10 steps for artists to become entrepreneurs

One important topic that need more attention among artists and musicians is entrepreneurship. All bands and artists out there performing and creating music has a website and profiles on social media sites like Facebook, Myspace, Reverbnation, Youtube, Pinterest and Twitter etc. But few has created a business plan, operative plan or made strategies on how to grow their business as companies do. 

Let`s go straight to the point «Your Band is Your Business» and businesses need to invest time in planning, strategies, development, production,customers, sale, marketing etc etc. Same with artists and musicians. You will get much more control, more revenues, more fans and a better career if you plan and operate like entrepreneurs and companies do. A plan will give you control and be a reminder regarding your mission and vision. A business and operative plan is  your strategic roadmap and you need to measure and adjust the plan as you move and grow.With a (operative) business plan you will also get in better positions towards potential partners and business affiliates, like producers, labels etc.

Ten first steps for success

Create a operative plan. What is you potential right now and in where are you in 5 years- your goals and objectives. How many gigs pr month/year. Investments, key channels & people, management, who do I compete with etc, Not many artists create a operative business plan. Business plans as we know it is old thinking, most of them never meet a customer. Future plans are customer focused- regarding to artists – That means your fans.

Personas. When you create plans also start define  your personas «your optimal fiction customer», in this case your optimal fan. Your fans are individuals with personal preferences.  This is also very important if you choose to go for a Inbound Marketing Strategy Online – your definition of persona will be important for all content to convert new fans online and also for Disciplined Entrepreneurship.  This topics will be covered here in later blog articles. Check our latest.



Numbers. TAM– Total Address Marked- What is your potential in your marked, where is your personas – how many personas can you reach. How much are your fan worth- what are they willing to pay to see you live? What are their value in a lifecycle? Defined as  CLV– Customer Lifetime Value – the value of  your relation to your fan. Just think about it- if your fan and all of them come to all your concerts on festivals for 1o years ahead- buy your CD`S or stream it, merchandise etc. You need a financial plan with scheduled revenues in a period, budgets and need for investment.  Make scenarios with your financial numbers – worst scenario, good and best. Focus on control- use software, mobile apps and find a accountant to be a part of your team.

Tools. Start looking at Disciplined Entrepreneurship- a 24 step roadmap developed by MIT- see: http://disciplinedentrepreneurship.com. There is also a software in beta available for Disciplined entrepreneurship www.detoolbox.com   Another great tool and source for creating a ordinary business plan is Palo Alto`s online liveplan www.liveplan.com.

Have a Strategy. Yeah, in the early days, it’s enough to just play gigs where ever you can get them. However, at some point, you’ll want to take a step back and really assess yourself and your band in terms of personality and image. What are your strengths? What are the most appealing parts of your group? Focus on those, and make them central to your branding. Think through how to reach fans, and how to engage them. Define you your group of buyers personas (your optimal customer/fan) Create worth of mouth, go-viral with a new song or video? Free giveaways or create a contest – Be creative.  Other important strategy is to focus your Intellectual property rights- should you start a company and manage all your IPR from there? IPR will be covered later on this blog.

Create network. Create a cluster network for collaboration. Think across music business from Institutions and organisations, public grants advisors, music collegues, national and international music forums etc.

Build Teams. A band is a projects and band members are team members.  A band, artists and musicians has ongoing projects like music videos, new record, composing, songwriting, promotion, tours etc. All projects needs various skills so build teams for each project: DIO- Do It  Ourself by building various teams for various projects instead of DIY – Do it yourself.

Get a PR Guy. Maybe it’s your manager, or maybe it’s just that guy you know from college who’s interested in advertising. You want someone outside of your group whose business is to publicize your exploits and make them appeal to the sort of people you want at your shows. It’s much better to hire this out, or else egos can make things messy very quickly.

Embrace Social Media and catch fan data. We won’t need to tell a lot of bands this, since many understand how great social media is for connecting with fans. Social media, however, is also a great outlet for expressing your band’s image. Write your posts and Tweets “in character,” so to speak, projecting whatever image you want to have. Use social media to develop your branding. Use your social media profiles to engage with fans and link back to your website, news or blog. Always build your fan base, get subscribers and email adresses. Consider develop a mobile band app with updates on gigs.

CRM or Customer Relationship Management. Is a system for managing a company’s interactions with current and future customers. For artists this is extremely important- your fans is your most important resource and asset beside your intellectual properties.  No fans- no career.  That is why musicians, artists and bands should focus on catching fan data and save information in a CRM system. With this fan data you will follow up and segment fans for releases, news on email, tours, contests, offers, merchandise etc.  Most CRM systems are customized for companies. There are some free CRM systems available such as Zoho from Google apps. Do a search on google.

We also recommend that you check out the ThrillOut platform when it´s ready (will be announced here and at ThrillOut.com)

Other related topic`s will be covered. We wish you welcome back and feel free to reply to us, also regarding topics to cover.

We recommend to all readers interested in music business to check out a MOOC course at edx.org – Introduction to the Music Business by Berklee College of Music- it`s free and you will learn a lot – copy an paste or click the link.