Sonya Murphy-Lyons is the owner of the award-winning Mezzo Music Academy which she founded in 2011 after a career in marketing and sales. This experience certainly stood to her when last year’s initial lockdown forced her to close the ‘physical’ doors of her music school and move the entire operation online. It took resilience and persistence to make such dramatic changes, skills Sonya could call on from her lengthy career and life experiences prior to entrepreneurship.
Throughout the course of the pandemic Sonya has had to adjust her business model to comply with the restrictions and ensure the safety and comfort of her students. While there was an ease in restrictions, which meant her bricks and mortar business could be in use again, her music lessons have largely been delivered online.
Sonya gives us her 5 tips for pivoting your business online:
Make sure you communicate with your customers.
The first thing we did was we emailed the entire school, we were upfront and told them what we planned to do, we kept them in the loop. We explained the lesson would still be the same quality, but it would just be done remotely. And I always made sure to finish my communication with a positive tip, for example, if they listen to slow music it would slow down their heart rate, or upbeat music to make them feel better – it was a difficult time, so we wanted to support our customers through it.
Stick to your guns on pricing.
I had a couple of people that said because the lessons were online, they thought they would be cheaper but I was still going to be delivering the same quality so I was confident to stick to my guns. I just told them the price would not change and asked they understand that I’m still paying for my building and all the services to it – all the overheads. It boils down to having 100% faith and confidence in what you do – if I were to reduce the price it would suggest the lesson quality is not as good.
You have to be persistent, super persistent
– as in not taking no as an answer. I was being persistent, but I wanted their child to continue their music. Many of our students were preparing for exams, these kids had been working on these pieces for months. We wanted them to do their exams and continue their music and in order for them to do that we needed the parents to sign them up to online classes.
Even though you are moving online, maintain your high standards.
Just because you have moved online doesn’t mean you can relax and work less if you don’t have a building to run. I continued to manage everything, gave the teachers the same support, and made sure the students were supported and prepared for their exams. We didn’t let our standards slip when we moved online and we gave the same high level of customer care which was very important to me.
Use your testimonials online.
Anytime I got some feedback I asked if I could use it for a testimonial for our website and social media channels. This really helped change people’s mindset and confirmed to them that, even though we had moved online, our students were still getting the same quality they were getting when they have lessons in our building.