My Library and Courses
Last Update: Monday September 20, 2021

Key Idea: Spend Pennies Not Dollars to Win Customers

Barbara Granneman is such a soft-spoken gentle soul it is surprising to learn that the piano teaching business she started went from zero to 45 employees in just two years. She had the right idea at the right time and in the right place.

Key Question:


One way is to find inexpensive ways to win new customers.

Q:  How was Barbara able to start a business with just a few dollars?

A:  First, she decided to go to her customers rather than have them come to her. This means she has to do the driving but she didn't even have to purchase a piano to get started! She didn't have to go through the hassle of dealing with neighbors who might complain if her students parked in front of their houses and she didn't have to rent a commercial space either.

Second, she knew the type of parent who would pay for their children to take music lessons and she identified the neighborhoods in which those parents lived. By developing her own mailing list, she was able to target specific houses rather than mail to every home or run an ad in a local newspaper.

The first mailing list was built in a a few weekends. Her husband drove their car and Barbara rode along speaking the addresses of the houses she wanted to include on her list into tape recorder. Perfect market intelligence!

Think about it

Can you target your marketing even more than you do today? What would it take for you to increase your list of prospects and at the same time insure they have the right profile to buy from you?

Clip from: Home Alone - 17+ Million Sole Proprietors (USA)

In search of an endless summer

Bend, Dallas, San Diego and Santa Fe: In this episode of the show, we take a look at nine people who work and live within the same physical space. It has its own special challenges. 

We seem to be making the circle, back to a pre-industrial lifestyle, but with knowledge tools -- the integration of broadcasting, information (technology), communications, education and publishing -- that challenge us to look deep within ourselves to craft and sculpt our unique gifts to give back to the world.

There are about 17 million sole proprietors in just the USA; they are all unique and most have returned home to work.

Midwest School of Music

Barbara Granneman, Founder

7243 N. Audubon Road
Indianapolis, IN 46250
317 849 9770

Visit our web site:

Office: 317 849 9770

Business Classification:

Year Founded:

Spend Pennies Not Dollars to Win Customers

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Barbara Granneman grew her home based business with direct marketing and it teaches children in their homes.

BARB GRANNEMAN: The Midwest School Of Music was formed in '98 to give parents an option for music lessons. So I decided that if we targeted a specific demographic in Indianapolis that it would really shortcut the time it took to get a studio running. So we -- my husband and I drove around neighborhoods that had obvious numbers of children in them, swing sets and you know, numerous suburbs and we sent out postcards and had a very good response.

HATTIE: How did you get the list for that neighborhood?

BARB: We just addressed them as a current resident and -- we copied down addresses. We drove through many…

HATTIE: You didn't buy a list that was spit out of a computer somewhere. You created the list yourself by hand, by driving the neighborhoods.

BARB: Well and using a tape recorder for just speaking the names of the addresses into it. It was simple. My philosophy is you don't have to put a lot of money into something to get started.

HATTIE: Do you remember how many pieces you mailed in your first mailing?

BARB: We mailed approximately 500, and we consistently received a 1% return.

HATTIE: Tell me where you are now. How many students and teachers today?

BARB: We have about 450 students and about 45 teachers. We teach primarily in the student's homes, but we also teach in after school adjunct programs. And that's a very popular thing.

HATTIE: And it all started with a postcard.

BARB: With a postcard.

In the Studio:

HATTIE: The new business infrastructures that have emerged with the advent of digital workflow and digital communications has disintermediated space and time. We're being given license to return home and make a private workspace that can readily blanket the world. I'll see you next time.

Not a member yet? Learn!  Be empowered! Join us!