Episode #39: 7 Things I Wish I Knew Before We Started Our Lessons Business (Part 2) - Teacher Zone

Episode #39: 7 Things I Wish I Knew Before We Started Our Lessons Business (Part 2)

If you missed Part 1, then go back and listen! Otherwise, here are numbers 4, 5, 6, and 7 of the 7 things I wish I knew before we started our lessons business.

Enjoy!

Watch it Here

Listen Below

Or Scan the Show Notes Below

0:00:04.9 Tyler Marolf: Welcome to the next podcast episode of the Teacher Zone with Chris and Tyler. I’m Tyler Marolf and I’m here with Chris Bates, and we will be continuing our two-part series on the seven things we wish we did in the beginning of our lesson businesses. Chris, how are you doing today, man? 

0:00:22.0 Chris Bates: I’m doing good. We were on a roll, and then we realized that our last podcast would have been two hours, and we were like, “We’re not gonna torture you guys with that.” So hope you got some value out of the first one. Second one, we’re gonna jump right in on this one, and so it’ll be a… We can get through the four items.

So the next one is number four. So you might remember, just as a quick recap, Tyler, number one was basically automation, especially with your payments. Number two was, “I wish we would have reconciled make-ups better, sooner, systematically.” Number three is attendance, which equates to payroll, equates to the historical history of a student, all that. So one, two, three; automation, make-ups, and then of course, attendance. So number four, what is number four? We’re gonna jump right in, Tyler. Tell us about number four.

0:01:19.8 TM: Alright, well, number four is, “I wish I would have set written expectations in the beginning for both customers and staff.” That’s a big one. That’s a big one for us, but Chris and I…

0:01:33.4 CB: To me, that’s a biggie.

0:01:36.0 TM: Yeah, and we’re gonna get into that right now. And so there’s things in hindsight that… And that’s where many of you who’ve been listening, that the book Extreme Ownership came into my life, thanks to Chris, and I read. And that’s when, all of a sudden, I’m like, “Chris, clear and simple commander’s intent, our team doesn’t have it.” They know what my heart wants and what I’ve said, but things keep slipping through the cracks with my staff and expectations because it’s not written down. And so…

0:02:10.2 CB: Explain commander’s intent, and just in case someone hasn’t heard it before in our podcast.

0:02:15.7 TM: Okay, so we’re not psychic. On our best day, we feel maybe like we are like, “Ah, I knew what you were thinking,” and then we finish each other’s sentences. And you know what? That’s a great synergy, enjoy it. But that is not a prerequisite to run a business off of. And so I can’t be upset when an employee fails and failed in a way to where, okay, maybe I thought common sense, he should have been not doing whatever that thing was, but he did it. So the book… If I had given him clear and simple, simple commander’s intent of what I would like the vision to look like, and even better, it was written down, and even more, even better, better, he’s like, “Cool, that’s basic. I’ll sign that,” and there’s an employee agreement in place. Oh, my gosh! The book, Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink, helped me and Chris get to the point where we could get those, get that intent clear.

0:03:16.0 CB: You know, one of the things that you just brought to my mind is for those of you that are Covey fans, The Seven Habits, or… Oh! We’re doing seven wishes, though.

0:03:26.6 TM: Right.

0:03:27.0 CB: Seven Habits guy. And I remember from years ago, Tyler, he had a thing on this, where he talked about doing chores with his son. And he said, “Alright, son, your job,” and I forget how old he was, so we’ll call him 11, 12 or 10, even. “Your job is the front yard, right? I expect you to get the yard done.” So he said he waits all week, he wants to yell at him, but he’s not, he’s gonna let him own it. He doesn’t, he doesn’t, he doesn’t. Finally, Sunday comes along and he goes, “Son, you were supposed to do the yard and it still looks terrible. There’s leaves everywhere.” And then all of a sudden, his son starts crying, and he’s like, “What is your problem? What’s going on?” And he’s like, “I don’t even know where to start.” [chuckle]

0:04:07.0 TM: Right.

0:04:08.0 CB: So he goes out there and he dumbs it down. He said, “So here’s the deal. Every week, by whatever day, Wednesday, I want green. I want clean. That’s it. I want you to see green, I want it to look clean. Can you do that?” “Oh, yeah,” he said. The next thing you know, obviously, it became a habit and then became his chore. So by having clear commander’s intent, his son now knew what to do. Before, the intent was just, “Go do the yard,” which is too fluffy for someone that does know.

