The Journey - change of direction
Running a business where you rely on sales for your income rather than jumping through the hoops required with government funding is - in a way - much easier to manage. Costs have to be managed and sales have to cover costs or the business fails.
As our funding reduces and we are required to run the music service as a business, a key area of development becomes very obvious - marketing. Thousands of hours of training as a musician, teacher and manager does not necessarily equip you for running a business and the decision was made to seek help and training. Knowing this I picked up a book in my local library to take on holiday with me in the summer of 2012. I read Nigel Botterill’s account of what it takes to set up and run eight separate £1,000,000 businesses in 10 years and I was very impressed. So much so that in September I signed up with the modestly named ‘Entrepreneurs Circle’ based in Solihull; and it is one of the best professional decisions I have ever made.
Our new business model now follows a simple and clear mantra ‘to make new customers and keep existing ones’ and every new idea and initiative now has to be judged against this. I present a regular ‘marketing’ slot in our weekly senior management meetings and we are very focused on where we need to be and how we need to get there over the next two years. I can now list our marketing pillars, not only understand the benefits of marketing via social media but know how to set it up, understand google adwords and the power of good copy and creating my own website - none of which I knew anything about at the beginning of September. It is not only fascinating knowledge but essential knowledge if we are to secure a lasting future.
ISM member and Senior Manager at Warwickshire County Music Service