It’s never been harder to make money from producing music. There are a lot of studios and talented producers struggling to make ends meet.
Here are 7 tips for not only getting customers but keeping them too, 7 Ways To Build A Great Studio Business. The principles apply for studios both large and small.
Know Your Craft
There’s nothing worse than turning up for a session with an engineer who doesn’t know what they’re doing. You are going to have a lot of people coming through your studio many of them will know a lot of stuff about recording and the gear, so you need to be top of your game. It certainly doesn’t engender confidence and people remember stuff like this, they will probably tell their friends and colleagues too. Being known for a negative is not a good way to try and build a successful studio business.
Have A Great Attitude
Even if you know everything there is about making great recordings (highly unlikely) the last thing people visiting your studio need is a bad attitude. The creative process is hard enough at the best of times, remember that some of the people visiting your studio have no idea what the process entails. Even if they do they will still be anxious about getting things right. When it comes to your customers remember that they are the star - not you. Go the extra mile.
Make Sure Everything Works
A fully working studio is essential, that means no dodgy cables, crashing computers, out of tune instruments and cracked software that’s likely to crash. If something does go wrong then my advice is credit the client for any hours lost, it may not be your fault but it certainly isn’t their fault either. You may have to give them $150 back, but by not doing so you may lose thousands!
Be Ready To Work
It never ceases to surprise me how many sessions I turn up to where the engineer is the last to arrive. Then they spend an hour pissing around getting set-up before anything happens. That’s a sure fire way of getting the session off to a bad start. If the session starts at 9am then be there in plenty of time to get the studio up and running, the session set-up and the coffee machine on. A small tip, if you offer WIFI (and you should) then make sure the password is clearly displayed so that your visitors do not need to ask for it.
Offer Something Unique
Of course it seems like madness to turn away work, especially if you are quiet, but being a specialist is the best way to get a good reputation. If you record Country then it may not be a good idea to take on a Rap act, conversely if your bag is Dance then Rock may not be your best option. There are exceptions to the rule, but try and get a good reputation for being the best at something, be that your drum sound or your guitar arrangements. If you have a number of engineers, then make sure each of them has a specialist string to their bow as well as a good all round offering.
Under-promise And Over-deliver
You’ll have happy customers if you deliver more than you promised and better than expected results. Let your customers tell you how good you are rather than the other way around, it is far more powerful.
Join Industry Network
Join professional bodies, both local trade ones and industry specific ones like RIAA or the MPG. They can offer you support in the tough times and it may give you more credibility when people are looking for the right place or person to record their project. A word of caution, don’t expect to join these bodies as a rubber stamp of credibility, it takes time to build a reputation and if you’re not going to take belonging seriously, then save their time and yours and don’t bother.
The bottom line is this - reputation is tomorrow’s profit, get a good one and there’s less of a chance that you will join the ever growing list of studios that are no longer in business.