0:04:35.9 TM: Right, right. Great example, great example. So when we figured that out, the by-products are also the culture and synergy of the staff getting along with each other, or the owners, remember, ’cause we’re not there to make friends; we’re there to run a successful place where people can have amazing lives for their families, etcetera, etcetera, and for the customers and all that. So when there’s a little animosity, or it’s usually pent up anxiety based on expectations. So if I could go back in time and set some standards that made me smile, that were maybe three or four line items, I would have had my very, very first employees sign that and say, “Hey, man. Hey, Spencer Askin! What do you think of these? You and I are both teaching right now, it’s a new company, how about we sign these, and do we agree?” And it could have grown from there. And then you can always update as you grow.

0:05:43.1 CB: Right.

0:05:43.4 TM: That would have been amazing because now, my staff felt like they were a part of it because I always said, “Hey, guys, this school is us. It’s our minds together, it’s whatever.” But then, I’m always mad because they’re doing things different ’cause I didn’t make it clear. That’s not as fun. So that, I would have changed it right out the gates.

0:06:00.5 CB: So is that you… So let’s suggest that part. So we’ve had it, Tyler and I have had it happen about 100 times where there’s been some challenge day-to-day, that he and I started to get frustrated at our staff about, and then we had to go, “Yep, we never asked for that.” So they had to just assume.

0:06:15.5 TM: So it’s our fault. Extreme onus is at the top. We can’t be mad, and it gets easier and easier, by the way, ’cause it is frustrating at first, but it gets easier. Now, when I know it’s my fault, and it’s something that needs to be fixed and addressed, and then you go to that employee and say, “Hey, you know what, my bad. How would you think about this if we wrote this line item into the process? Do you think that would fix it with the parents from now on?” “Yeah, I think that would work.” “Awesome! Let’s do it, I’ll update it.” And I go… I don’t even get upset anymore, but at first, it was tough because it was a change, Chris. I had to get used to getting…

0:06:53.0 CB: Right. Well, what you think, it’s similar to a marriage or anything. It’s like what you think is the obvious, there’s so many different ways to look at things. Everybody’s busy, everybody’s on different thoughts. They’re not necessarily tracking at the same place that you’re wanting them to go. So you have to lead. And my friends in a business group I was in years ago, they all make fun of me still because about 10 years ago, I’m sitting in a meeting, and I had a big staff at the time, we had almost 40 on staff at the time, and I said, “I’m just not a fan of having to level up staff. I’m a fan of hiring talent from the get-go and getting rid of people that don’t get it.” And that was so naïve, is I was under this assumption… It was lazy, bottomline. I wasn’t owning my own stuff, and I was lazy to just want people to do the right thing. And we, as leaders, can’t be lazy. We have to be responsible, we have to own it by owning it.

[overlapping conversation]

0:07:58.6 TM: Well what’s funny, Chris, is you didn’t even know that that’s… Oh, sorry. You didn’t even know that that’s what it was at first, either, that’s the beauty of it.

0:08:05.2 CB: No, no.

0:08:05.7 TM: So your guys, them laughing at you about it, “Oh, that’s cute, Chris.” Still might not have like, “Hmm, why’d they think that’s cute?” And then maybe two months, three months later, the epiphany, and then the growth, and then, “Oh!” And then the learning, and then the book, and then… So guys, sometimes, we don’t even know we need to work on something. If you can’t identify it kind of like our chaotic culture, if you don’t think you’re in chaos, if you can’t identify it, then you’re kind of, in your mind, you’re not.

0:08:31.3 CB: Right, right. You can’t fix what you don’t own.

0:08:37.8 TM: Right.

0:08:37.9 CB: And the first step is saying, “Oh, wait a second, I’m avoiding creating a contract, creating expectations, creating rules, for what reason?” Well, several reasons. Number one, you have to follow through, and you have to own it, too. It’s like that anecdote in the Gandhi biography, there’s a great… If you haven’t read it, it’s interesting, but Gandhi basically trained himself to be Gandhi. He wasn’t… He’s obviously… He was an Indian attorney.

0:09:07.9 TM: Yeah, didn’t know that.

