The Cavern, known to be Exeter's longest running live music venue, this music venue is a regular tour date for almost all upcoming UK bands. Mama Stones, Exeter's very own jazz and blues guitar venue ran by none other that Joss Stones's mum!
The Lemon Grove, located on the University of Exeter campus, has played host to some great bands over the years - including Hole, The Cribs, Reel Big Fish, Radiohead (with Pink Floyd and The Who up at the Great Hall) - in more recent years bands like Fightstar, We are Scientists and the Kaiser Chiefs have rocked student audiences.
Exeter Phoenix plays host to a whole variety of different events, concerts and workshops over the year.
I have taught many beginner students over the years, helping them to form a basic understanding of how to play the guitar, before pushing on to learning the songs that they are passionate about - be it rock, pop, jazz, blues or metal!
To book your first lesson, or simply find out more about my guitar tuition, simply call 08455 086739 or get in touch via the contact page.
Students enrolled onto a music course at Exeter College are required to sign up to the Music Academy. Specialist tuition is provided by the Music Academy instrumental and vocal tutors, all of whom are experienced industry professionals and represent some of the finest musicians in the country. If you are applying for a Music Academy Grant for Silver or Gold Membership, the deadline for application is Friday 16th September. On the 8th April I was invited to attend the Express & Echo 2016 Business Awards, held at Sandy Park in Exeter.
I have to say it was a huge surprise for me as I hadn’t ever won an award like this in my life and for the business to be recognised in this way was absolutely amazing for me. As amazing as it is to reflect on what has happened over the last four years I have to say I am way more excited about the development of new projects during 2016! That evening was also made very special by the keynotes speech given by Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on The Moon. Secondly, that Buzz was utterly convinced that the human race should be aiming to land astronauts on Mars, as well as set up a colony on Mars as soon as possible. Here at MGR Music Tuition I have been working very hard over the last few months creating a centralised platform to enable the teachers I work with to complete the admin side of things; specifically reporting the lessons that they have taught and making payment for these lessons. With many of the teachers that I work with being active local musicians, driving their musical careers forward alongside their teaching, I decided to explore whether I can help them develop this aspect of their careers. This morning I heard from the Innovation Centre that the University of Exeter has been shortlisted for the Duke of York Award for University Entrepreneurship. This shows how far the support for entrepreneurs has come during the time that I studied at the University of Exeter (09-12), where even basic provision was hard sort for.
To know that there are students just like you, dedicating their spare time to start a business while at university is undoubtedly a liberating discovery – indeed, while individual businesses are different in what they produce the core components of a business are often very similar.
In terms of MGR Music Tuition I have been continuing to launch new websites across the UK, most excitingly for me releasing the Guitar Lessons York website, following drum, singing and piano websites released in York and where we already have a large group of active music students and talented teachers. In addition, I have spend the last few days adding a server monitoring service to these VPS. As such here at MGR Music Tuition it has been a year of re-investment into the business, to ensure that I can keep it growing in a manageable manner by laying strong foundations to build upon. Just a quick reminder about the Exeter Start Up Weekend to be held between the 17th – 19th June at the University of Exeter. Those participants that do have ideas have 60 seconds to make a pitch to their poetical team. I will be blogging, reporting on each of the days events of the Start Up Weekend, as well as providing progress updates on some of the mentor’s businesses to keep you up to date.
Well broadly from all my experience in running an online business for the past five years there are basically 10 ways to make money from running websites on the internet (and to date I have only be successful in one method, in a small niche market). On the 7th June 2015 Sir Bradley Wiggins did something that anyone who has the ability to ride a bike can – he hopped on his bike and cycled for an hour recording how far he had travelled. Yet, the thing that I found the most interesting was the way Wiggins and cyclists that had previously attempted the challenge had talked about the hour record. It really struck a chord with me, reminding me of challenges I felt in the very early stages of trying to create a business at the University of Exeter. In second year I went to a talk about business where I remember the speaker saying that creating a business is like going through pregnancy (interestingly something Wiggins also references), and might be as close that a man can get to experiencing what pregnancy is like. As Michael Hutchinson, former national time trial champion, noted about non-professional cyclist and present of 5 live OJ Borg had a go at the hour record “there becomes a point where everything hurts, even things not involved.
In terms of the development of the business over the last three weeks we have major progress. The Innovation Centre is excited to be holding its first Google Startup Weekend this summer.
