How to Plan Your Music for 2022
Dec 23, 2021
The last weeks of December and the first of January are a time to relax and look back, but also to look forward. It is a good moment to decide on what you want to achieve in the new year, which is important because, without goals, you could find yourself drifting and not getting anywhere fast.
With this in mind, I tend to write my yearly music business plan around this time of the year. Yes, it is a scary word for some, but I have found that writing a plan has helped me to achieve more goals in better condition, than not having any outline at all.
It is a good exercise to write it out. Doing so, I have learned to differentiate elements that could be done efficiently from those that would take longer, and also distinguish between the urgent and the important. Using the plan as a guide, I have also been able to go through the year seeing the opportunities that match my goals and go for them, and reject those that, even if they look beneficial, don't match and would only be distracting.
Here is a quick model I used to write my plan.
- Create Time! We often think there is not enough time in our day to plan, but there is when we decide something is a priority. Time will present itself for us to get it done. Obviously, we have to balance our commitments or make arrangements for planning. You can use the latter part of Christmas break to write your plan, let it rest and then pick it up on January to make adjustments and finish it off.
- Choose a great location Be it a quiet trip to the park, coffee shop, your bedroom or living room, find a nice place to work that will help your mind to think and percolate your thoughts.
- Record it! I'm old fashion and I still enjoy engaging with the page through paper and pen, so I write in an exercise book, but you can type it up in a word processer or use a planning app. You can record it using video or audio, use post-it notes, whiteboard, flip charts, coloured pens... whatever helps you to think and plan is fine! Keep your recording for review.
- Think big. We often limit our ability by what others might say or think. We even reduce our dream in our mind because we don't think we can achieve it, but, if it is reasonable, why not go for it? Now is the time to think big. Some things might take more than one year to achieve and that is fine. By writing them in your plan nonetheless, you'll have a clear picture of what you have to do: don't forget all goals have steps before they are achieved!
- Break your targets down This is the stage that makes the most people give up. Breaking things down becomes onerous, boring and no fun, yet these steps will help to keep you afloat and moving forward to your goal.
Saying you want to record an album, put on a show or even improve your website are great goals, but what do you need to do in order to achieve them? You need to break your goal down into more manageable steps to be achieved over time. For example, you don't just walk into a studio and say 'Record me!' You have to prepare - choose songs, rehearse, decide on the band, decide on your producer, the studio, costs, etc, There are different stages that a recording goes through, there is production, distribution, registration, promotion and so on. All of these take time, and the more you are aware of them, the more you can plan, budget and ultimately achieve your number 1 goal.
- Resources! Don’t forget to note the resources (people, finances, materials, equipment, training, etc) you will need to make your plan work. Again, don't be put off with what you don't have. Today your hands might be empty, but tomorrow who knows what might come your way. Rome was not built in a day!
- Action Plan! I find it useful after writing everything down, as I tend to write in paragraphs, to create a simple To-Do list - it can be a bullet list or a table - of actions I will take and by when (target dates). This is what I focus on throughout the year as my simplified road map for getting things done.
- Review it! At key times in the year you should look at the action points from your plan and see how you are progressing. You might want to create monthly reviews, quarterly or even weekly, it depends on what works for you.
It's great to tick off what has been achieved but also note the reason why some things have not been possible. Don't beat yourself up! Some things take time, others need other steps completing first and you may not have been aware of them until you approached the goal.
That should help you start writing your music business plan! Hope you have a lovely Christmas and a very prosperous New Year 2022, when you can work on your dreams and share your art with the world. Don't forget to keep an eye on this website, as there will be more resources, courses and group efforts happening real soon.