0:09:09.3 CB: Yeah. [chuckle] He studied in Britain, so I assume he had a British accent. So he’s an English attorney. But Gandhi, basically, had a mom come to him and say, “You know, I’ve said this before, but the sugar thing, you know, tell my son not to eat sugar.” And he said, “Great, come back in a week.” She comes back in a week and he goes, “Don’t eat sugar.” And she’s like, “That’s it? That’s it?” And he goes, “Well, a week ago, I ate sugar.” [chuckle] So he didn’t wanna tell someone to do something he wasn’t embodying.

0:09:39.0 TM: Right.

0:09:39.1 CB: And so we have to embody it first. So as we get through this, Tyler, number four, set written expectations into our contracts. Now, you can actually get your teachers to agree to contracts in TeacherZone for those of you that are using it. But either way, whether they’re just written in a Google Doc and you print them out and have them sign it, or DocuSign, or you have a system like TeacherZone, doesn’t matter. Bottomline is get your instructors to know what their… What are your expectations, rather, for their job.

0:10:06.4 TM: Right. And you might wanna have a fun workshop with your co-owner or your ops manager or whatever. Maybe you write the student and parent contract first because that’s a separate contract. That is an agreement between two parties that, “We’re gonna be successful together.” And if you don’t have one, it’s the same thing. Now, you can do both, you could be like, “Dude, I have this amazing dream of a dream team teacher team. Let’s write that first.” You could do that. But your mission, vision, values might be more parent-student-centric, so you might wanna say, “What’s the perfect world for them first?” And then write your teacher contracts.

0:10:43.9 CB: Good point.

0:10:44.9 TM: Yeah, you can do it either way. We did teachers last only out of pain. [chuckle] We had our other one written.

0:10:50.6 CB: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, which really… That motivates all the good things in the world, right? 

0:10:56.0 TM: Yes! 

0:10:58.0 CB: Humans will do whatever to avoid pain, but when pain has a future benefit, then… And so, reward yourself because we only change if we see some kind of reward in it. Reward yourself.

0:11:10.9 TM: Chris, tell us about the rewards that we have gotten since those contracts. So we’re in year 12 in our lesson business. Contracts went out about five, six years ago, and that’s right around when I read the book and you did, and what it… Describe how… Some of the by-products of putting those…

0:11:28.2 CB: So one of the things I’ve noticed is we happen to have employees, and I know some of you don’t. But however you outline your employee agreements, I notice on our meetings, we have monthly meetings, and on our meetings, we’re able to actually reference back certain line items in those contracts as we remind them on expectations. We’re also able to use it to protect our staff. So a lot of the wins are like, “Hey, mom, remember line 27 in this contract?” So I know Melissa will like email somebody and say, “Hey, by the way,” and then reference the contract to the student parents that, “remember we said that this is how we operate? This is a friendly reminder.”

0:12:11.7 TM: Friendly reminder.

0:12:14.2 CB: Right. Yeah, yeah. And you know what, no one’s ever pushed back on us because it’s like, “Hey, just so you know, we did… ” People, all the divorces… Nietzsche had a cool quote I used to know it was something like, “All disagreement comes from a lack of understanding.” Basically if you think about it…

0:12:35.7 TM: Or lack of communication.

0:12:37.9 CB: Yeah, it’s like, I’m seeing it one way, you’re seeing it another way, we’re both probably right, but because we’re seeing it so differently, we think the other one’s just wrong, and it’s like, no, the other one is not wrong from the way they’re looking at it, so by having it clear, you’re ensuring that you’re wearing the same glasses because it’s just not fair if you’re not and we actually… What’s funny is that we try to get people to adhere to our contracts as far as students and parents, even before they become a customer, it’s a way of really sort of locking in a…

0:13:10.6 TM: Well, our contract starts off with a paragraph about how exemplary our character is at our school, and how excited we are that they wanna be part of this way we are. So the first paragraph is like a, it’s a why, and then there’s what’s after it. So the contract is even the why, and now they are almost like them reading it, is them reciting it, the vow or something like it’s personal, and so that’s helped with the parents… The employee agreements have helped greatly, having everybody on the same page has been, it has caused 90% of strife to just disappear, 90%. It was very, very different before we did this because we were reactive to all sorts of unplanned work and personality issues because there were holes, there weren’t expectations to find. So if guys, you haven’t done that yet, that’s something we wish we did earlier.