Whether you are the next big Tech thing, Food and Drink idea, social enterprise, Renewable Energy, Retail product, arts organisation or budding Start-Up Entrenprenuer then Exeter StartUp Weekend could be the place for you to launch.
With all the coverage of the 2015 election I thought it would be an interesting task to sit down and analyses the election manifestos of the main political parities solely from the point of view of which party would be best for business innovation. Firstly, lets explore two major factors that are continuing to shape the UK’s economy for all businesses. So what do The Conservative party offer to an entrepreneur in their manifesto – well good news.
In addition the proposed referendum on EU membership has got to be a cause for concern for small businesses, indeed, businesses of all sizes, as it effect the status-quo of our ability to access the European market with new products. Turning to the Labour Party it is abundantly clear that they simply do not have a concise economic plan that could gain the support of entrepreneurs (or indeed the wide business community).
On the business front it has been another business week as the business is continuing to expand at a rapid pace. This progress is in addition to hiring new teachers in for the Drum Lessons Derby and Drum Lessons Edinburgh websites where a very talented drum Italian drum teacher, Diego Zanelli, has joined the team. This change in the Google algorithm has had a profound effect on many businesses, all of whom have been scrambling to get their websites updated fast enough for the algorithm update (the time between the Google announcement of the update and the actual update was only eight weeks, which isn’t long if you need to completed redesign your website!). Therefore over the last few weeks, with the help of 1010 Media, we set about updating the designs of all the websites to ensure that the music business’s websites would be complainant with the new Google algorithm.
The Guitar Lessons Middlesbrough website is an example of the post updated website, where the content has now be optimised for a mobile device enabling the user to scroll down (rather than zoom in) for information. I am especially excited to watch the analytics of the websites to see how this improves enquiry numbers, or client engagement with the website from mobile devices now that they are being update.
On the business front thanks to the help of many University of Exeter students that are helping me write and create new websites I am pleased to announce that we have finished Piano Lessons Sheffield website this week.
I had the pleasure of catching up with Mark Milton this evening, talking about his new app concept Tandem. Yet, the app has the potential to go even further than this, helping people to make connections with non-native speakers who share a particular linguistic interested – for example a French language student seeking a conversational partner, or a publisher who is interested in having their text translated.
In the next few months Mark is set to launch a beta platform for his app, that is likely to be renamed from Tandem, and I warmly invite you to try it out as well. On the music tuition front the speed of growth has continued taking on new teachers for the Singing Lessons Preston website, as well as in Loughborough (were I was lucky enough to hire a former Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist for a singing website!). For the next in our series of progress updates I am pleased to announce a launch of a new business from a repeat University of Exeter entrepreneur Tom Frew. However, as someone from a website background I wanted to draw attention to the beautifully designed website that fits perfectly to the businesses professional branding. In terms of business I have had the pleasure to have had Sina Shakiba, a University of Reading student, undertake his work experience with me for two weeks – he has helped immensely in the launch and creation of Singing Lessons Milton Keynes and the Drum Lessons Leeds websites, as well as getting involved with the customer relation side of the business. Tweekey Bags is a project that was started by Ben Ivey at the University of Exeter to fill a niche gap in the student’s sports stash marketplace.
He then rapidly developed a prototype product, utilising his Chinese language skills (developed thanks to a study abroad module on his course) to source a supplier. 2014 saw Tweekey develop further as a company, expanding into six different universities across the UK (Kent, Surrey, Bristol, Aberdeen, Dundee & Liverpool) alongside the University of Exeter. When we spoke Ben was also keen to talk about some of the fantastic events he has been to over the last few months that have helped him develop as an entrepreneur.
Ben also suggested attending the Power To Achieve, Millionaire Mind Intensive and Unleash The Power Within conferences that aim to built upon core skills as an entrepreneur. On a business from this week I had the exciting experience of launching the first international website – Singing Lessons Dublin in Ireland.
Today we are going to look at how I developed this basic and standard WordPress theme into a fully functioning eCommerce website.
The process itself of purchasing a new theme and then uploading it to WordPress is quite simple.
The SetSquared Xing event held at the University of Surrey was unquestionably the highlight of this week. At MGR Music I hired another teacher, a university of Exeter student and piano wizard Callum Henry for the Piano Lessons Exeter website, while the business expanded into Leicester and Cambridge.
