Manage for Success: Year End Resolves, Newsletter #32, December 2003


"Manage for Success" is a free monthly newsletter for record label executives

who want to operate their companies efficiently and successfully. It's published

by Keith Holzman of Solutions Unlimited, a management consultant,

troubleshooter, and trusted advisor, and is based on his many years as a senior

executive in the music industry.


Copyright 2003 by Keith Holzman, Solutions Unlimited. All rights reserved.




This is a short message this month because I'm putting the finishing touches on

my forthcoming book, "The Complete Guide to Starting a Record Company."

Please send me an email if you're interested in it, and I'll let you know as soon as

it's published -- expected to be in January.


As we approach the end of the year, the opportunity exists to finish up what was

done this year, and plan ahead for next year. While doing so, try to eliminate

or alleviate some of this year's problems. If, however, you've managed to sail

through the year with no difficulties of any sort, please call and tell me your

secret so I can let other readers in on your methods!


For the rest of us mere mortals, start by being sure you've thoroughly worked

out your plans for next year's business. This assumes you've designed a

comprehensive set of plans for how you want to operate. You've decided on what

you'll be releasing -- give or take an addition to your artist roster and

release schedule. You've budgeted the recording costs, and conservatively

estimated the potential for sales. You've projected marketing costs for each

release and have developed a projected profit and loss statement with cash flows

and balance sheets.


Assuming you've done all of that, take the time to review it and make any

updates or corrections you deem necessary.


If you haven't done it, I think it's essential that you do so. You might want to

take a look at how to do this in my newsletter on budgeting from May 2001, which

explains the process.



This is also an excellent time to think back over the present year and determine

what you'd like to do differently in the New Year. It's quite satisfying to be

able to end the year by wiping the slate clean, and starting all over on a fresh

surface with full knowledge of how you'll go about making things better.


It's also the time to review your staff and consider any changes you might want

to make. Contemplate promoting anyone who's really contributed to the benefit of

the label, and replace any person whose performance is not up to your

expectations. Think about whether you need to add staff to any critical

department, such as marketing. Will adding someone increase the label's

efficiency, and result in sufficient income to cover the cost of the new hire?


How are you doing with office space? Will you need more at some time in the near

future? If so, it might be wise to start looking while things are relatively

quiet, because when you get busy in the first quarter, you may not have the



This is also the time to check your potential need for equipment such as

computers, printers, phone systems and other office essentials. If you know

you're going to add to the staff, be sure you've budgeted for the additional

furniture, computers, etc.


Do you have an inventory of all equipment with serial numbers and location? If

not, this is an excellent time to assemble one. It can be a simple list in a

spreadsheet, or a more elaborate database.


Sort through your files and consider weeding out any that are obsolete. You

might be able to shred or toss them, but consult first with your attorney to be

sure you're not violating any laws. If they must be kept and if you're tight for

space, they can me moved to an outside storage facility, or they can be



The same holds true for old computer files, but rather than completely

destroying them, consider copying them on to CD-R disks and filing them in a

safe place. That keeps the data available, but frees up space on crowded hard



At the end of the year, obtain a count of your entire inventory at your pressing

plants and duplicators. If you own the product at your distributors -- it may be

there on consignment -- be sure to get a complete tally from them as well. And

then count what you're storing in your office or any outside warehouse you may

be using. It's a lot of work, but it's extremely important to know what you own,

and your accountant will thank you.


Review your methods and procedures used during the past year. Are they working

smoothly and efficiently? If not, the coming year is an excellent time to make

changes. If you need advice in this area, I may be able to help you. I know how

to help record industry executives manage their businesses more effectively.

I've been doing it successfully for my clients for many years, so enlist my

assistance if you need counseling in management or administrative

responsibilities. As a trusted advisor to many companies, I treat all clients

and all assignments confidentially. Call me if you'd like to see how I may be

able to help you.


Check the integrity of your computer network. Do you have a functioning firewall

that's able to keep intruders from trashing your computers and files? And do all

of your computers have virus protection software? If not, install them as soon

as possible.


Are your backup systems functioning properly? I'm assuming you've taken my

advice in previous newsletters and instituted a comprehensive backup program? If

not, start one at the very beginning of the year -- if not sooner!


Review your artist agreements. Conceivably they could be simpler and more

artist-friendly in tone, and in fact.


Take a look at your pricing policy to see if it needs revision.


Are you reaping all of the extra income possible as a result of licensing your

music to films and television?


Have you protected your valuable property by filing SR Forms with the Register

of Copyrights for all of the year's releases? If not, get them in right away.


Take a good look at your web site. Is it completely up to date with lots of

information about all of your releases? If not, make it so.


Start the year with my latest mantra -- "Plan Ahead!"


And finally, let me take this opportunity to wish you all a healthy and

prosperous New Year.




If you're interested in my book "The Complete Guide to Starting a Record

Company," and would like to be notified when it becomes available for sale,

please send me a message.


As soon as it's published I'll send you an email providing information as to

where you can buy it in both downloadable eBook (PDF) form, or as a printed,

spiral-bound book.




You can subscribe to "Manage for Success" by clicking here.


And if you have a topic you'd like me to address in future newsletters, please

call me or email:




Copyright 2003 by Keith Holzman, Solutions Unlimited. All rights reserved.