0:14:05.8 CB: That’s creating a standard. And so by creating your standard, that’s helping you to slowly know who you’re serving better, so you’re able to actually give better service to the customers because you’re actually more clearly defining what you do and how you do it, it’s also helping you define your management style with your staff, because by coming up with the rules and things, you start to realize that. So great one, number four, we could talk on and we will again in the future forever, so what… Oh, number five is kind of a funny one. So a lot of learning businesses out there, we all… Let’s face it, we often teach how we learned, and so a lot of us learned with pen and paper and books, ’cause that’s all there was.

0:14:49.9 TM: Right.

0:14:50.3 CB: But kind of like IT’s sheet music, for instance, is that there’s lots of merits for music lesson companies, but if Mozart had had an iPhone, would he have really written…

0:15:03.2 TM: I don’t even know what would have happened.

0:15:05.0 CB: Would he have written everything down or would he have just recorded the parts and been like, “Here guys, learn this for Saturday”? Basically, what I’m getting at is that…

0:15:14.4 TM: That’s an interesting question. Would there even be…

0:15:19.4 CB: Yeah, yeah. So pen and paper is a technology, let’s face it, it really is, and it’s a great technology and it served us for many, many, many years. What we like on this one is we wish we would have gotten off pen and paper sooner is what this one is. And the reason we say that, is because the problem with pen and paper is scalability. This idea with the Cloud number one, is a special idea because it literally means that anyone that you give access to can access to whatever it is. We heard from so many of you when Covid hit that told us, “Oh my gosh, I am so grateful that I’m not gonna lose my business because I’m already Cloud-based for a lot of my systems,” and that just made us… We are so fortunate to be able to all band together that way, but that’s something Tyler, I know that a lot of people struggle with, is getting rid of the archaic technologies they’re using and upgrading to more modern technologies.

0:16:13.4 TM: Well, part of that is also a leadership thing too, so you’ve got this mixture of whether you’re teaching yoga, you’re teaching karate, you’re teaching music, you have… You might have multiple instructors for… Maybe you’ve got a couple of old school instructors that have a huge student count and are a big part of your revenue stream, and you like don’t wanna mess with it, so it causes people to be reluctant to… I mean, this is gonna happen. Those two amazing teachers are gonna die one day, and it’ll be 40 years from now, and whether your business is still going or not, some do by the way, we have people that have been in business 60-70 years in our teacher zone community, but the point is, it’s traveling, so the light bulb was created in the car, remember, and Chris, you showed me those pictures once where a year later, the same street was like one horse and buggy and cars, it happened over…

[overlapping conversation]

0:17:09.7 CB: I think it was 1918, if you wanna Google it, I believe it was… And if you… Peter Daemon talks about this, but if you…

0:17:18.3 TM: It took a second, took a little while, social proof, they were expensive, there wasn’t enough yet, there are factories that everything had to come into place, but then it hockey sticked.

0:17:29.0 CB: And one of the biggest thing was horse manure, everybody was so just sick of it, that they all changed over to cars as quick as they could because of that, they wanted to…

0:17:37.0 TM: They don’t have to scoop it anymore.

0:17:38.3 CB: Right. It was stinky and flies, they wanted it out of the street.

0:17:42.1 TM: Right.

0:17:42.4 CB: So it was a big motivation. So with this stuff, a big motivation should be wanting to get the parents involved, wanting… So the upper level of management, staff and admins can know actually what a teacher’s assigning and what students were actually accessing, giving students more multimedia content that actually engages them further and makes them wanna stay longer.

0:18:01.5 TM: Access to notes in an area that everyone has… Admins and teachers can now, if a teacher, God forbid, he goes in the hospital for an appendectomy or something and is out, there’s notes, there is recent practices, it’s not written down, it’s not stuck on their laptop somewhere, it’s in the Cloud, so the administrators aren’t lost for a week with 40 students.

0:18:29.0 CB: Yeah, you could tell when someone doesn’t have a cloud-based system, we’ve all experienced it, similar to… Doctor’s offices have gotten much, much, much better because of privacy and stuff, but having to keep re-filling stuff out is just silly, everybody has your info already. Or, you know when you make that call to a customer service and they’re doing that fake typing…

[vocalization]

0:18:53.7 CB: And then you’re like, “Come on, you’re not really typing that much, seriously, what are you doing?”

