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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » How do I go about writing a buinsess plan for magic? (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Greg_Magic
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Taking the advice of Mind-Pro, he suggested that I write a businessl plan and really look as performing magic and entertaining as a business. So that what I am going to try and do. However, I have never written a business plan before so is there anyone that might can guide me? Or point me to some websites that might be able to help?
TomBoleware
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The Small Business Administration offers all kinds of help for businesses. And remember, the magic business is not much different than any other business. In fact I recommend you get to know some of the local business owners. The more you know about business in general the more you can grow your own business. I've owned several businesses over my life time and it all comes down to one thing, taking care of customers. Those who go into a business to solve their own problems rather than those of their customers, rarely succeeds in reaching their goals and developing a business. You build a strong business the same way you build a strong building, one customer (brick) at a time.

http://www.sba.gov



Tom
"Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week"--Lori Greiner

www.tomboleware.com
Greg_Magic
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Thanks Tom. I will check out that website today when I get off work. Maybe after a nap though...lol
TomBoleware
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Yes do take a nap, because a day without a nap is like a cupcake without frosting. Smile

Lot of good articles on the site. Do bookmark it for later.
One on writing a plan is here: http://www.sba.gov/tools/sba-learning-ce......ess-plan


Tom
"Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week"--Lori Greiner

www.tomboleware.com
Mindpro
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I disagree with Tom (imagine that!-lol). The one thing I believe more than anything else, the one thing I've said and repeated more than anything else, the one thing any of my coaching students have heard from the very beginning, and the one thing that anyone that has my previously released materials knows, is the single-most thing I believe more than anything else regarding the business of entertainment is that entertainment is NOT like conventional business, and entertainment business has its own set of rules and characteristics.

Take a look at any struggling performer or entertainment business and I am willing to bet 100% of the time it is because they are running their business poorly and/or trying to run their business by conventional methods. This in my opinion is wrong and the greatest mistake performers can make, period.

It's like trying to put a square peg in a round hole. By design and the nature of our business it simply doesn't work. So the first point is to learn and understand these differences and why. Until this everything else is simply just a chance. Now I know others here will disagree, and that is expected.

You are at a crucial point where you are building a foundation. doing it wrong or incorrectly can create cracks or a weak foundation from which everything else from this point on will be based upon.

My advice as a starting point is to first create a two column list, created in true 100% honesty, regardless of others thoughts or influence or perspectives. Your absolute true thoughts. On one side - what you want, what is important to you and your "must have's". In the other column things you absolutely do not want.

For example - do you want to be part time or full-time? What markets do you want to focus on and why? What knowledge and experience do you have on these markets? What type of performance in these markets do you want to do - strolling, closeup, stage, etc. Why? Do you truly understand these markets? Do you have a show? Not just 6-12 effects that you put together to create a performance but an true show, with an opening beginning, logical progression, peak, close and other desired elements in between.

Identify the performance or show you'd ultimately like to have and why? What do you see as your positioning in the market - lower mid or premium? What do you need to do to acquire the show you desire? What skills are required, what education is needed? What are your timetables? What do you currently have and what are you willing to invest?

These and all the other questions I posed to you in the other thread about your web site. Once these are well thought through and identified, then a list of both short-term and long-term goals should be created based on these needs and desires. Then you set out to create the logical steps in order to one by one start attaining these goals.

This is just a quick starting point as a basic general response. You must also decide the best way to go about this based on your own timetables. You can learn it yourself by trial and error the way many do over time, or you can get some personal training, coaching and consulting to assist you which usually results in quicker, more specific or direct results. There are several here that offer such services as well as some entertainment business programs. Some specialize in a specific market others more all-encompassing. Again, a decision you must decide.

My other common word of advice is to stop looking at yourself as a magician. This is very limiting and very common with many beginners and newcomers. Your goal should be to be an "entertainer." There is a huge difference in almost every aspect of how you proceed - how you are perceived by potential clients, how you structure your show, how you operate your business, how you set your prices, the content of your website, promo and video demo, your positing within your market(s), how you invest in yourself - literally everything (especially in the three markets you mention you'd like to become established in). don't try to be a general performer and try to be all things to all people or markets.

Don't fall into the trap of thinking about your act in the sense of the tricks or effects you use, but rather the entertainment value. A good entertainer can easily take the stage without a single trick, effect or gimmick and be extremely entertaining.

A great example of this was I was once called on the phone to help an immediate dire situation. A bus trip of 80 adults 45-90 years old traveled 90 minutes to come to an outdoor festival. It was pouring - raining terribly. By the time they got there the event was cancelled. I received a call to see if I could be there within 10 minutes (I made it in eight) and try to "do something" and entertain this group of unruly, hot, pi***d and disappointed bus full of people. I showed up with nothing - zilch, zero, and entertained them for 75 minutes. By the end they were rolling on the floor as I received a standing ovation then stayed around another 30 minutes posing for pictures and signing autographs.

