I could start a whole new blog around the topic of preparing a business plan, but, I think it is important to touch upon a few main points now. Writing business plans are my specialty, so I plan to revisit this topic in more detail, sometime in the near future.
The first two posts in my series on “How to Release an Independent Record”, spoke to the massive amounts of research necessary to prepare for what lies ahead. The logical next step is to put a basic plan on paper to make sense of all you have recently discovered.
Writing a business plan may seem daunting at first, but it doesn’t have to be. Even if you limit your plan to both sides of a bar napkin, it is better than not having a plan at all. The purpose is to map out your release from start to finish, so you can avoid any surprises along the way. No matter how much you plan, there will be unexpected events. Writing a plan before you release your record will only minimize these experiences.
In general your plan’s outline should include the following: Company Summary, Products and Services, Market Analysis, Marketing Programs, Management Summary and a Financial Plan. Below is an overview of each of these topics.
Company Summary- This section should discuss how your company is formed, whether it’s a Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, C or S Corp or an LLC. The idea is to outline who is involved in your release and how each of you will share in the profits.
Products and Services- Briefly describe what you plan to sell. In this climate certain things are close to impossible, but I’m sure your market research has taught you that. Typical products and services should include digital downloads, merchandise, live shows, song licensing and physical CD’s.
Marketing Analysis- As painful as it may seem, it will serve you well to put down on paper, the troubled state of the music industry. Be as frank as possible. Explain that the only way to survive this music biz recession is to come up with something new and improved. Your ultimate challenge is to turn this negative into a positive. Hopefully your band is just the ones to prove it.
Marketing Programs- Take your time on this section, because these programs will make or break your release. Marketing is the act of raising awareness. If no one is aware, no one will buy. That being said, the majority of your total budget should be spent on a variety of marketing tactics that make you more visible to radio, press, live venues, retail outlets and on the internet.
Management Summary- This section is a perfect place to delegate responsibility to everyone on your team. You may or may not have a personal or business manager and that is OK. Instead you should focus on your fellow band members, web designer, publicist and other parts of your team. It’s important to map out who does what before you launch your plan. It will be much easier to know who is responsible for what before the shit hits the fan.
Financial Plan- Here is where you put your money where your mouth is. Once you determine what you want to sell, you need to allocate money to marketing these products. You will also need to flesh out ways in which you will obtain this money. Will you put in money from your 9-5 or ask a family friend or close relative?
Once you have put all of these ideas on paper, you will feel much more confident in what you can or cannot achieve with your release. My next two post will discuss, “Creating Your Image” and “How To Assemble Your Team”.
You can now download the free PDF, “Template for Writing a Music Business Plan”, here. In addition, I will update my blog over the next few weeks with examples of the content expected in each section.
Please feel free to add to the comments section, find me @eleetmusic or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any additional questions. Thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing from you all soon!