[laughter]

0:18:58.5 CB: And then they don’t have the notes from the last call, and you’re like, “You guys are in the same system, are you not cloud-based? How is it that you… “

0:19:04.9 TM: Yeah. One time… Chris, I told them one time, I’m like… The previous call before they transferred me, Chase Bank probably, and I said, “Cool, can you put this in the notes?” “Sure.” “Alright, I want it to say this.” And then I got to the next guy, I’m like, “Hey, can you do me a favor and pull up the notes?” “Oh, sir, I don’t have those notes.” And I’m like, “Wait, am I still talking to Chase? I just told her to put… “

[overlapping conversation]

0:19:31.6 CB: “Are you passing stickies?” Yeah. “Are you passing sticky notes? Is that how we’re getting… ” [chuckle]

0:19:39.4 TM: Anyway, you guys get the drift, you guys get the picture.

0:19:43.3 CB: Get out of pen and paper as much as possible. Now, I still use pen and paper for simple mindmap, note-taking type stuff, and then I transfer it to cloud-based. For instance, I actually did that the other day, I did a new org chart… Which is another episode we can do. I did an org chart for us the other day, Tyler, and I did it on a piece of paper first, and then I went to the cloud…

0:20:05.4 TM: My brain for that type of stuff, it works great, but I have started to use my notes more. Or for intake of anything, like if I need to write down something and let’s say you got off a call and you wanted to get me to paraphrase something, I’m now where normally I’d get my notebook, I’m now like, “Okay, I can type almost as fast. I just need… “

[overlapping conversation]

0:20:25.7 CB: And you can share with everybody. Yeah, you can copy and paste all of it.

0:20:27.6 TM: Yeah. And so now I pop a drive up, it takes no time, it’s just something I used to not do, my note… Look, look, Chris, it’s still here. I always have one. You never know, but I don’t need to use it most of the time.

0:20:42.9 CB: So is mine. [laughter] But you’re right. I mainly do it for ease and speed, but the reality is, is that we’re running a business, and so in a business as much as you cannot be on paper, we would highly advise that because it’s going to really help you.

0:20:54.6 TM: Right, especially if it’s things you’re repeating anyway, if you can systematize anything at all and take steps away and then make it normal, then it’s easy. No big deal. What’s number eight? Or excuse me.

[overlapping conversation]

0:21:05.9 CB: That’s the rule of thumb… Yeah, that’s the rule of thumb for systems, anything that you repeat, put it into a system. So, yeah, number six…

0:21:14.9 TM: We’re almost there, guys.

0:21:16.1 CB: Oh, I got it. I wish I had prioritized the need for engagement, safety, communication, it’s that need for consistency. And I was thinking about this…

0:21:26.9 TM: Transparency.

0:21:29.0 CB: Transparency. Tyler, I was thinking about this. And if you guys think about what makes great businesses, it’s trust. And if you want your customers to trust you more, then I highly advise you have a consistent communication strategy, like we talked about, our no-show alert. Right, the Amber Alert where if a student no-shows it goes to the family, stuff like that. Getting consistent reminders for a class, or a lesson.

0:21:57.9 TM: Right.

0:22:00.4 CB: Just your consistency in communication rather than the modern world that’s like, “We communicate… ” You and I got that going on with different teams, but we’ve got Slacks going on and we’ve got Basecamps going on, and [chuckle] we’ve got WhatsApps going on, you’ve got emails going on, and then you got DMs in social media going on, and people are all over the place by not having a centralized communication system, you’re doing your customers and staff a disservice because everybody feels frenetic. So, number six is really focus on getting a centralized communication, focus on engagement, and that, because it all does matter. And then lastly, I think you may have put the word in there ’cause it’s so important to us, but Tyler especially, safety’s been a big one for you.

0:22:50.8 TM: Yeah. Safety. You do not want your teachers texting privately to minors ever. If your school works with minors at all, doesn’t mean you’ve got bad teachers. Please do not be insulted. We were surprised a long time ago, he was a great guy, and something happened off-site, he got arrested.

0:23:14.4 CB: And we have a podcast episode the worst day.

0:23:15.6 TM: Luckily everybody survived and is okay. Yeah, there’s a podcast on security, so you can go back and find that one. Point being is if you set the standards of communication that everyone gets used to, maybe even enjoys, such as group chats and camaraderie and all of that, so there’s a lot of good. Or a snow day, boom, “Oh my gosh, we just got the snow alert, the schools are cancelled, I need a quick way to have all 400 students to know at once we will not be here, ’cause the snowplows are gonna snow us in, and blah, blah, blah.” You hit a button, it’s done, everybody gets it, you can still send an email out from your email service if you want as well, just to double-check, but that’s there. But being able to send a note safely to an adolescent and have the parents know that you care about that, there’s a precedent being set, because here’s the alternative, you don’t have a system about it, you did not care about it. Direct messages on Instagram from teachers to a student is sort of okay or something. Now, if they’re renting an office, I’ll quasi say, “I guess you couldn’t really do anything, they’re renting an office, but they’re still doing it on your property.”

