Starting a production company
Is there anywhere I can get advice on starting a production/media business. I have the tools and skills, but I am pretty deviod when it comes to the business side of things. Do you recommend a business plan and/or a marketing strategy? Are there any free resources out there?
Thank you. Any advice is greatly appreciated.
There is no "one size fits all" business plan. If you try to use an existing plan from a book or website, then you're asking for problems...been there, done that, got hurt.
A business plan isn't what you want to do or what you want for a career ...it's what you need to do - for your sucess in your market based on market conditions, global advancements, delivery technologies and personal skills and economic capabilities. Here's what you'll need to think about as you plan...
First, what type of production do you do now and where do you need to grow? What do you percieve as the market to use your services? Local, regional, global?
Next, research your intended market. What's already there, what do you bring that is different. Look at existing price stratagies and alignments, market resources, availible affiliations and most importantly, need. Is there enough business locally, regionally? Do you have the resources to go big or small? Who loses if you open your doors?
Competition: How many production shops exist - or - how many companies already have internal production? Can you draw from that pool or will you need to do heavy promotion to get clients? Do you have an existing base to draw from? Can that base be expanded?
Sales: Will you offer client "value added" resources and technology or fee base everything? What's the market billing proceedure - days, weeks, months, quarterly? Also, think about just the cost of doing business; legal, accountant/tax advisor, stationary, cards, mailers, DVD handouts, power, spares, storage, insurance, rentals, fees, dues, quarterly payments, sales incentives/promotionals, etc. Are you a strong enough sales person to do the day-to-day, plus creative plus contact/calls? If not then you'll need sales repensentation - more costs. Very important - how are you going to compeate - posh suite vs. brilliant ideas? Better technology vs. pricing? One-stop vs. niche/boutique?
Technologies: Are you "state of the art"? Home based or getting a working space? What services and technology are you offering and is it equal to or better than the current market fare?
Life Needs: How much resources do you need to live on...maintaining or bettering your current life style ( yup, some folks think going into business for themselves will increase their free time and improve the ol' paycheck).
Paying yourself is job one, paying your debts down and securing profit for expansion and upgrades is job two. Profit is about the last thing you should worry about, unless you have shareholders to contend with.
Once you have these items under control, you'll have the basis for a business plan...the rest is accounting.
My first company in 1979 was based on a singlar need...when that need dried up in 1982, I had to re-invent the company and pull a new business plan - it required a lot of changes in my life, professionally and company-wise just to be sufficient - much less profitable.. When I re-opened the company in 1994 after a 5 year shutdown, it required a whole different view of the market, global as well as local - new technologies, new distrubution channels. What I'm saying is that your business plan is not static - it changes and needs to change every year or as major market changes dictate. And you need to ask the same questions all over again.
Frank - What a wealth of great practical advice. Thank you so much. I do not feel so overwellmed anymore.
Thanks for spending the time.
Oh, and get a copy of the book "Inc. Yourself" written by Judith Mcquown found on Amazon for about 10 bucks. Best 10 bucks you'll ever spend.