This week also saw a few fantastic developments for MGR Music – this week the final website designs for the Singing Lessons Location, Piano Lessons Location and Drum Lesson Location have come through! St Peter’s has  a strong, musical tradition and with the help of our peripatetic music tutors, we are able to run a wide range of extra-curricular music activities.
In addition to the Advent Service in the Cathedral, we have two main concerts each year, one at Christmas and one in May. The ensembles have the opportunity to perform here as well as at various other occasions around the school year – special school celebrations, informal concerts and collaborative events with St Michael’s Primary, St Margaret’s School and the Exeter Music Group Symphony Orchestra. We also work closely with the Drama department and have presented the shows Joseph, We Will Rock You, Oliver!, Disco Inferno, Grease, Alice the Musical and Godsepll over the last seven years. We are currently able to offer music lessons on the following instruments but if we cannot offer something that you would like to learn, we will pursue all reasonable enquiries!
Over and above our A level and BTEC courses, the Music Academy provides a varied enrichment program and supports our students ongoing development through the provision of heavily subsidised instrumental and vocal lessons by some of the top working musicians both locally, nationally and internationally. As you will hear at this event, our music courses and enrichment ensembles provide incredible opportunities for our students to extend and develop their musicianship.
Despite the cities small size we have had some major artists emanate from our music scene, the likes of Muse, Joss Stone and Ben Howard. Established in 1991, The Cavern which is located at 83-84 Queen Street behind Boston Tea Party - the entrance looking like the steps down to the underworld - has seen the likes of Launched in 1991 as a platform for local and international bands, the Cavern has over the years programmed tens of thousands of bands, including the likes of Coldplay, Muse, Biffy Clyro, La Roux and Mumford and Sons grace their stage. A great venue with a hugely talented in house band with regular performances from national and international blues stars.
However, the quality of bands the Lemon Grove and the University of Exeter's Great Hall has certainly deteriorated in the last few years, along with the venue itself. It has a great reputation for theatre and alternative music, enticing some great quality bands to perform - including an amazing gig by the Maccabees in 2012 - this up and coming music venue will hopefully keep providing Exeter with bigger and better bands over the next few years. I am passionate about helping my students to learn through enjoyable, engaging and ultimately rewarding lessons, that are built into a course that will get you the results that you are looking for. An up and coming musician in Exeter, he is an experienced guitar tutor and will certainly help you excel when learning the guitar! By submitting payment you are agreeing to the Music Academy Terms and Conditions as stated in the Gold Members Contract. Once payment and agreed contract are received, the Music Academy Administrator will look at your College timetable and allocate you a lesson day and time. With the encouragement of Joe Pearce I had entered an application for MGR Music Tuition to be up for an award, that of Entrepreneur of the Year 2016.
As you will see by reading through this blog throughout the years I have written it music tuition is what I am truly passionate about, dedicating most of my life to it – so I was really moved to be presented with an award that highlighted this work. The most significant of which is the development of a music tuition agency, helping clients to find their perfect wedding band.


Firstly, I was very privileged to be able to join the University of Exeter at the National Business Awards in November, where the university had been nominate for the Duke of York Award for University Entrepreneurship.
Indeed, he had even written a book about it noting the benefits that such investment in space travel would bring in terms of technological advances, advances in communications, medicine and material designs.
I was really excited to launch this in February 2016 – the platform also enables teachers to engage with one another in an interactive forum, a space where they can share best practise and gain advice about the many challenges of being a private music teacher. This is a great achievement for all areas of the university that have worked tirelessly to improve the support of students with business and product ideas.
As an entrepreneur at the university you can now find support and help everywhere from the Careers Centre and Ignite at the Students’ Guild to specially tailored advice by business experts at the Innovation Centre. Student entrepreneurs therefore often face the same challenges, whether it is cash flow, holding too much stock, product development, quality control, sourcing products, advertising, client experience, profit margin, scalability to name a few.