0:24:24.8 CB: And you can still dictate how you want them to operate. Absolutely.

0:24:29.7 TM: How much do you want your families and your staff to know that you care? 

0:24:35.5 CB: That’s really what it comes down to…

0:24:35.9 TM: That’s a question for yourself.

0:24:37.4 CB: And I’m gonna say something that I don’t think, a lot of small businesses owners don’t think about, but because I’ve owned larger businesses in the past, I have been in lawsuits, luckily, they were always instigated by my team, not the other way around. But I have been in three lawsuits, and every time the judges were so on our side, because we just had such incredible internal cloud-based communication, and we could literally show all of our communication, all of it. In fact, in one circumstance, the lawsuit was against a company in North Carolina, they were claiming jurisdiction ’cause we’re in California, and the judge actually laughed and he wrote this hilarious thing saying, “Well, I saw the,” whatever it was, “127 emails that you sent them, clearly you didn’t care about jurisdiction then.” [laughter]

0:25:34.8 TM: Right, right. Right. Ding dong.

0:25:39.9 CB: So, communication will help you in more ways than we can articulate in this short podcast. Let’s get to number seven, Tyler, the big seven. What is it? 

0:25:52.0 TM: I wish we had worked to create a tribe and community from the start. So, I’m gonna just be honest, we threw that in there ’cause it’s freaking important. When Chris and I, when our school… The inception of our school was based on tribe, [laughter] that’s just the way Los Rios started, but we’ve talked to so many people around the world that it was like a breath of fresh air when we described how we just started with this tribe and group and creating things together, and a student body creating stuff instead of linearly one student just designing their linear lesson on their own and that’s it, and not meeting the other kids, etcetera, etcetera.

So, this is really important, we just didn’t wanna not bring it up. We were lucky enough, I’m gonna just say it, to have started a tribe from student number one, because I’m just built that way. And so is Chris. So I had to say it, Chris, we said… I wish we had worked but in a tribe community from the start.

[overlapping conversation]

0:27:01.7 CB: How did that… Okay.

0:27:02.9 TM: We did. [chuckle]

0:27:03.9 CB: Right. But the reason we did is because humans value connection, and we are tribal creatures by nature, we feel more safe, we feel more connected, we don’t want to give up something that we feel a connection to, and…

0:27:21.8 TM: We want so much more of it. We miss them. We are looking forward, the light of a… Part of the light of our week is seeing… Not only just working on music with Chris, or one of his teachers, but it’s to see those other people as well that are part of our lives, and then it grows and you get more excited in a different way, the next month, the next month. I remember by the third year of Los Rios, when I… Third year, I think, three and a half, four years, when there was a pool party for one of the groups, and I wasn’t invited. One of our ensembles…

[overlapping conversation]

0:28:00.6 CB: You were hurt… Yeah. You were hurt ’cause it was connecting to the tribe.

0:28:02.5 TM: I was like, “Dude… ” I was like… I do those. They became their own tribe, they didn’t even need me anymore, they had their group leader, they had been playing together for a couple of years, mom’s like, “You should have your kid… ” Whatever, it’s not rocket science.

0:28:17.7 CB: It was actually… Yeah. It was a sign of maturity in the business. And so, I would almost throw this one in reverse too, either maybe you were too business-minded when you started, but I think for a lot of us in a lesson business, probably your kindred spirits in that you started with the tribe initially. However, if we reverse this, instead of the other six items where we’re saying, “I wish I would have,” with this one we can almost say, “I need to maintain awareness of this because it is one of the most behavioral driving aspects of what we do, the more community you create, the more culture, the more of a tribe,” the longer people will stay, engagement increases, the more friends they’re gonna refer, the deeper they’re going to learn, and then of course, the healthier the business is, which then means your staff stays longer, which means they get pay raises, which means you’re more profitable and you can enjoy a greater lifestyle. So number seven really speaks to the fact of creating a cohesion in your community, even if you started that way, like Tyler said, maybe you’re not there anymore, and you’re like, “Wow, I’ve kind of drifted, I’m just basically running a business now.” Get back to that too, the business stuff should be under the hood and hidden, the tribe stuff should be screamed to the world, lock arms…

