All businesses need to run efficiently and sustain a high level of profitability or they will die. In the ever-changing entertainment industry this is true on so many levels. The competition is stiff and if your studio isn’t up to snuff, you will be quickly replaced by one who is. The following are some tips that are true for all kinds of studios: from post-production, production, music, vfx, to sound mixing, and on, the principal is the same.
- Productize your services
Your studio offers many services, and there are probably some you could offer that you haven’t even thought of! Try thinking of those services as products on a shelf that you sell to your clients. Create names and rates for these “products,” and keep track of it. Make “packages” of those products for common variations of what you offer. If you have more than one editor and offer their work at different prices, know that these are two different products. If you offer things that you don’t charge for, include them in your rate list and on your invoices so that the client sees what they are getting for free. Try to make your products stand out from your competition’s.
- Be confident in and stand by your rates
When you are creating the rates for your products, be very clear what the rate includes and build in a discount buffer in case you need to mark down your price for some reason. However, be very clear what that reason would be. Stand by the your rates as they reflect your value in your work. Create rates that are driven by the high quality of your work, but are still competitive. Avoid getting into pricing battles – they can be deadly over the long term. If you offer discounted rates to schools or non-profit organizations, advertise that.
- Market outside your target audience
These days every plumber, cleaning service, dog walker, lawyer, personal trainer, and daycare provider has a website. They need well-made content. Marketing to companies outside the entertainment industry could get you through the lean times. Also, with the abundance of channels, both on television and the Internet, everyone has a reality show. Make sure to market to all businesses at all levels because you never know what the next big ‘show’ will be.
- Manage your communications (calls and emails)
Schedule your calls and emails, make your calls and emails, document your calls and emails, and do the same with your follow up communications. This sounds like an obvious one, but because it is so obvious, too many people “wing it.” Think of all of your communications as mini-meetings with agendas and action items. When you schedule your follow up, think of it as the next meeting and act accordingly; write an agenda, track your completed action items and above all, make sure that all of the attendees can attend! Ask your client, “when should I follow up?” If they are unsure, take the reins and start suggesting times that work for you. The more direct you are the smoother everything will run.
- Social media and SEO
If you get even one client from your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter accounts, or website, then it is well worth the effort. Social media is where the business world lives now and you have to be part of it. When the Internet was new, not every business had a website, but now a business can’t survive without one. Social media is rapidly doing the same thing. Think of posting the same way you approach your calls and emails, schedule when you will post to each site at regular intervals and document it. Your studio’s website also needs to be easy to locate on search engines. Most companies know this, but a surprising amount of studios are letting the importance of search engine optimization slip through their fingers. The bottom line is that if you don’t have time to engage in social media or SEO, hire someone, they’ll pay for themselves by the business they generate.