It has been an extremely busy time in terms of the infrastructure of the business, having moved all the websites onto a Virtual Private Server (giving me far more control over the hosting and management of the website, preventing them from crashing due to unwelcome updates). I hope to see the results of this in early 2016 and as ever I will keep you updated with my progress! In term of MGR Music Tuition we have been madly hiring teachers of the last few weeks as we continue to expand nationally. Sell Advertising – the second most common answer when people understand the financials behind pay-per-click adversing. Affiliate Marketing – the idea that if an individual goes onto a buy a product advertised on your website, having clicked on that link, then you receive a % of the sale price. Sell Your Own Product – this tends to be the most profitable way of making money on the internet. Sell the website design – if you have designed the website yourself then sell the design to other people. It was always about the perfect balance of living on the absolutely edge – as Chris Boardman, former Olympic Pursuit Champion, said; a rider is constantly asking, “is my pace sustainable? Thanks to the help of writers here at the University of Exeter websites like Singing Lessons Norwich and Piano Lessons Swansea have been successfully launched, both of which building on existing instruments within the location – along with the hiring the first drum teacher in Glasgow for the Drum Lessons Glasgow website which is fantastic news.
Held between July 17 – 19th 2015, the event will be an opportunity for students with early stage business ideas (or no ideas at all!) to become part of an intense weekend designed to launch real businesses.
Calling on former University of Exeter students that have gone on to create businesses, including Stew Noakes (QualiTest), Tom Carrington-Smith (The Eleven), Ben Tyson (Born Social) and myself (MGR Music Tuition LTD), to help get your business ideas off the ground the StartUp weekend will be an event not to be missed.
This means delving deep into each parties proposed policies around entrepreneurship, small & medium size businesses as well cultivating a wider economic environment that is favourable for business start up.
Not only does it have a clear focus on economic improvement, based on a track record of generally improving the UK economy (we saw in 2014 the UK economy grow faster than any other advanced economy) but defined incentives for entrepreneurs in the shape of Small Business Rate Relief.
While the renegotiation of our relationship with Europe might not be a bad thing on multiple levels the threat of leaving the EU entirely will no doubt have an impact on businesses, especially those start ups that are looking to sell into the EU who now cannot easily predict what the environment will be to do so from 2017 onwards.
Where the plan is set forth it seems remarkably similar to that of The Conservatives, namely freeze business rates, invest in national infrastructure and the north – yet, by sticking with planned austerity cuts (albeit not as drastic as The Conservatives, potentially leading to borrowing more) in the end there is little to distinguish between the two parties other than The Conservative party seems to be much clearer in exactly what their plans are for the economy. This is odd in the sense that inevitably cuts will effect individuals in society and the chances are even the Lib Dems cuts will hit the sick, disabled and poor the hardest – where exactly is the fairness in that. With over 100 students waiting for lessons in places we are still hiring teachers I know that the potential for the continued expansion of the business is massive. So the business is continuing to grow each week – yet, like any business the economic environment the the business exist within is critical to its success. On a small to medium size business level you will see companies that generate a large proportion of their clients, if not all their clients, from the internet potentially destroyed as leads dry up due to drops in the mobile search. And I am please to reveal the finished article – something that we have tested extensively during April to ensure that it works seemlessly on all mobile devices, from iPads to Android smartphones (and I guess even smart-watches!). You might note the menu bar at the top that enable users to easily access other pages of the website. It will be a slow process for me to update all 120 websites, but over the next 60 days I am to do just that – and no matter where you are with your business I would advise you to do the same.
As a business we are keen to continue to expand to over 120 websites across the UK within the next 4 months.
The app caters for all these by enabling the user to search the database of uses for the languages that they can communicate within. The business now has over 10,000 students on the books and continuing to expand into new locations each month. Having built on the success of Instabear, an automated Instagram printing business – with the photos being delivered directly to your door, Tom has been at it again!
Indeed, it is certainly worth taking a look through the website to get a feel for how well made it is. It is the first time I have had someone undertake work experience within MGR Music Tuition and I have to say that I felt as if I learned as much as Sina did.
Ben identified that there was an underlying demand for university branded sports bags throughout sports societies, something that was going unfulfilled. He then started building contacts and selling into the multiple sports clubs that Exeter has to offer in 2013 – something that went extremely well, seeing his product stocked in the uni shop as well as helping him win a Innovation Centre start up investment. This has helped Ben sell over 400 bags this academic year – a fantastic achievement considering the challenges that are incorporated when trying to use someone else’s logo on your products!
This included the Start Up Bus competition that saw six buses from across Europe bring some of the brightest young entrepreneurs together for a conference in Vienna. The first of these, the Power To Achieve conference, covers a wide range of different areas of interest before focusing specifically on the limiting beliefs that hold you back in business.
