Whether you teach in a home studio, commercial space or in student’s homes, the registration season always brings its own unique juggling act. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t simplify studio registration.
Move Over Marie Kondo
Marie Kondo has inspired multiple generations to look at organizing belongings in a new way. There is a lot from this philosophy that we can bring to our registration process.
Joy vs. Function
The Kondo method encourages only keeping the things that bring you joy.
I will admit that my old tax binders, previous client information and legal documents do not bring me joy. But, they are a necessary part of running a business.
While you may not be able to go completely minimalist in your registration approach, you can make it more enjoyable and intuitive for your current and prospective clients.
The Kondo method also encourages putting like with like.
The same goes for registration in your studio. Place all registration and interview documents in the same spot. I’ll go into options for this later on.
3 Steps to Simplify Your Studio Registration
Going back to our Kondo method approach, we want to make your studio online registration as simple, streamlined and intuitive as possible.
A family should not have to go to multiple places in order to fill out documents. They should not wonder what the next step is in the process. We want to simplify studio registration so there are less opportunities to say “no”!
Step 1: Get Your Docs in a Row
Think about what is necessary from a legal and business standpoint. At its simplest, you need a way to:
- Contact your clients.
- Get paid on time.
- Comply with local and federal laws.
- Enforce your studio policies.
And, yes. Your studio policies are part of that. Whether you choose to take a delinquent client to small claims court is immaterial. You must have a contract to protect your business. Just check to see what is enforceable in your area as you simplify your studio registration documents.
Create a great relationship with your clients, while also respecting the work-life balance you want. This means your clients know what you expect from them and what they can expect from you.
Step 2: Let’s Get Digital!
Get all those lovely studio documents in a digital format. After much experimentation to simplify my studio registration process, I’ve learnt everything needs to be in a file format.
There are a few ways to do this:
- Physical folder with all registration docs
- All docs in a shared online folder
- Google Form with all docs included
Pros and Cons
There will be pros and cons regardless of what method you use. However, I’ve used all these options and can tell you which ones are the simplest, most streamlined and intuitive options.
- Pro: Everything is in one spot, no worries about tech nervous families (or teachers)
- Con: Papers get lost, trying to get everything back is a hassle.
- Pro: Step up from physical papers, families can access it anywhere
- Con: Most families will not know how to fill these out online so they’ll get printed anyway. Then, they have to figure out to how to get them back to you.
- Pro: Fully streamlined and intuitive, everything stays in one place and the process is automatically guided as they fill out the form, can be filled out anywhere (even on the side of a soccer field)
- Con: Some families may feel nervous about the tech and need some guidance
While physical papers in a folder is simple, it’s not the most streamlined option. An online folder is simple, but is neither streamlined or intuitive for many families. Both of these options require you to input the information elsewhere.
Which leaves Google Forms. This is the only option that is both intuitive for clients and streamlined for you. If you’d like to see how this can be set up, watch “Using Google Forms For Music Studio Registration“.
Step 3: Invite New Clients
In my studio, I always have an interview with new clients. This gives us a chance to get to know each other and see if my approach is going to be the best fit for them.
This meeting could be held in-person or online. Whichever option you use, make it welcoming for the student.
- Start building the relationship right from the first moment.
- Put everyone at ease by guiding them through the interview.
- Give them a glimpse of what lessons will be like with you.
- If you use technology regularly in lessons, be sure to incorporate an aspect of this in the interview.
- Make time to answer questions.
- Be sure the client knows how and where to find studio registration documents online.
- Give a deadline for when these should be returned. Or, what the consequence will be for delaying the return of documents.
To simplify studio registration for new clients, test out your registration form with someone who isn’t familiar with them. This is a great test to see if it’s as streamlined and intuitive as it can be. This tip alone has saved me so much frustration as I make changes before things go live!
Studio Registration With a Few Tweaks
Streamlining, simplifying and making your studio registration more intuitive should not be an onerous process. Especially once you have used these 3 tips the first year. Each year after is a quick check to make sure everything is still correct.
For example, the first time I wrote my studio policies it took over a week. Each year I experimented with wording, policy decisions and how I handled getting the registration forms to my clients. Now, it takes me under 30 minutes to make sure everything is correct and ready to go. It’s incredible having so much time freed up to work on other things! And, it’s easy and welcoming for my clients so they feel supported!
How do you make studio registration easy and welcoming for your clients?
Let me know if the comments!
NOTE: This article was originally published April 29, 2020. It has since been updated with the latest tips that have simplified my studio registration while streamlining and making the process more intuitive for clients.