[overlapping conversation]

0:29:36.6 TM: And remember, guys, our ebook teacherzone.com/chaos, there’s a whole episode that we get into this ’cause it’s chaos to culture, the five steps on what you go through to get there, so go have fun, and we talk about that and you’ll hear us, we’re gonna talk about culture in a business, probably a lot. So every now and then you’ll hear a different rehash of it, because someone’s done something cool or new that has either impressed us, and maybe we’ll have some guests on soon and talk about their culture and how they grew it. But if you’re sitting there wondering, “What in the world would… I thought I had a culture. Or can I make mine better?” You know what, listen to the podcasts, reach out, join our Teacher Zone group on Facebook, it’s called The Teacher Zone, ask questions, find out, reach out. Don’t just be an island on your own if you think that there’s more, because people have done it, probably, and if you have questions, write in to us. What is it? [email protected]? It goes to Chris and I.

0:30:43.4 TM: Seriously, the culture side, if you’re sitting there thinking there’s more, there probably is. And if you’re reluctant or there’s creative writers block on how to get that next thing, that group environment, you can start as basic as getting an electronic drum kit in the morning, in the corner, if you’re a guitar school only, this is just an example, I’ve seen it done. And you get an electronic drum kit, put it in there, invite the kids over in groups and have pizza, and you sit on the drums and they try out their guitar parts, and they all take turns, like they’re at the skate park, dropping into a pool. They’re all waiting in line. You can’t all skate in a pool at once, right? Well, three guitar players can play at once, all of a sudden the parents are like, “Brilliant, Bobby just met Johnny.” It is so easy, it’s not funny, and it’s based around… That particular one is based around the most powerful language on Earth, which is music, but if there’s jujitsu options, there’s yoga options. I know yoga groups, Chris, that they have barbecues, and…

[overlapping conversation]

0:31:43.0 CB: Yeah, pizza night…

[overlapping conversation]

0:31:43.9 TM: [0:31:43.9] ____ and it’s not even yoga.

0:31:46.9 CB: Yeah, we’ve done those too, we all probably have at some point, but keeping that going, like the movie nights, the pizza nights, the parents night-outs. I know a lot of gymnastics do parents night-outs. So like that, it’s a great thing to do ’cause you’re keeping your… You’re making a cohesion…

0:32:00.5 TM: Oh, the parents night-out where, you drop them off at the facility, and they get to play and do great stuff for 90 minutes or two hours, and mom and dad gets to go eat, it’s a win-win, and it usually only costs you maybe two employees worth of work, and you’ve added so much value. And it didn’t cost you much, and…

0:32:23.9 CB: And the kids would much rather be at your facility than they would be at home with some old grandma babysitter they don’t like. So… [laughter]

0:32:32.6 TM: Yeah. “Get them off my [0:32:34.9] ____”

0:32:37.1 CB: Yeah. Oh gosh. Yeah, that’s probably even the worst thing, at their home…

0:32:40.9 TM: That’s a whole different topic we can talk about.

0:32:42.8 CB: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Oh my gosh.

0:32:44.9 TM: And we get some of their digital footprint per week to be with your lesson business content. That we should do a whole topic on that, like can we take them… Can we just get 20 minutes a night to be digitally involved with their lessons and then your lesson business, when they’re not with you, since that’s all they’re [0:33:05.4] ____ to get your device.

0:33:05.6 CB: Great future topic. Great future topic, because attention is everything, and for the learning businesses that we’re all in, if you want people to learn that skill, talent, trade, knowledge, you have to get their attention, and so, great topic. Alright. Well, there’s the seven things. Thank you so much, Mr. Tyler…

0:33:24.2 TM: Yeah, thank you, Chris.

0:33:24.3 CB: And thank you all for listening.

0:33:26.5 TM: So there were your seven items. We will see you next episode. Remember teacherzone.com/chaos is our free ebook, jump in and catch up on those episodes in the podcast as well, and reach out to us. If you want a demo of what we’re talking about, the software is just a conduit to the community. So again, thanks for joining us on the Teacher Zone with Chris and Tyler. Sayonara.

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on reddit

7 Things I Wish I Knew Before We Started Our Lessons Business

Our pain can be your gain! Here are 7 things we wish we could go back and do differently in running our business.