10 Things to Think about When Re-Evaluating Your Studio Policies

 

I’ve reached a point in my policy where I typically only need to make minor tweaks here and there. But even still, I make sure that at least once a year I go through my studio policy and re-evaluate. I wanted share 10 things to think about when re-valuating your studio policies.

1- Relevancy- Relevancy plays a HUGE role in re-evaluating your policy. You may find hidden things in your policy that are simply no longer relevant. Part of being relevant is “keeping up with the times.” Does your studio policies read like they did 10 years ago?

2- Length- One thing you want to keep in mind is the length of your policy. You want to make sure you include everything that is important to you in running your business, after all, we want make sure everyone is on the same page. But if it is more like a policy “book”, it is not going to get read. My recommendation is to keep your policy down to 2 or less pages if at all possible. My policy is 2 pages, now mind you it is in #10 font…

3- Changes- Take the time at the end of the year (at least a few months prior to the new school year) to look for any changes or updates that need to be made. Sometimes the changes are big, and sometimes they are just minor tweaks. The only change I made to my policy this year was simply updating a paragraph where I give a general overview of what is included in my studio fee.

4- Consistent– Be sure your policy points are consistent with each other. You don’t want to state in your policy that you don’t give make up lessons, but then in the next sentence say that you need 24 hour notice to make up a lesson. Which leads me to…

5- Clear– Be sure your policy is clear to read. It is a good idea to have someone like a friend or spouse read through it to see if there is anything that is confusing to them. Sometimes it is just a matter of clearing up how we word something.

6- Life Changes- There is a saying, “To everything there is a season.” This is true with our policies. The circumstances in our lives change throughout the years. What may not be a big deal even 5 years ago, all the sudden is something you need to consider adjusting. And that is okay.

7- Feedback-  Our studio families give us feedback constantly even when we aren’t necessarily asking for it. The trick is to recognize that feedback and consider how it might relate to your policy. You can also ask for feedback directly if you want more direction, just be careful what you ask as you may just get an answer…

8- Experience– With experience comes knowledge. With knowledge comes action. With action comes better policies. Experience plays a big role in the evaluation of our policies each year and is a big reason why re-evaluating is so important.

9- Effectiveness- In addition to experience we must consider the effectiveness of our policies. Did we make a change last year to anything? How effective was that change?

10- Improvement– There is always room for improvement in our policies. When you consider all there is to think about, our goal is to get our policy to a place where it is doing the “hard” work for us so we can concentrate on the best part of our job, teaching.

How about you? What things do you think about when re-evaluating your policy?

Do you need guidance in creating a policy and sticking to it? Check out the new course, Creating a Studio Policy and Sticking to ItClick the picture below to enroll.

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10 thoughts on “10 Things to Think about When Re-Evaluating Your Studio Policies

  1. Great points to keep in mind. like what you said about policy not being a book. Nobody is gonna read through a novel of a policy so keep it simple. Thanks!

  2. Studio policies are so important especially when you are over 100 students, I appreciate you taking the time to write this and remind us of their value and not to just forget about them after awhile. I know I have to update mine very soon!

  3. I recently had the privilege of checking out Jennifer Foxx’s course on creating a studio policy and have to say that it is excellent and full of valuable information! It’s quite comprehensive and includes everything from what should be included in your policy to how to stick to it and enforce your policy if needed. She even includes bonus material including worksheets, a sample policy, conflict resolution ideas and even tips on getting paid! Definitely a value for the money it will save you if you need to create or update your policy. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, I highly recommend you do at:
    http://music-educator-resources.teachable.com/courses/creating-a-studio-policy-and-sticking-to-it

  4. Really great points made. I love what you wrote about evaluating the policy every year, and also your point about keeping it short. I need to work on this! Great reminder and perfect timing, before next year starts up again. Many thanks. Great article.

  5. I had to suddenly stop teaching in September 2015 when my husband was diagnosed with a lemon-sized brain tumor. It was a whirlwind Thursday morning. an MRI, a phone conference with his doctor, trip to the ER, admitted to the hospital in the Neuro ICU, and surgery early the next morning. While in the ER I had to call and text dozens of people: Hubby’s ex-wife because we were supposed to pick his kids up from school in 2 hours and I just completely dumped that on her; my mother-in-law (oh, that was a fun one), my mother, the manager of our choir (our true family)…. and all 11 of my piano students who were supposed to show up for lessons that afternoon. And the rest of my 32 students got text messages over the next few days saying basically, “I have this horrible thing and I think lessons will start back up next week.” I sent variations of that message four times over the month of not teaching ANY lessons…. And I lost not one single student in that horrible four weeks of not teaching. In fact, 2 families insisted on PAYING me for the month of lessons that they didn’t get. Several families FED us with meals, groceries, and gift cards. After lessons started back up, one mom would drop her 3 kids off for their lessons and come back with something from the grocery store for us every single week for months.

    From all this I learned that having a strong and clear policy is great and absolutely necessary, but having compassion and logical leniency is even better. Yes, I teach to make money, but I also am part of a broader community, and that was amply demonstrated to me over the past nine months. Compassion is always the answer.

    However, if someone is blatantly taking advantage of my good nature and “Pollyanna Attitude,” I call them out on it. I still haven’t lost any students and I am getting paid regularly and on time and my studio is a busy, happy place.

    And my hubby is doing really good! After the awful autumn of THREE brain surgeries, a 30-day hospital stay, an infection in his brain, blood clots in his legs (and REALLY crappy insurance) we are floundering a bit financially, but he is healthy and back to work. His most recent MRI was “great, fantastic, even!” according to his neuro-surgeon. 🙂 So yeah, we’re doing good. After all, he’s alive and the tumor was benign.

    1. Hi Dana, Thank you for sharing your story. I’m so glad your husband is doing well. I can’t imagine going through something like that. I completely agree. There is ALWAYS going to be a time for compassion. Just because we have a policy and are good about sticking to it, doesn’t mean that there will be times for grace and compassion for sure. I have shown grace and compassion many times when the situation calls for it. 😉 Thanks again for sharing your story.

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