…and here’s the final instalment of this fairlight reflection.
For the expansion plan of the studio business to work properly we need to identify and establish channels of customers to feed our pipeline – thank you to David Knull for getting me thinking about all this and for bestowing upon me a sliver of your sales wisdom. This requires primarily getting in touch with sources of bands and artists, and while word-of-mouth is getting us off the ground in terms of bands to shoot our seminal content with, it will not sustain us in the future as we push to have at least three bands through the studio each week.
The first thing to do is to assemble a list of music labels and distribution houses that we can get in contact with in a push to become one of their go-to audio-visual Studios that they can refer their artists to. We are making headway here and have recently befriended a producer at a local reputable music label. This is only the tip of the Iceberg in terms of setting up a pipeline, but it gives us useful insight into Another thing that is becoming increasingly important as our work load increases is assembling the necessary templates of legal documents and contracts to protect us going forwards.Our current plan is to contact London’s pubs, bars and venues which have begun to offer a greater quantity of live music since the 2012 Live Music Act decreased the bureaucracy and licensing fees associated with holding a live music event. We hope to be able to form relationships with the venue managers and promoters, as well as the bands themselves, to promote our services and to recommend Fairlight Studios to acts in need of recorded material. We are also working towards establishing local tour routes for artists established with us, and these venue connections will with any luck become beneficial for everyone involved.
Recent Enterprise workshops run by Dwain Reed have rekindled the residual appreciation within me from my law degree for an efficient and effective contract. Obviously the biggest stumbling block here is the time and expense that goes into finding the right law firm to deal with our business, but this is something that will be worth its weight in gold should we ever need to protect our rights to work that we have contributed to – a situation that more likely in the audio-visual sector than many others… To this end we have recently begun discussions with a university friend of mine as to him acting as company secretary, and he has set up a meeting with a start-up lawyer for this Tuesday. Fingers crossed everything goes well, and we should have the ball rolling for delivery of a template contract that provides us with coverage for our general B2B relationships. What is more of an awkward issue to deal with is just how to actually implement contracts into our existing relationships.
Being a start up, we are relying heavily upon a network of friends and associates to help get us off the ground, and we are very lucky that many of those involved with Fairlight Studios are doing work completely free and as a favor to us. This does not negate the need for protection however, and without a properly binding agreement, there is nothing to stop our web developer for example, holding our website ransom in 10 years time when we actually have something worth protecting. (Alex, if you’re reading this – we love you and in no way expect this from you). That being said, a conversation needs to take place and it’s not entirely one that I’m looking forward to, but as with many decisions , sometimes the necessary evil now prevents the unnecessary later on. As we expand, lawyering up will only become a more complex challenge to undertake, so it’s far better to start now.
So to summarise, things are looking positive and work is coming in without much of a sales effort yet being made on our part. In order to be in a position for Fairlight Studios to expand over the next year’s into a profitable business however, we will need to streamline our production process, focusing more on dealing with in house development, audio production, and video filming, but out-sourcing the time consuming video editing work to a network of editors. This includes creating pipelines of new business into the studio by building relationships with the appropriate channels. We will need to keep a careful eye on our prices to make sure we are able to increase them to reflect our growing experience as a company and the value that we bring to the client, and we will need to get involved in contracting with all of our customers, employees and consultants to protect ourselves and to stimulate a clear and precise discussion of what is expected in each circumstance. If everything continues smoothly, we should be in a position by 2017 to pull out all the stops and get working full steam, aiming to have the studio booked out 5 days a week and to be working with artists who are able to output the quality of work that we need to put Fairlight Studios on the map.