5 Tips For Running Your Business

This post has been boiling in me for a few weeks. Lately I’ve had a number of sketchy interactions with various local and non-local businesses…usually prompting the question “Do people really do business like this?”

Let me just say this, you should treat your music like a business…especially if you expect people to pay you. Being paid for what you do is all about providing a service and being compensated for that service. In other words, you’re running a business. With that said, make sure you do the following.

Don’t make empty promises
Personally, if someone tells me they’re going to do something, I’m going to believe them. If I ask them to provide a service by a certain date and they claim they can do it, then I will expect to receive the service by that date. If they cannot provide the service then I will expect them to tell me this honestly instead of making a false promise. As a musician (and also a person), let your yes be yes and your no be no.  Your word will continue to carry more weight when people know they can trust it.

Don’t be exclusive
Ya, your service might not appeal to everyone, but let them be the judge of that. Don’t immediately assume that people don’t want your service. Let them decide for themselves. Be non-exclusive and assume that everyone will be interested in what you have to offer. Of course, there is a time for targeting.

You can’t run a successful business if you don’t communicate with your customers.  I recently ran into a major issue where the company I was working with would not return any of my calls or emails.  This has severely shattered our relationship and i don’t intend to work with them ever again.  I’ve also noticed that I don’t work with musicians that don’t communicate. You can’t work together if you’re not working together.

Be Welcoming
During a gallery craw in Pittsburgh last week, my friend and I made an attempt to stop into a shop.  We saw customers in the store but the door was locked. After knocking on the door, the owner come up to the storefront, cracked the door open and told us that unless we were buying something he couldn’t have us in the store. We were completely put off.  Why should you be welcoming?  Because it’s the golden rule and because you never know who your customer is. Even if they don’t invest in you now, they just might in the future. And even better, they might recommend you to someone else.

Put Everything in Writing
I highly recommend  booking your shows via email only. Sure, it’s probably fine to initiate things over the phone, but putting it in writing makes it real. It becomes official and creates accountability.

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