By Sal Hyams
Running a business is less art and more science, but running a successful one does require a bit of both — especially if you’re running it from a home office. Here are some things to keep in mind in your day-to-day that can help keep your sanity, in addition to making more money.
Don’t try to be a master of all things.
In other words, don’t wear all the hats, no matter how good you look in hats. Whether you’re a control freak, or don’t want to take on additional revenue drains, think again. Some DJs we spoke with said that the simple act of outsourcing the job or sending to and following up on contracts was an enormous relief.
Why spend five hours doing administrative tasks when you could pay someone who knows what they’re doing to get it done for you in much less time? There are plenty of virtual assistants for hire that will enable you to concentrate on what you’re good at — getting new business, meeting with clients and vendors, and performing.
Don’t “wing” the business plan.
A well-thought-out business plan can help in numerous ways, especially if you ever need capital and want to apply for a loan.
“As a commercial lender for over 30 years, I have seen countless business owners try to take control of their financial future only to veer off on a path they had not intended,” says Jerry Bazata, a banker/mobile entertainer based in Ogunquit, Maine. “It’s usually because of a lack of capitalization, financial discipline and a realistic understanding of what it takes to be profitable.”
Business plans help you look at all angles of your business and the expenses associated with it. Costs for a website, domain, marketing materials, membership and magazine fees, the DJ Expo, phones and office supplies do add up.
Do learn how to sell yourself.
Get out and sell your business. Create your one-minute “elevator speech” and share it with everyone you meet. Informal marketing is inexpensive and a great way for people to hear your passion about your company. The more you do it, the easier it gets. Ask yourself: What’s your differentiator? Why should a client hire you and not your competitor? If you were to exit the DJ business tomorrow, what would the world be missing?
Of course, more than most businesses, the success of a DJ company often relies on the skills and personality of you, the owner. That’s why it’s so difficult to scale this business — you can’t replicate yourself. However, that’s why it’s important for that elevator pitch to evolve into a system of values for your company, which can then be absorbed by anyone who you choose to bring into the fold in the future.
Don’t mix your work area with your home space.
A separate workplace will help you keep your sanity by providing a haven for focusing on your business. There are also key tax advantages, which you should explore with your accountant.
First, set a schedule. It doesn’t have to be a traditional 9-to-5 schedule. In fact, if you have kids in the house, it probably can’t be anything that resembles traditional. Try setting a schedule that fits your needs, and remember that if you work three or four two-hour blocks throughout the day for six days, you can still get 40 hours in.
Do roll with the punches.
Unforeseen events such as the loss of a key employee — who usually starts his own company — and increases in costs or a disaster (such as fire due to electrical shorts or equipment theft) are common sources of problems for DJ companies that encountered financial difficulties.
In fact, it’s estimated that nearly 33-percent of all business failures occur because of circumstances that were initially out of the owner’s control.
You’ll always have to adapt to changes — consumer preferences evolve, so does equipment and, of course, so does music. Failing to adapt can cause businesses to flounder.
It’s easier to roll with the punches when you anticipate them, and know that the one constant of owning a DJ business is change. Keep up on the pulse of the industry by connecting with other DJs at conventions — the DJ Expo is a great start! — and logging onto Facebook groups.
No matter how capable you are as an entrepreneur, financial difficulties can — and will — happen. Most often, early action can lead to a successful turnaround.
DJ Expo is set for Aug. 14-17 at the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, N.J. If you have any questions for Business Line, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.