I was recently involved in a discussion about whether social media platforms should be advert free. The owners decided on a policy that they would only have their own banner ads and none from third parties. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE the sentiment, but there is good reason why business concerns seek predictable income from third party concerns to maintain financial viability…

Every business owner has the absolute to run their business as they see fit, but sometimes in a world where everything is describe.d as “awesome” there can be some optimistic thinking that doesn’t translate into good business practice. I worked in sales, recruitment and marketing for 15 years and in that time set up and ran two multi million pound concerns. In my early days as a manager I was shocked to receive my first spread sheet detailing profit and loss. I had no idea how much predictable income was needed just to keep a business viable. Often artists fail to see “the elusive obvious” when making business decisions and this can create all manner of unexpected problems.

These days in my other non music life I teach communication and business strategy internationally across Asia, USA and Europe.I don’t claim to have all the answers, but there are key pieces of advice I give any business owner.

Here are a few considerations

Listen to your customers, even when they challenge your personal vision of how the business should unfold

Don’t grow too fast, hyperactive expansion is the death of many concerns

Make sure the fundamentals of the business are stable and working – there’s nothing worse that offering services that are not reliable

Don’t insult your customers – pretty obvious but one music distribution service was terrible for this, so I moved 100% to CD Baby who have been great

There’s an old Japanese proverb “No one of us is smarter than ALL of us” This means paying attention to the detail of any business and looking at why established and successful models work so well. Its easy to insult concerns like YouTube and FB and yes they have their issues BUT they have a growing global customer base and continue to balance idealism and commercial reality. Smart business owners look at what works in the wider world and pay attention to detail in their own concerns while surrounding themselves with smart brains

Idealism and reality checks in the music business

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