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FLASHBACK ARTICLE FROM DECEMBER 2009
George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Now is a great time of year to “look back to the future” and see what you have accomplished, where you are, and you want to go in your business. Where do you want your business to be in 1 year? 5 years? 10 years? You might be saying to yourself right now, “how do I accomplish this?” There are several places to start, depending on your focus.
How’s your gear? Are your speaker cabinets beginning to show “road rash”? Does your facade look tired? Is your lighting up to date? Take time to go through your equipment and take care of it as it takes care of very important productions each and every time you’re out on the road. Invest in new gear if necessary, but only if it’s not trumped by one of the other areas below to improve in.
Take a look at your books. If you’re not using software that helps you forecast where you are at in the year, make that your first priority. Where are your overall profits compared to last year? What can you attribute that to? Was there a rise or fall in gross overall dollars? Where did that come from? If revenue is up from last year, give yourself a pat on the back, a vacation, or a raise – depending on your future goals for your business.
Look at your leads. Where did they come from? Look to their source and then reward the people who kindly referred you to their clientele. Notice I said “people” and not “places.” People make the difference. Where were you at last time this year with bookings for next year? Are your sales not where you’d like them to be? In most cases, this can be attributed to action on your part in the months leading up to this, where there was little to no activity on the marketing or advertising fronts.
How’s your website? Getting traffic? Not enough? How about your bridal show booth (if you have one)? Need updating? Letterhead business cards promotional materials? These are all important things to look back on at this time of the year. These investments need to be evaluated and see if they made DOLLARS. If something isn’t making you $$$, it doesn’t make sense.
Your performance is tied in with sales. Does your phone ring after an event? Are people calling you who saw you perform at previous weddings? On average, if you’re getting one less referral call per performance, it’s time to invest in yourself. There are several opportunities that you have here. One of the most cost-effective ways I have found to better my performance is with Toastmasters. Check out your local area and if there’s more than one club, find the one that fits where you want to go best. Have someone better than you in or out of your market (GASP! That can’t be! LOL) shadow you at an event and ask them to give you feedback when you’re done. Then shut up and listen to them. What they give you for information is GOLD. You may agree or disagree with their assessment, but listen with an open mind and at least consider everything they say. It’s one person’s EDUCATED opinion and not a drunk at the end of the night telling you, “YOU ROCK!” Other ways to improve performance are to hire an acting coach, voice training coach, or attend a performance workshop held in or out of your local area. Time invested in yourself will pay you back in dividends in the future with increased earnings and raving customers who WANT you.
These are all questions you need to ask to help you establish a path to move forward with so that you are not condemned to repeat history. It’s important for you as a business owner to take stock of your business and find out the areas that you need to improve on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. I know…this is a LOT of information to process, but I’ve found the way to attack it from this one little gleam of knowledge.
Q: What’s the best way to eat an elephant?
A: One bite at a time.
Thanks for reading.
Mitch Taylor is a 17-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 firstname.lastname@example.org.