Have you ever written a business plan for your band? The purpose of this plan is to clarify the direction of the band, think more in depth about ways to improve the band, market the band, and solicit funding. You’re going to need funds sooner or later: recording, promotional collateral, hiring personnel like managers and assistants to take it to the next level…or at least gas for the van.
Every business plan starts with an Executive Summary. This will probably be the shortest, yet most important part of the plan – the long term vision. Band mates should be able to get a very clear idea of where you are heading and what is to be expected as a member of the band. Lenders should also get a quick, clear idea of what you are about…and if not, then you need a re-write.
The Executive Summary [ES] is kind of like a hook in a song. It’s the piece that will help everyone get excited and want to help. A well written ES summarizes the basic components of the band and also makes people want to know more. The ES should answer these questions at a minimum:
Does your band concept make sense? Can you explain in one sentence what the band is all about?
Have all details of the band been thoroughly planned out? Are you recording? How often do you play out? How will you promote those shows? How will you grow your fan base?
Is there an obvious market need for your band? Who is your target audience? Are there venues willing to support your music? What do you need to consider regarding your live show?
Is there a competent management team in place? Band leaders are often the manager/control freaks of the bunch, but are they strong enough to accept help when you need to reach that next level?
How are you different than other bands out there? As annoying as it is to be pigeon-holed, define your sound (before someone else does).
Is the fiscal side of the plan viable? Band mates that receive pay are much more reliable than ones that don’t…
What are the long term goals for the band? What are some milestones that will tell you that you are solidly moving in the right direction?
Do investors have a chance of making money? Will lenders get their money back? These are fair questions…
While all of the above may seem daunting, even answering a few of these questions will help you start moving towards better long term goals. The Executive Summary should give a snapshot of:
Description: who the band is and where members came from.
What you offer: type of music you play, where you see yourself playing (or recording) and what your live show might be like.
Target Markets: Who would be the ideal fan of your band? If you can describe them, you can find them…
The Competition: who or what is your direct and immediate competition? What other obstacles are out there?
Marketing and Promotional Strategies: how do you promote? Where do you promote? Yes, you may hate this part most of all, but that’s because it’s one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. You may start to realize that you need to employ someone for help in this area…
Operations: this chunk spells everything out – when and where (and how) do you practice? When and where (and how) do you record? When you start breaking things down, there are actually lots of when, where (and how’s) to address…
Management: who is running the show? Who will start to run the show when you need to hit that next level…and that next level?
Future Developments and Exit Strategies: where are you heading? You need vision here. And what happens when band mates leave? Clarity here can mean the difference between progress and full-blown implosion.
Financials: what do you have to work with? What will you do to make future dreams come true? Kick Starter? Sponsors? Play X amount of shows to derive Y amount of recording funds? Think it through…
We’ll be taking a closer look at each aspect of the plan soon – please stay tuned!