I did not do one single thing from my show or any material or content that I had ever done before - strictly me on the spot, off the cuff. I use this to demonstrate my point between a magician and an entertainer.

These are a great point to start. Much at your point is understanding and perspective and to realize you don't know what you don't know. Then set out to learn that which you don't now.

As for the Simon Cowell compliment(?), don't confuse a misperception with being direct and blunt. I have simply stated the obvious with regard to your web site. If you want advice in a pretty package with a ribbon on it, sprinkled with fairy dust, you won't get it from me (others here will so stand by), but you will get from me time-tested information that is based on real-world experience. Hear the message not the delivery.

I'll stop for now. Best of luck.
Greg_Magic
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Mindpro - Wow what a post! Thank you so much for taking the time to really break things down for me. I am starting to realize that I think I have been overrating myself as a performer. I will do as you have advised though and make my list.

Also, where would I even look for an entertainer coach or something like what you described to help me get my show together?
charliecheckers
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Quote:
On May 10, 2014, TomBoleware wrote:
The Small Business Administration offers all kinds of help for businesses.
http://www.sba.gov
Tom

This is very true. I utilized this service to learn how to set up a business as well as received some advice on taxes and laws that govern businesses. It was time well spent and the price was right.
Close.Up.Dave
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I took to heart some time ago that mindpro says entertainment is not like normal business. I do agree, but a lot of the same principles of profitability, positioning, etc can be applied to any business.

Something that has worked for me is to separate the magician side of me from the business side. Yes I love magic, performing, etc. But I also have to love making money, talking with clients, market trends, and more. What I love about magic is not necessarily what people want to buy. Please reread that last sentence because it can save you a lot of time

That doesn't mean you do what everyone else is doing. It means you bring your own uniqueness to the needs and wants of the people who need a service like yours. And do everything you can to match your vision, with the honesty towards yourself tells yourself what you need to do to serve others. You learn a lot about yourself, and adapt in ways you never thought you would when you decide you want to make a business out of magic. Glad to say, while all of my ultimate goals are still being achieved, I've grown and slowly created the meaningful life I've wanted.
Mindpro
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On May 10, 2014, TomBoleware wrote:
In fact I recommend you get to know some of the local business owners. The more you know about business in general the more you can grow your own business. I've owned several businesses over my life time and it all comes down to one thing, taking care of customers. Those who go into a business to solve their own problems rather than those of their customers, rarely succeeds in reaching their goals and developing a business. You build a strong business the same way you build a strong building, one customer (brick) at a time.

Tom


While I disagreed with Tom's first point, I do agree with these sentiments. It is about separating your performing from the business (two separate things that must happen and progress simultaneously) and understanding the needs and interests of your target customers in the markets you choose to serve. There are two sets of markets - consumer markets and professional markets and each operates and is served differently.

Networking with local business owners is a great idea if they are your target customers. If not, find who the major players are in your specified markets and network with them - WHEN YOU ARE READY. It is all about serving the customer's needs and providing valuable customer service to back your specifically crafted performance(s).

Buying entertainment is much different that most other products or services your potential clients buy. Many other factors are involved rather than saying buying a refrigerator, car or pair of shoes. You need to understand these.

Hope this helps in your gathering of information and ideas. I've still got several hours until my 3:00 a.m. showtime, here bored at the hotel, so I thought I'd offer a bit more insight.
Michael Messing
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On May 10, 2014, Mindpro wrote:
... the one thing that anyone that has my previously released materials knows, is the single-most thing I believe more than anything else regarding the business of entertainment is that entertainment is NOT like conventional business, and entertainment business has its own set of rules and characteristics. ...


Do you still have these materials available? If so, where would I get info on them? (I tried to private message you but you are over the limit for messages.)
Jesse Lewis
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Greg

This is a great topic and I think mindpro has done a great job of helping you out he is right this business is not like any other business. The closest thing to this business in my opinion would be a car dealership. Its a High end product people buy once in a while with no loyalty unless a good relationship is built with the dealership.

I want to add more to what has been said and let you know what has made my business as successful as it is.

1. Targeting one specific group at a time: I focused energies on one specific group until I had that market up and running and it was running within a few months of starting out.
For me the easiest way to go about targeting is creating a customer "avatar" that I would then market too within the market. By doing this it made the prospect real in my head, I could figure out their wants needs and desires and market to them in a way that suits them. How can I contact these people most effectivly?

2. Positioning yourself in that market:
What is your story? How can you use your personal experiences to suit the ideal client? What materials will they need to book you? what messageing fits the needs of the market?

3. Engaging:
Simply put what is the most effective way to market to them right now, everything works you just have to figure out what works best for your ROI.