With Ireland being a country boasting some of the worlds best musicians (U2, Sinead O’Connor, Thin Lizzy) it was a really significant moment for myself not least as I am half Irish. Just to recap, the motivation for this project came from observing many students at the university who were trying to set up retail businesses, with a substantial amount of their initial capitol been put into the creation on a eCommerce website – we are talking hundreds of pounds here, often thousands. The next step was to spend a little bit more of my ?75.00 budget on purchasing a predesigned, WooCommerce compatible, WordPress theme. Firstly, pay for and download the theme of your choice onto your laptop then upload that to the WordPress Themes in your admin panel.
After an inopportune 5am start Exeter university’s crack team of six of our best entrepreneurs and I headed off to Guilford to join forces with entrepreneurs from Bath, Southampton, Bristol and Surrey to take part in a regional business challenge. The message of the day was certainly focused on teams and the importance of building the right team, one where getting the right personalities has more of an impact on team productivity than hiring on qualification.
Part of my role this year is to build up a network of external professional services to help aid student business development, this includes reaching out to legal, accountancy and bank firms to build relationships that students can benefit from.
Being the first week in the month the money for the previous months lesson commissions came in, up 8.25% percent in January from December! Ran by Alex O’Mahony-Zed, Nathaniel Rankin and Samuel Cooledge this premium operation began in summer 2012 as the three Exeter University students saw an opportunity in the polo lifestyle market. Andy of 1010 Media has yet again done an amazing job creating extremely professional website templates that we have already started building this week. The ensembles vary from term to term, depending on upcoming performances, most require no audition and we hope that there is something for everyone.
Here at Exeter College Music Academy we endeavour to provide the very best in music education.
We have had talks & workshops delivered by internationally renowned musicians as well as alumni of Exeter College. In this concert we can only offer a small fraction of the work we do (there is music on the main stage and in the bar tonight!) but we hope that you will be inspired by our wonderfully talented students. Here at Guitar Lessons Exeter we have compiled a short description and review of the major music venues in Exeter!
Located at 1 Mary Arches Street, this venue is probably the most relaxed in Exeter - the perfect place to let your hair down and listen to some great jazz guitar. Still a great night out if the band is good but Exeter should be aiming to get the Lemon Grove back on the touring circuit of UK bands. The Phoenix also hold fantastic workshops, including the Audio to Digital recording event held by Sound on Sound magazine, and has an in house recording and rehearsal studios (find out more here) - it is an awesome all round music venue! The Silver membership fee is paid by all Music students and helps fund a wide range of subsidised trips, talks, workshops, master classes and performances during the year. I was really pleased that the business was nominated for this award and come the night of the event, where I met loads of amazing individuals, I was totally blown away to actually win the award!
Despite Exeter missing out on the award to the University of Leeds I think our invitation and nomination was testament to the progress that the University of Exeter had made in recent years in terms of entrepreneurial support, with the likes of Joe Pearce and Tracey Costello needing to take a lot of credit for driving forward this programme. Kennedy was devastated (according to Buzz), but eventually came onboard with the new plan – one that Buzz Aldrin was able to execute alongside Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins.
The team of teachers I work with has now grown to over 125, likely to peak at 150 later in the year, when the business will reach its full potential in terms of music teachers within the UK.
Having spoken with a lot of the teachers that do wedding gigs that major complaint was that often the gigs where long distances away from where the band is actually based. It is also a special moment for the Innovation Centre which has been one of the key partners in the this development of entrepreneurial provision at the university.
The appointment of a Student Entrepreneur in Residence enables students to approach a former student who has experience of running a business while studying a degree, this is invaluable as balancing your workload, business and social life can be an isolating challenge. The weekend culminates with presentations to an audience of judges and potential investors, with prizes going to the best business ideas from the weekends developments. We were also lucky enough to get our first ever enquiry on a language website which is exciting – much more work to do but it is possible that in late 2015 we will expanding beyond music lessons to language lessons here in the UK.
The truth it unless you are Google or Facebook you are not going to be able to generate a primary income, comparable to your best friends that have just secured corporate jobs in London, from having pay-per-click adversing on your website. This is a tough sell, you will need to approach a company and ask them to redirect X% of their adversing budget to your buy advertising space on your website. Essentially people pay to be connected, whether it is employers paying to access employers (or visa-versa), plumbers and house owners or any other connecting of people.
