Friday, February 13, 2009

Restructuring Your Business

There's been a lot of talk lately about corporate downsizing and "trimming the fat". Perhaps you're in one of the unlucky bands who have already lost a steady gig when management decided to cut back on the entertainment schedule. It seems to be hitting everyone at this point.

Did you realize that you, too, are a business manager with downsizing alternatives? Sure, you are! Even if you operate as a sole proprietor, you may still be able to find ways to lower your costs of doing business and thus offer your clients better value. For example, you can:

1. Resize your act. If you normally perform as a five-piece band and the clubs are balking at your fees, you can offer to go out as a 3 or 4 piece for less money. The ultimate bargain is a solo act, but these gigs are usually limited to players of certain instruments (guitar, piano, etc.).

2. Cut back your hours/barter. Another deal you can strike with management is to play fewer hours for less pay, or agree to accept free food in exchange for giving up some pay. I'm not a huge fan of this option, because it may be hard to get back to the old pay scale once business improves again. Still may be preferable to having no gig at all, though.

3. Lay off middle management. If you have been getting most of your gigs through agencies, try contacting venues directly and booking more shows yourself to save on agency commissions. Of course, when dealing with a venue originally introduced to you by an agent, it would be unethical to later bypass the agent. Similarly, if local teaching studios have been booking most of your students for you, you might make significantly better pay by setting up your own studio and booking students yourself.

4. Renegotiate with suppliers. You should definitely be driving a hard bargain when making any equipment purchases these days. Don't be afraid to ask for a lower price! Most retailers are really desperate now, and they are very willing to negotiate.

No comments: