OTHERS SEEKING BUSINESS SUCCESS: It isn’t work when you love what you do. Loving what you do makes you better, and as you get better, you get more work!
PARTING THOUGHT: Music is both physical and cognitive. Sometimes improvement happens quickly, sometimes it takes time. When you discover integration, it often creates a slow curling smile across your face: You just got better without touching your instrument! All music is viable.
Listen to everything.
The B2B ID is compiled by Janice Beetle of Beetle Press in Easthampton, a PR and communications firm. www.beetlepress.com. To suggest a subject for B2B ID, email Beetle at email@example.com.