Having a great product in the first place and using the internet as a marketplace for that product. Indeed, there was a very interesting medical business that wished to gain students as subscribers for their exam-revision tools that looked promising. This is great way of making money and you can continue to run your own website as it normally is, while advertising at the same time that people can buy the template you have designed should they like it! I have heard of websites being sold for ?100,000, if they boast great traffic in a field that a new company wants to get into – essentially they snap up the pre-existing website than take months to build up their own one. If it’s a definite yes you’re not going hard enough, if it’s a no, you’ve overcooked it.” (The Guardian).
Startup Weekend is a global phenomenon – 54 hours of fast and furious prototype development through to exploring potential markets and pitching. We have also managed to launch two new websites this week; Piano Lessons Norwich and for the fantastic Andy Smith, who is the current singing teacher we work with in Reading, a second website Piano Lessons Reading to enable him to tutor piano students of all ages and ability in Reading. This also means putting aside my personal political views (bit of a Labour man), as much as is possible, to make this hopefully an objective overview of which party is looking to support entrepreneurs the most.
The second major factor is Europe; everything from a Greek exit to our own place within the EU, with the potential of an EU referendum during the next government should The Conservative party win a majority there is a very real change we might also be heading for the EU exit door. In addition some 27 thousand business mentors will be made available to entrepreneurs and small businesses that would not be able to afford the advice otherwise – so far so good. Beyond these general Labour points their manifesto is rather too descriptive, without the qualifications and details of that of The Conservative party. Paying for music lessons at ?25 to ?30 per hour is certainly not cheap – that is a ?50 to ?100 per month commitment to learn that instrument and certainly one of the first things that goes when people want to reduce their outgoings in times of economic depression. This makes sense as over 45% of website users are now surfing the internet via their smartphone devices.


A mobile friendly website tends to push the same content into blocks that re-size perfectly for all mobile devices – avoiding a client to zoom in and increase they scroll down through the information.
You can view here the Google Page Speed Analysis program to determine if your website is suitably responsive to mobile devices – Google will also provide pointers on how to improve that page. This is a fantastic idea for any individual that has ever ventured to a completely new country (with little linguistic experience) and wanted to meet a few native speakers to help them with their travels.
I will keep you updated with Mark’s progress but I was really impressed with the possible uses for this app within the expat community, as well as the adventurous backpackers who stray beyond the English speaking countries of Australia and the USA! Starting in London we have recently launched a French Lessons London website – something that if it proves successful we will look to expand into other areas of the UK.
40 Fathoms is a new business that looks to print heavy weight design posters both for the artists that produce them as well as the clients who want to purchase them. This is something that all online entrepreneurs should look to aim to: building a website that fulfils its functional purpose as well as portraying its brand in the correct light. However, Ben is clear about why his business has been successful (i) it is a quality product that he is proud of (ii) the product generates money for the clubs as well as the universities every time that it is sold.
Along the way the entrepreneurs were tasked with creating new business ideas that they would pitch once they had arrived. Indeed, this is a big step for the business as we explore entering the music tuition markets in countries outside of the UK – I will keep you updated on how successful it is, at the moment I have no idea how it will develop! The balance sheet of these students would often see hundreds of pounds spent on product development, tens of pounds on market research yet they wanted to spend thousands of pounds on a website! As mentioned before in this blog there are many free themes on WordPress that can be utilised to create your store, however, I think the price is reflected in the quality of the website designs and often customers can identify these websites as a WordPress template rather than your own store. The day was a resounding success, with each mixed university team being given a business idea to develop over four hours before pitching it back to a pool of Dragon’s Den style judges. Understanding this is vital for new businesses as hiring the wrong second, third or forth employee in your organisation might be the direct reason for your business failing. The meeting was a great success and I am proud to say we have Kitsons on board for legal support for university entrepreneurs! The Guitar Lessons London website is also coming together behind the scenes, ready for its big launch on the 17th April 2013!
Manufacturing a simple but stylish polo belt, made in the colours of your polo team, the belts sold extremely well during the summer months at numerous polo tournaments! Check them out below! Already finished are the Piano Lessons Glasgow, Drum Lessons York and Singing Lessons Nottingham website thanks to MGR Music Tuition’s team of student copy writers – it is now over to me to find some teachers!
