Why You Should Teach Just Guitar
I recently received an email from a teacher who said he taught a whole range of musical instruments and did not want to just teach guitar. This is a common trap where we feel more options means more students. The fact is the opposite is generally the case.
People prefer specialists
When you go to Japanese restaurant which one would you choose all things equal. ‘Kobe Authentic Japanese Restaurant’ or ‘Jung’s Asian Foods serving Japanese, Korean, Chinese’? Of course most people will choose the first option if what they want is Japanese food. Jung’s will still appeal to some people but not those who only want Japanese. There is also a perception (which is usually true) that the restaurant that specialises will have better food. This makes sense because the chef only has to focus on one type of meal.
Focus on being the best in your niche (not average in many niches)
It’s better to be the leader in one area of business/work/music/sport etc then being 2nd or 3rd or 4th etc in many areas. When we think about the first man to land on the moon or, the first US president or, the gold medalist at the Olympics their names come instantly to mind. The 2nd and 3rd not so easy. Winners win big and 2nd place is quickly forgotten.
More work and lower quality
The other big problem is the fact that you are doing a lot more work. By focusing on one instrument (guitar) you get to put all your time and energy into developing the best program and business around that niche. By focusing you succeed faster with less effort as it’s much easier to be the best. This is a hard lesson to learn because the temptation to do many things is great. General Electric under CEO Jack Welsh decided that they would only develop products where they were number 1 or 2. Apple when Steve Jobs returned went from having 300+ products to having less than 20. Henry Ford made one car and became one of the richest men in the world. Today car companies are trying to please everyone and most are in huge debt. They think more models means more sales when in fact sales are declining. Look at brands that make only a few models and they continue to thrive even in tough times.
Don’t confuse business with charity
Now you don’t have to stopped teaching lots of instruments if that’s what you enjoy. Just don’t do it as a business. I like reading books but I haven’t yet found anyone who will pay me to do it. We need to consider what works in business when developing our business plan. To keep both sides of you happy I generally recommend that you create two separate entities. One is your specialised business where you have stake holders (your family, your bills) who are depending on you to make a profit. The second is a charity where you teach people not-for-profit doing what feels good. The charity can only come once your business is making a good profit. This incentivises you to make the business work so you can then devote more time to your charity.
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