Sunday, December 16, 2012

Step 7 - Build Your Back-End Business

Some Alexander Technique teachers are sitting on enough potential cash to pay for a fun holiday trip to a Congress, but they have no idea that money is so easily available. It could even be you I am writing about. But I am getting ahead of my Self…

Today’s blog is less about marketing, more about building a sustainable business that will see you into retirement. Some of you young creatures out there may balk at planning for retirement before your career has even got underway, but this is more about being able to do what you want to do and isn’t that also appealing?

Teachers who have been practising a long time will tell you they have both short-term and long-term students. Most students come in an initial burst of enthusiasm, then fade away, while there are a few that are so solid, they come for years. That’s how most businesses work, because that’s how human beings are. However, the secret sauce in to-day’s blog is that you can, if you are clever about it, convert some of those short terms into long term students. The average conversion is about 10~20%, but hey  - would you like to increase your income this year by 15%? And that’s all cream - it costs you nothing but time to build this business. And if you are reading my blog, my guess is that if you can use your time to increase your income doing what you love, time is one resource you have in abundance…

You need the concept of a back-end business.

After three months of learning, most people start to feel “I got it” or “I’ve had enough of this” and feel ready to move on. Move on to what? You need a bright, shinny object to dangle in front of them, but sadly, most Alexander Technique teachers have nothing like that for their students to grab hold of… So guess what? They leave. And you just lost income.

More importantly to me, the student just lost the opportunity to take the work to a much deeper level - something you know is possible, but they don’t. So why not tell them? What not invite them into a special “program” that you have devised for them to move “to the next stage” in their Alexander Technique learning. People will love that concept.

Do you have a “next stage” figured out? Of course you don’t, no-one does, except those teachers who decide to train teachers. An Alexander Technique Teacher Education course is a back-end business. Training School Directors teach for many years, then gather a cluster of their students who want to go deeper - and since becoming a teacher is the only option offered - they go into that. 

But actually, there are many students who want to go deeper, but do not want to become teachers. Just continuing with lessons does not appeal to them - but offer them something more substantial, you’ll find a whole new market that you did not know existed. That’s your fun holiday overseas!

Your front end business - offering sessions to the public - is where you harvest pupils to put into your back-end business - a Teacher Education school. Some Training School Directors make a fatal mistake: they stop teaching the public and focus only on their school. So what happens? Pupils eventually get hard to find, the school shrinks, and one day they are back to teaching the public again.

So you add your back-end to your front-end: they are joined, interdependent and both need each other. The Training School is a model that Alexander Technique teachers are already familiar with. However, it is just one - your creativity is the only limit to the kinds of back-end businesses you can build for your students…

People want to feel they are progressing, they want to feel they are reaching a higher level. One of the most frustrating aspects of Alexander's discoveries is this lack of tangible form. Buzz Gummere, a graduate of Alexander’s school, once described the work as “unfathomable empty” and went to speculate that Alexander developed his teaching procedures, in part, as a way for people to get a grip on what he had discovered.

Your back-end could be just that: a 6 month course where you will teach your students all of “Alexander’s Teaching Procedures”, help them study the books and take them 10 pin bowling to apply what they learnt! Use your imagination. Of course, if you have a niche, the job gets much easier - you can create excursions, study groups, a fun community mix around your niche theme.

People want to belong, give them something to belong to.

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