Manage for Success: The Bigger Picture, Newsletter #46, February 2005

"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 2005 by Keith Holzman, Solutions Unlimited. All rights reserved.

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Having just gotten back from a brief but lovely vacation I returned to work with a new and somewhat altered perspective. Vacations are not just for recharging batteries. They also allow you to get away from the minutia of everyday life, especially business life, with all of its attendant details. Such time away offers an excellent opportunity to look at what you do in a new light -- examining your daily chores, but more important -- providing you an opportunity to focus on the bigger picture.

In our daily life we're usually bogged down with essentially minor details. As a result we often lose perspective on what we might really want to achieve.

For example, are you able to balance your personal workload, yet find meaningful time for family and friends?

Think about the music you release. Are you bringing exciting new artists and music to the public? Here’s another way to look at it -- are you making a contribution to our culture, and the world at large? Is all of your hard work worth something, or is it merely a way to earning a living? Of course there's nothing inherently wrong with the latter, but it's ever so much more rewarding when you can look back on the albums you've released and realize that you've helped give joy to many people. For myself, I look back with great delight at the many recordings I was involved with or helped shepherd to a large public. That's an accomplishment I'm extremely proud of.

Therefore I suggest you look at your own releases and see if you derive similar satisfaction at what you've helped to create.

Here are a few more things to consider.

Are you releasing too few -- or too many -- recordings?

If you have a music publishing company are you deriving maximum benefit from your copyrights?

How about the ways you do business. Are you satisfied with your working relationships, or could they be improved? Now is a great time to revise business practices and improve the way you relate to people, whether in your own office, or with artists, suppliers, distributors, and retailers, not to mention your buying public.

Is your marketing persuasive and are you getting the most out of your marketing dollars? Are you finding new and clever ways to promote your music to make the public aware of it? Are you making effective use of the email addresses you've been gathering to let your public know about new releases they might like and want to buy?

Are you pricing your releases at what the public seems willing to pay, or are they too high -- or too low?

Is your web site up to date, full of useful information for the public, offering lots of music to listen to, and most important, engendering significant business to your on-line shopping cart?

Are you getting what you need from your attorneys and accountants?

Is your distribution working well, or might you do better by making some changes? Are you making effective use of street teams?

Are you operating efficiently, is your staff sufficiently capable, and are you getting the maximum from their efforts?

Are you frequently finding yourself late with one thing or another or behind the eight ball because you hadn't planned sufficiently ahead? Are you making use of strategic planning -- and contingency planning?

Are your budgeting your recordings, their marketing, and your label operations so you know where you are financially and cash-flow-wise at all times?

I recommend that you look at your business systems. Are you getting all the information you need when you need it in order to make meaningful decisions? Does the data exist, but it isn't available to you in a way that makes sense, or you can't access it or massage it in a meaningful way?

Look at the daily routines. Is a lot of the work boring and repetitive? Of course there's always some of this, but is it getting you to the goal of selling more music to a greater public? Are your computers and their programs making your life easier -- as they're supposed to do -- or are they making your life miserable?

Consider replacing hardware that's slow and out of date with newer, speedier PCs or Macs. Replace computer programs that aren't giving you the information you need when you need it.

If any of these items is bogging you down, call me to see how I may be able to assist. I've spent many years improving business and management systems for my clients -- at labels large and small -- so let me help your record label to "manage for success."

Besides my personal help, you might consider getting answers on how to solve some of the above problems by looking at many of the previous newsletters in this series. They're all posted on my web site on the "articles" page <http://www.HolzmanSolutions.com/articles.html>.

Until next month,

Keith Holzman -- Solutions Unlimited

Helping Record Labels Manage for Success.

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Copyright 2005 by Keith Holzman, Solutions Unlimited. All rights reserved.