Scratch Lab founders DJs Deon “Ready D” Daniels, Ricardo “Azuhl” Nunes and Enver “E-20” Pietersen (known collectively as the Beat Bangaz) were joined by several industry experts to discuss a range of topics, from the business of music production to sound equipment and gear hire and building a personal brand.
Here are some of the top tips shared on the day. The focus may well be on the music and sound industry, but the same principles can be applied to any small business:
- Build your own brand identity
Clearly define your offering, what makes you different and how it’s relevant. A well-defined brand identity means you don’t have to work as hard to be memorable, and you don’t have to spend as much money on marketing. Find something that will leave a lasting impression, whether it’s your name, your look or one key selling point.
- Register as a business
While registering your business isn’t necessarily required to complete all business transactions, it’s a smart choice for young entrepreneurs. You’ll be taken more seriously and you can demand higher prices for your services. It will also open you up to greater opportunities as you can become an official listed vendor for bigger companies.
- Research before you buy
Keep your finger on the pulse of developments in the world of sound equipment. This will help you to make smart purchase decisions when selecting your gear. It’s important that you can rely on your equipment to never let you down, but don’t waste money on the most expensive model when a cheaper and better alternative may be available. There are some great quality options for second-hand sound equipment, especially brands like Wharfedale and Samsung, which are known for enduring quality.
- Work the network
The music business is all about who you know. Constantly strive to understand and engage with the different components and people that work together to build the sphere of sound in which you’re interested. You’ll get more business and be able to deliver better service if you’re backed by strong allies, contacts and suppliers.
- Be flexible with your gigs
Many DJs and musicians spend time chasing nightclub or concert gigs. But be sure to consider alternative events like weddings, corporate functions or private parties. Smaller events are a great way to hone your craft and generate word-of-mouth recommendations.
- Grow your own audience
An online audience translates into real world demand and social media tools can effectively grow your career with minimum spend. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, SoundCloud and Instagram all offer great potential for emerging music professionals. Focus your efforts on one or two channels that best suit your brand and work on growing your following over time.
- Don’t forget about search
Potential customers often search for “DJ services” or “sound hire” on Google and you want to make sure your brand appears at the top of the results pages. However, you don’t need your own website to achieve this – Gumtree is extremely well optimised for search, which means that simply listing your services there gives you a strong advantage. Be sure to use a good quality picture and include a concise but well-thought-out description of what you offer.
- Consistency is key
The greats are great because they stay true to who they are, and consistently deliver a top-quality experience. This applies to all elements of your business, from showing up on time, to delivering on your briefs, to posting social media content that resonates with your audience every time.
- Never stop learning
Keep building on your passion for music and commit yourself to knowing as much as you can about it. Study the greats in your genre until you understand what the techniques and elements that make a song or DJ set really work.
- Do it for the love
All the technical experience in the world won’t get you far if you don’t love what you do. Know what success means to you, and understand what fulfils you. If you practise your craft from a place of passion, success is bound to follow.
Culled: Gumtree Business of Sound Workshop, SA