How to Grow Your Business
By: Rotoya Williams Goodwin,Owner of Pee Wee Piano School of the Arts
It’s hard to believe that I have been in business for 10 years now! Even though, it has been ten years I cannot help but to remember a few key principles that I practiced over the years. These principles have not only helped me to maintain a successful business but also aided in my business’ growth.
I started my business in the second semester of my freshman year at Howard University. My father gave me the suggestion to start a business providing piano lessons for children. In fact, he actually named my business Pee Wee Piano. After receiving the advice to begin the business and actually deciding to go ahead with it, I quickly realized that “I was on my own and without business knowledge”. Thankfully, I did not let my inexperience intimidate me. By God’s grace I started on a new journey that we call entrepreneurship.
Applying these principles has helped Pee Wee Piano to grow from solely providing piano lessons to becoming a school of the arts. We started with ZERO clientele and now have grown to maintain over 150 students in our school. Pee Wee Piano offers multiple programs including, Private Music Instruction for Piano, Drums, Guitar, and Voice. In addition, we provide an After School Program, and Summer Camp for students throughout Prince George’s County.
This blog is not a blueprint for business growth, but it is a resource of 5 principles I have learned and practiced over the years.
1.) Set realistic goals and make a plan to accomplish the goal: When starting a business you will have an initial vision for your company. Often times the vision can be so expansive, that it may be overwhelming to even begin to figure out how to achieve your dream. Instead of setting goals that you know are unrealistic and completely out of reach take time to set more realistic goals. It is recommended to set short term goals that will over time get you to your desired vision. I have found out that short-term goals are easier to accomplish and therefore, helped my business to grow. When you set a goal, make sure that you have a plan to accomplish the goal. Also don’t forget to set deadlines for yourself and stick to them!!! Goal-by-Goal you will get closer to your vision!!
2.) Building rapport, People buy from people they know, like and trust:
This is one of my number one business principles! If you can get a handle on this key, you will undoubtedly see growth in your business. As a new inexperienced business owner, I did not have much skill. Therefore, I relied heavily on my ability to build rapport with potential and current clients. Often times, my clients would verbally tell me they were enrolling in our programs because they “liked me.” There is so much power in building rapport with people and trust me, it goes a long way. Remember people will conduct business with people they know, like and trust.
Here are four simple ways to build rapport:
1. Be approachable. In person, carry yourself in such a way that is easy-going, friendly, and confident.
2. Ask good questions. People love to talk about themselves. Asking questions and paying attention to the answers helps you learn more about the other person and shows that you have a genuine interest in them. The key is in your follow-up. This is how they’ll know you are truly catching their details.
3. Stay upbeat. No one likes to be around a complaining, negative victim. It’s awfully difficult to connect and engage with people who are leaking poison. Be known for your positive attitude and willingness to help others (yes, even strangers). Remember, easy-going and approachable.
3. Use their name. In person, the sweetest sound to anyone is the sound of his or her own name. Take the time to remember your client’s names. It shows that you have taken the time out to learn about them. It also makes the client feel safe and gives the impression that you know them.
4. Understand that you can still have rapport with someone even though you disagree. If you don’t see eye-to-eye, you can be respectful and appreciate differing opinions. Communication and relationshipsare based on compromise.
3.) Consistency is Key: Very little in business works after doing it the first time. Being successful in business relies on being consistent. If you desire to grow your business you must be determined to “Keep at it!” Often times, people quit business because they do not see the desired results after one outburst of marketing, or even a few months of business. As a business owner, you must have a plan and stick to it. Be ready to repeat your plan again and again until you see results. You should plan to succeed, but do not fear failure. If you fail at something, or something doesn’t go as planned use that failure as an opportunity to readjust. There have been times when I had to readjust my business plans due to a few “bumps in the road”. Remember to be successful in business you must be determined to reach your goals! It will take consistency, tenacity, endurance, and a lot of patience.
4.) Include God In Your Business Plans: Now everyone may not agree with this one, but it is top on my list. I am confident, that my business’ success has resulted from my determination to include God in on my business endeavors. It is important to take your business goals to God in prayer and to speak words of faith concerning your business. For example, I have a goal to have 150 students in my summer program this year. Instead of just going ahead and exerting all of my natural efforts to get the students in the program, I present my enrollment desire to God in prayer first! After which, I move forward with my business efforts. Now I have God’s favor and anointing working with and for me. Let me stop for a moment and say that you do not want to try to go into business without God, especially not in these times. Remember, “With God all things are possible!” (Matthew 19:26) Before I make significant changes in my business in regards to services, location, etc. I seek God’s counsel.
5. Giving and Receiving: If you desire to grow your business, always make room in your budget for giving. The bible says, “Whatever you sow, you shall reap…if you sow sparingly, you shall reap sparingly.” (Galatians 6:7-9) Look for ways to give away your services to those that are in need and watch God bless you! At Pee Wee Piano, I offer a community discount to families that are not able to pay the normal tuition fee. In some instances, I will even offer scholarships for the entire year. It is so important to incorporate giving into your business. Any service that you give away with no cost is not a “waste”, but a “seed.” I have seen how these seeds grow over time and multiply.
Thank you for taking the time out to read this blog! I pray that your business will grow exponentially as you begin to put these principles into practice.
To find out more about my business, Pee Wee Piano go to www.peeweepiano.com.
With Love and Blessings,