Many people will tell you the first thing you need to do in business is write a business plan.
The reality is that this is mostly unimportant and unnecessary unless you’re planning to court investors. And with the music industry as fragmented and undefined as it is, most investors are as cautious with their money as they’ll ever be. Getting them to invest in your business idea will prove difficult.
A better way to get started is to: Find a need, validate a market, earn a profit, and then scale your business.
Here are the steps you’ll need to follow to get there:
1. Uncover a niche. Find a hungry audience that’s looking for a solution to their problem.
2. Talk to your target audience one on one. Learn more about them – what age they are, where they hang out online, what blogs they read, what podcasts they listen to, what language they use to describe their challenge, and so on. Ask them how much they would be willing to pay to have their problem solved. Also see if they’re okay with you following up with them later – most of them should be open to the idea.
3. Develop your product. Put together your minimum viable product (MVP). This is a product that contains all the information your users need to solve their problem. But it shouldn’t have any extras or frills to it.
4. Sell your product. Reach out to the people who helped you with your research. Some will buy, some won’t. But if you have a decent-sized list, you’ll earn the seed money you need to take your business to the next level.
5. Ask for feedback. Your MVP isn’t perfect – and that is as it should be. But now you have the opportunity to see what your buyers thought about it and how you can improve it.
6. Launch your product. Having made necessary improvements to your product, you’re ready to grow your list of buyers. This is a good time to launch your website, social platforms, email list, and invest in other marketing efforts to promote your product.
7. Market. Get your message out into the world. Guest post. Make podcast appearances. Distribute press releases. Connect with people and companies that are better known in the music industry than you are.
8. Scale. Scaling is often the toughest part. As you grow, you’ll need to put systems in place, hire more people, invest in tools, improve your customer service, and so on. But if you’ve made it to this level, you’re well on your way to creating a successful and sustainable business.
Bonus: Seek the expert counsel of accountants and lawyers as you start earning a profit.