The competitive nature of the music industry is why many musicians either fail to garner the attention they deserve, eventually disappearing from the scene while others give it their all for several years, but to no avail. For the few who do make it, the fame and glory is often short-lived because they failed to define their SMART goals and missed the opportunity to capitalize on their proverbial 15 minutes of fame.
What is SMART?
According to Mind Tools, the mnemonic stands for:
Specific (or significant)
Measurable (or meaningful)
Attainable (or action-oriented)
Relevant (or rewarding)
Time-bound (or Trackable)
Whether you’re a solo artist or a four-man band, here are some ways SMART goal-setting can be used in the development of your five-year business plan:
Start by asking yourself the five Ws that we all know and love:
- Who will be involved in the process?
- What will you achieve?
- When will you achieve it?
- Where will you achieve it?
- Why are you doing it?
Reasoning: When goals are too vague, it’s impossible to hit the target. Simply resolving to make it big in the music industry won’t cut it. You need a specific set of goals and a detailed plan of execution.
Example of a detailed plan: “Our band (who) will secure a record deal with a major label (who) and produce an 18-track album (what) by May 2018 (when). We anticipate international dissemination (where) to increase exposure and help us generate a revenue stream of $10,000 per month through record sales, appearances and live concerts. We also hope to sell at least 100,000 copies of our album during the first month of its release (why).”
To measure your progress, it's crucial that you track metrics.
A few examples:
- How many tracks per week need to be recorded in order to compile a demo for pitching to record labels?
- How many inquiries should be made each week to boost the chances of securing a meeting with a major record label?
- What are the monthly proceeds from the revenue generating activities and how can these figures be improved?
- How many live events are being booked each month?
- What are the average monthly record sales?
Unfortunately, many individuals are tricked into believing that money is the only way to get ahead in your career and life. As a result, “we measure success most often in money and personal fulfillment,” Songhack states. But clearly, there’s more to success than a dollar bill. If your musical career generates a handsome chunk of money, that's great for you; but if you cut corners during the planning phases, your success won't last.
While money shouldn’t be your primary concern, it's still part of the equation; after all, money is literally how you'll survive, so be mindful of your finances and don't start spending like you're a rock star before you're earning like a rock star.
Are your music goals realistic and attainable over the next five years or too far-fetched? It’s OK to dream big, but you should start on a smaller scale and expand your goals as time progresses.
What’s the purpose of participating in meaningless activities that don’t benefit your career in the music industry? Completing task for the sake of bragging rights is irrelevant, unless of course it adds value to your brand and helps you get one step closer to achieving your goals.
In this case, your time frame is a maximum of five years, so you want to tailor your plan of action to reflect this window. Furthermore, doing so places the pressure on you to get to take action and holds you accountable until you reach the finish line.