A Necessary Business Plan (For Your Career)
August 26, 2016
george estrera in Business, music industry, rap career, recording contract
By Wendy Day

A business plan is a necessary tool for anyone starting a business or anyone planning to make money with their music (selling music, performing, selling merchandise). It forces you to think about how to succeed, how to move forward, what that will cost, what obstacles you might hit and how to overcome them. It explains how you plan to run your business, how you will build it, and exactly when and how the income will come.

Not only does a business plan force you to think ahead but it’s also a tool that you will need in order to pitch investors and raise funding. It explains what the costs will be, how much you will contribute (often called “skin in the game”), who will help you (your team and advisors), and how the investor will get paid back along with a return on the investment. If you require staff, it outlines who you will hire and what positions are needed, along with the organizational structure of the company.

A business plan also gives you an outline to use as you build your business and it holds you accountable. The plan might change as you move forward–mine is a constant work in progress as I get new ideas, take on new clients and projects, and find new opportunities. I don’t have an investor, so I can change my plan as I please, since it affects no one other than me. With an investor, you would need to interact with them prior to any changes in direction.

If you’re putting together a business plan with the intention of raising money, securing investors, or even for other people to see, keep it as concise and short as possible without sacrificing content (maybe 15-20 pages). For lenders and investors, this will allow them to evaluate your concept and proposed strategy. As an internal document for you, it helps you commit to achieving the goal as only a written plan can do. It commits you to action the way an idea in your head never can. The value is in the planning for your company: researching the competition, planning how to move ahead, intimately knowing your market, and how to reach your fans. It allows you a critical look at your ideas including marketing, sales, staffing, and financial projections. This process is mandatory if you are looking for investors or even just a better understanding of where you’re going and how you’ll get there.

Here’s what needs to be included:

A business plan is not something you write and file away in a drawer. It’s a road map that you follow and update constantly. It serves as a constant reminder of where you are headed and how you will get there. No matter what you are doing in life, if it involves making money then you need an accurate business plan.

There are plenty of books, websites, apps, videos, and professionals that can help you put together a business plan. You can obtain helpful information at SBA.gov or SCORE.org or the local Small Business Association in your area.

If you decide to hire someone to write your business plan, make sure they are qualified and have access to the latest industry research. For the music industry, they range in price from $5,000 to $50,000 depending on who writes it and how intricate your company and goals are. Regardless, not having one can cost you a hell of a lot more.

Check out the SBA website for more info: http://bit.ly/MusicBizPlan

Wendy Day is a 24-year veteran of the urban music industry. She built her career starting Rap Coalition, a not-for-profit artist advocacy organization for rappers, producers, and DJs. Educating artists is her passion, and she is well known in the rap community for having negotiated some of the best deals in urban music and helping to build the careers of many new unknown artists who’ve gone on to super stardom with her help. Wendy helps artists build their own independent record labels and has worked with a veritable who’s who of rap: Cash Money Records (Juvenile, BG, Hot Boyz, Lil Wayne, Big Tymers), David Banner, No Limit Records (Master P, Mia X, Fiend, C-Murder, Beats By The Pound), Young Buck, Hurricane Chris, Slick Rick, BloodRaw, Do Or Die, Twista, Lil Boosie, Webbie, TMI Boyz, Trouble, UGK, and many others. If you text WENDYDAY to 44222, you can join her free email newsletter list. Follow her on social media @RapCoalition.


Article originally appeared on Music Think Tank (http://www.musicthinktank.com/).
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