The diversity of our courses and the quality of our lecturers and instrumental teachers is second to none! This year we have attended workshops and concerts by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, lectures and workshops from internationally recognized music producer Lee Fletcher, performance workshops with amazing musicians Barry Green (piano) and New York’s finest jazz musicians Chris Cheek (sax) and Gerald Clever (drums) plus Cuban music from London based Headsouth and DJ masterclass from Phrixus. A great night out too, if you want to see who will be rocking the UK music scene in two years time head to this club!
With regular perfomances from The Voice UK star Hannah Berney, Leigh Coleman and of course Joss Stone Mama Stones is an Exeter venue well worth checking out! As mentioned in my previous post it will be a gradual process of identifying the right bands and artists and bringing them onto the website, while at the same time highlighting to this area of the market that there is a dedicated website that lists verified wedding entertainment, as opposed to music agencies that list bands of all abilities and experience levels.
I was joined by other current or graduated students that had benefited from this investment, both financial but far more importantly in terms of an investment of time and skill development.
Therefore creating more gigs in the specific area where the band resides would be an incredibly useful service for these musicians. I had the fortune of see this first had during the Exeter Start Up Weekend in July, where the university had clearly invested a lot of time and money into a fantastic conference to enable current and former students develop their business ideas within 54 hours before pitching them to a group of business experts.
If you have a passion for business, an interest in entrepreneurialism and an ability to sell, sell, sell then you will be welcomed with open arms into the event. There will be support from former students who have gone on to run successful businesses in a whole range of different sectors. We also launched several new websites including Piano Lessons Hull, Piano Lessons Coventry and Guitar Lessons Barnsley in the last few weeks.  So all go on the website build front. Even websites with thousands of hits per day will struggle to make more than a few pounds from their blog – think of similarities in Spotify for musicians. My question is to you – have you got the stats to back up your claim that adversing on your website will increase their businesses sales by X% or is X% more efficient than their current adversing? If you generate a good niche website that performs better than any other within that area of the market you can generate a great income – indeed, here at the Innovation Centre Environment Job is an example of this model. If you can explore a niche where (i) quality information is needed promptly and (ii) few other sources provide it for free it can work well. It is a sacrifice but something that is worthwhile because you are trying to achieve something that, although everyone has the capacity to do, only few will achieve. Out of all of this I would suggest that one thing has become clear to me – to truly succeed in anything, including business, you need to ride as close to the edge of your personal capabilities no matter what they may be. In the audience was a certain Alan McGee who promptly signed up the band there and then, enabling them to release their debut album Definitely Maybe and go onto international stardom. It’s an unparalleled opportunity to build lasting relationships with co-founders; mentors, and investors. However, the big challenge in the coming weeks will be to ensure that the speed at which I can hire new teachers will match that of the new enquiries coming in! This article is certainly not designed to swing your vote but instead perhaps explore something that wasn’t really mentioned during the election process – namely who is best party for the entrepreneur? On the website front, thanks to the likes of Rhys Lewis (first year, Exeter Uni student), Belinda Lavin (ex-Exeter student), Adam Sumnall (ex-Exeter student) and a few others we are now cracking through the websites with Drum Lessons Birmingham and Piano Lessons Aberdeen going live this week – the later being a fantastic achievement as the first website released in the initial expansion was the Guitar Lessons Aberdeen website (due to me writing them in alphabetic order), so to be able to expand into a third instrument in Aberdeen is great news and far beyond my original ambitions. Therefore, the election in a few days time will have an impact on my business as each parties different economic plans will foster an environment more or less favourable to the average person having disposable income. Moreover, they are drawn through the website with links that are tappable on a mobile device – rather than the minuscule links on a non-optimised website that gives the frustration that many of you will share of tying to click one link but getting a completely different page to the one desired due to the links being so closely placed together. I guess my question to you, as a student business who sells products online, is can you afford (i) to have up to 45% of your audience poorly catered for with a non-mobile friendly website and (ii) can you afford to drop off Google’s mobile searches?
Alongside this I am keen to look to the recruitment side of the business to ensure that we are hiring new teachers as new websites are created. Indeed, as someone that has recently spent a few months in Russia I can’t tell you how useful it would have been if, when I arrived on day one, I could have connected with a few English speakers before I acclimatised into the local culture.