4. Systemize it: any repeatable process, emails, phone scripts, contracts, and anything else can be systemized to create real valuable customer service and real relationships. Building these are the key to repeat bookings

5. Automate as much as possible: once you know a basic system you want to follow automate the process have templates for emails, phone scripts and specific times that marketing, proposals, contracts, follow up go out.

Do those five things starting out and you will be ahead of the game in many ways.


It is odd I am actually working on a video series to help performers do these very things!
Jesse
Learn how to build a bigger business at www.showbizsuccesssecrets.com
TomBoleware
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On May 11, 2014, Jesse Lewis wrote:

This is a great topic and I think mindpro has done a great job of helping you out he is right this business is not like any other business. The closest thing to this business in my opinion would be a car dealership. Its a High end product people buy once in a while with no loyalty unless a good relationship is built with the dealership.

Jesse


Now would that comparison be to a new car dealer are a used car dealer? I hope we not comparing the magician to a used car dealer. Smile

Just joking, although there are lessons we can learn from all the different businesses. True that every industry has its own little rules. But when the day is done, the only difference in selling a two dollar hot dog and a thousand dollar magic show is, $998.00. They both are in the exchange business, They both depend on the customer. They both must utilize some age old business practices that has stood the test of time. Business is business. Always has been always will be. We can certainly learn much from all the different business minds.



Anyway Greg, before we overload you with information and you get bogged down in planning, let me remind you that when it's all said and done, more will have been said than done, and it really shouldn't be that way. The only thing that will matter is what you do, not what you plan on doing.

Now let me tell you the story about the young thinker and doer that I wrote about one time.

One day Jimmy asked Sally if she would like to help him set up a lemonade stand during the upcoming garage sale. Sally was a very creative girl. She had a lot of ideas and she set right to work.


“We need a big sign – what should we call ourselves?” she said.


“Should we set it up by the street or by the garage?”


Sally had a million questions:

Homemade lemonade or made from a mix?

Regular or pink lemonade?

What size should the cups be?

Paper or plastic?

Would Jimmy mind if they sold the lemonade in pink cups?

How much would they charge?

She had learned how to make brownies last week; should they sell brownies too?

What if some people are on a diet; should they also sell sugar-free lemonade?

What if someone just wants water?

What if someone likes it sweeter?

What if…

What if…


As they talked, it got late. The “what ifs” never seemed to end. They still hadn’t finished going through all the details, but Jimmy had to go home for dinner.


The next day, Jimmy got up early. Without worrying about Sally’s million questions, he wrote a simple supply list and went with his mom to the grocery store. He bought cups, lemons, sugar, ice, and a poster board.


He made some lemonade, wrote “Lemonade – 50 cents” on the poster board, and set it all up on a little table during the garage sale.


He sold a lot of lemonade that day. In fact, he made enough money to invite Sally to the movies that afternoon.


Are you one of those people who get so caught up in all the details that you can’t get started on a project? Are you surrounded by people like that?


Like Jimmy, you’ll accomplish the most when you can focus on the core plan, consider the most important details, and then take decisive action.


Being creative and thinking of new ideas is a great quality for brainstorming sessions. When planning out where you want to be in five years and what you’d like to accomplish, it’s great to think in big and broad terms!


But when it comes to an effective course of action, here’s the best plan:


Decide which of your possibilities makes the most sense right now.


Get rid of the fluff. Take action, tackling one detail at a time.


When we allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by the details, we become paralyzed into a state of inaction and hopelessness. We then lose sight of the big picture.


When you feel that a project is becoming too cumbersome and may never get off the ground, it may be time to reflect on the question: “What is my big picture?”


Once you refocus on your greater purpose, you can work on the important details first, then grow as necessary. Bogging yourself down with an overly complicated plan only opens the doors to procrastination and failure. Don’t let the fine details overwhelm you and keep you from achieving your goals! Throw out those extraneous details and organize the important ideas, taking one step at a time.





Tom
"Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week"--Lori Greiner

www.tomboleware.com
magic4children
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magic4children
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Sorry, I meant to put this in but pressed submit instead of preview.

We magicians are a strange breed. We think we can do it all ourselves. We think we can put on theatre shows without the help of a director. We think we can just put up a website and that is our marketing done. We think we are the only business that doesn’t need a business plan; I have a great show and therefore the money will start flowing.

In these videos I take you through the areas we need to cover in making a plan.

This is the just of the blog post, Link above, I hope it is of use.
Robin4Kids
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On May 14, 2014, magic4children wrote:
Try this http://www.magicianbusiness.com/business......gicians/


Great stuff! This really gives you a great outline for developing a solid plan to work from.
Greg_Magic
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Magic4Children - Thanks for the link. I will check that out on my lunch break today.
Greg_Magic
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TomBoleware - Great post! I'm definitely tend to bog myself down with details and end up not doing anything on lots of things...not just with magic. I need to figure out what I need to do know to help achieve my larger goals for the future.
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