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FLASHBACK ARTICLE FROM DECEMBER 2010
2010. The start of a new year. A new decade. Did you make a five-year plan back in ’05? What about a ten-year plan at the start of the new millennium…excuse me “Willenium”. That quote is from the song “Will2K” by Will Smith…one of the “so-called” anthems for the new Millenium. Of course, a song like that has an EXTREMELY short life expectancy. What about the life expectancy of your business? Where do you want to be next year…five years…or at the turn of the NEXT decade?
Failing to plan is planning to fail. Do you have a business plan? Maybe that’s part of your New Year’s Resolution? A successful business plan tells you where you want to go and how to get there. It is never written “once”, and then tucked away in a file never to be seen again. Business plans should be visited at least two to four times a year to see where you are going and if you are on the right road to get there. If you’re like some DJs, you decided after seeing someone perform poorly that you could do a better job than that person so you bought (or downloaded) some music, purchased some gear, even created a beautiful website, and decided to hang your shingle as a mobile DJ. But, alas, no one called. Why? You needed to do your homework first…and that is part of a business plan. Here’s an example of a standard business plan that could be used for your entertainment company.
1. Executive Summary – I would strongly suggest writing this last even though it is listed first in your plan. An executive summary is just that….a summary of your company as a whole.
2. Company History – Legal establishment history (incorporation, LLC, sole proprietorship, etc.), company history, and your start-up plan all go in this portion of your business plan.
3. Product or Service – In most entertainment companies or DJ services you are selling exactly that…a service. The key component here to focus on is your client benefits…what’s in it for them? Nothing else matters…not your gear, not your music, not your price…Client Benefits should be listed here or put in layman’s terms….Why should they hire YOU?
4. Market Analysis – What niche in your current market wasn’t being filled and how can you fill that niche? That is the secret to the success of ANY business. Find a need and fill it. The market analysis allows you to determine whether or not there is a market for the services that you plan on offering. If your market is weddings, how many weddings take place in your area? What is the median income of people in your area? If you want to cater to high-end events, where do the wealthier people live? Eat? Hang out? Analyzing your market in advance and continuing throughout your business life cycle will help you avoid costly mistakes and keep you in business.
5. Strategy and Implementation – Now you’ve done your homework with market analysis…let’s put it to the test. The key here is to be specific. Include goals and outline specific dates as to WHEN those goals are to be accomplished. Include your budgets for purchases, advertising, marketing (yes…they are TWO SEPARATE components), initial expenses, monthly recurring expenses, retirement, 401k, etc.
6. Web Plan Summary – In today’s internet age, we are a WEB-FOCUSED world. Even as a service business, this is a KEY component of your business plan. For a DJ service, including development costs, marketing, and advertising strategies, how your website will operate, and also how it is expected to factor in the development of sales for your company.
7. Management Team – This area of your business plan is dedicated to describing your team members (employees) and what their roles are to the overall success of your company. What is their demographic, background, education level, and experience and what qualities are you looking for or do they possess?
8. Financial Analysis – This is the often overlooked area by most mobile DJs. This portion should AT THE VERY LEAST include your projected Profit and Loss statements and cash flow statements. Other areas to consider for Financial Analysis is projections of retainers per month that you are receiving, upsells that you are offering and what time of year those are most occurring (ways to capitalize on that market in the future), and when clients are booking you in comparison to previous years. All of this information collected ties back to the financial future of your company and is VALUABLE. This information typically falls under Sales Forecasts, projected Balance Sheets and Market Analysis tables should also be considered.
If you’d like the full list of items to include in your business plan, feel free to email me with the words BUSINESS PLAN in the subject line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your wallet and company’s future will thank you.
Mitch Taylor is an 18-year veteran of the mobile disc jockey industry, starting out on the cruise ships of Carnival Cruise Lines. He is a member of the American Disc Jockey Association and WED Guild™. Mitch owns and operates Taylored Entertainment in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and can be reached at 906.786.6967 or via email at email@example.com