With French lessons being the most popular language to study in the capitol, according to our market research, I thought it would be a great place to start (though don’t mention that I only got a C in my French GCSEs!). The posters, boasting some of the highest paper quality available on the market, are then expertly shipped to your door – a great business model that I am sure is bound to be a success (especially considering the experienced team behind it).
Interestingly the team went for a new domain ending, with the website domain being 40fatho.ms which is a clever branding decision (though we have to wait to see how it will impact the website in searches). Therefore, it is in their interest to help promote and sell his products – a great business model that might mean he slightly reduces his margin per product but dramatically increases the number of potential sales. Ben described this as a world-wind of experience, with his team coming third in the European competition gaining them an invitation to Silicon Valley later in the year.
The final conference ran by Tony Robins, a well known motivational speaker, looks at the psychology of being successful. In some cases that is over 50% of a students entire investment into their business would be on their website, for the majority of retail businesses created at university this is an unnecessary and costly mistake. This is a shame as for ?30 – ?50 you can get some outstanding templates that will look completely professional and standalone from the WordPress backend. While the students were split up to network and build teams with talented students drawn across the globe to our five universities, the Student Entrepreneurs in Residence (the equivalent position to mine) of each of the five universities were placed into a team – this was a hilarious (mis)decision! Lucky after some horror stories from former Kauffman Scholar Alistair Shepherd we will be thinking twice before we recruit again! Targeted at the polo audience rather than the players themselves this high-end market enables a tasty margin on each belt sold.
We pride ourselves on our ability to help our students achieve their ambitions in whichever discipline they chose to follow, be it classical, jazz, rock & pop or in music technology and production.
The website is just at a prototype stage at the moment but I am excited to try and develop it over the next 12 months to see if I can get bands onboard and ultimately make their experience as musicians even better! I am eager to meet some of this years web designers and coders at this years Start Up Weekend! Without the stats why would any company risk the investment in advertising on your website? It is also good news for a long term economic forecast, enabling a society based on greener sources of energy – something certainly worth looking into more depending on your business type. For it is in the disposable income that music lessons are paid for and the business is built.
It is a big challenge to balance the time input into all areas of the business but overall I feel that we are going in the right direction. Alongside this website I have recently bought many other language lessons websites across the UK in preparation for a potential expansion into this new linguistic market. I will keep you up to date with how Tweekey develops over the next few months right her on the blog – you can also check out the Tweekey Bags website directly.
I was really pleased to hear about Ben’s suggestions of worthwhile events to go to in the UK – indeed, self development is one of the most important aspects of being an entrepreneur so do check out some of these events in case they are of interest for you! After spending a good deal of time searching through different WordPress themes, all of which can be done by searching on Google, I decided that the Munditia Premium Coding Theme would most aptly reflect the general feel of the business.
Instantly getting on famously it created a fantastic day of socialising, networking and business development – with the students coming away having experienced first hand some of the critical aspects of turning an idea into a business model. With a great marketing strategy, namely trying to encourage the players themselves to wear the belts through sponsorships and giveaways to make them desirable to the audience (a common business strategy for sportswear brands), the trio successfully built up JD Solis as a polo brand and are now looking to bring this success across to their online sales. Every year our students progress onto some of the top music degrees at universities and conservatoires as well as into industry. For me it is really exciting as it is a new area of the music industry, in this case music entertainment – meaning that I have plenty to learn if it is going to be a successful project.
Therefore as any business builds up, investment in safety guards and contingency plans, is a wise choice (and perhaps highlights a gradual change within a business from a start-up to a more mature going concern).
Still once you have built a brand it can be a great source of income providing that you keep adding value to the paying business. I have no idea if anyone will ever want to buy it, but with over 44,000 searches per month in a low competition are of the market hopefully with a solid domain name I can get 20,000 hits per month on the website. Ultimately the link between the political environment and the success of your business is ever-present and something that all entrepreneurs should keep an eye on. Therefore, my challenge here is to create a eCommerce website on a shoe string budget – that is to make a fully functioning eCommerce website for just ?75! As ever I will keep you updated with the project, the next challenge is preparing everything for a successful launch in the summer! Imagine being one of the definitive sources of information in this area of the market – I am sure that will be of interest to a company somewhere. From this I will be able to feedback over the next three, six and twelve months – what really is the best way to make money from a website.



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