Business Owner: Nick Russell
Name of Business: Haliburton Guitar Studio
The Business Incubator is a program of the Haliburton County Development Corporation (HCDC) that offers expertise, guidance and support. It also provides flexible, affordable space in a central location in the Village of Haliburton.
“Within the first few years of opening, the Haliburton Guitar Studio has enjoyed reasonably small business success and community support. This is largely in part due to the tremendous amount of guidance and service from the Haliburton County Development Corporation and the placement of the HCDC Business Incubator in a central downtown location” explains owner, Nick Russell.
Through the Business Incubator program, Nick was able to create a business that is an umbrella for all his activities including music lessons, guitar repairs, performing, recording, and music production. As a result, Nick has grown his business from part-time to full-time in under a year:
Nick Russell: “The Guitar Studio has grown to servicing 30 private music students weekly out of our downtown spot within two years. As sole proprietor, I have been able to transition from a fully freelance business model (no HST number, no business registration) to something that is fully realized, which certainly has its merits in terms of legitimacy and access to entrepreneurial programs.”
Funding through the Business Expansion & Innovation Program has supported investment in professional grade equipment to capture studio quality media content and video production as additional remote service offerings to music lesson clients.
Nick Russell: “In addition to offering private music lessons, the Guitar Studio has found a niche offering remote and in-house recording services, consultation and talent booking services. In light of COVID-19 beginning in March, it was clear I needed to provide access to online video resources and make this technology part of the business model going forward. For three months now the business has been existing by offering music lessons and music production services solely online. This shift has allowed the business to remain open and I would say that COVID-19 has been an extremely beneficial thing, proving that the business model can exist, adapt, and be more resilient than I’d initially anticipated.
The Guitar Studio is now servicing clients outside of our local Haliburton area in Toronto, Collingwood, and other further parts of Canada via Zoom and FaceTime. Knowing how to be relatable to your community, how to market yourself, how to brand yourself are all key things for my business. These skills have been greatly enhanced and supported with the inclusion of being in the HCDC Business Incubator and being able to access services like business mentorship and occasional grant opportunities that come along. I am happy to report that the business is still growing, it seems like in our rural area the combination of both in-person and online services is key to maintaining business resiliency and adaptability.”