A lot of artists don't realize that creating workflows, checklists, and standard operating procedures (SOPs) can greatly increase the output of their work. In fact, it can result in a much better, consistent career for you since practically everything you do will be outlined in an easy to follow format.
Many companies use SOPs. In fact, nearly every successful business uses them. Look at the training procedures of fast food restaurants, retail companies, and software giants. Not to mention the grandfather of SOPs, the railroads. In fact, SOPs came about because of a terrible train crash in the 1800s.
By implementing workflows and SOPs in your band (your business), you can help avoid costly, time-wasting mistakes. Watch this video to find out more!
What were your thoughts on the video? Will you now be working on adding some checklists to repeated tasks in your band's business?
Do you want help making your band more efficient by using systems and workflows? Sign up for The Better Band Bureau mailing list to get a free 30 minute mentor session!
Hey everyone, welcome back to another video here on The Better Band Bureau!
I hope you all had an awesome week, I know I sure did.
So this week we're gonna be talking about systems, processes, and workflows and how those are important to your career as an artist.
Jumping right into it, let's say that maybe at some point you forgot an item at a venue after playing a show or you neglected to advance something if you do advances which I highly recommend you do, we'll get to that later, or it could have been something to do with releasing music maybe you forgot to upload the files or you just uploaded the wrong files to Spotify and sent the mixed version instead of the master version, things like that do happen.
So having processes for all of this really does help because it can make you avoid some of the easy mistakes that can be made. And I know this because it's happened to me.
I have made mistakes including with these videos!
For example when I shoot them, I have to turn down the screen on my computer so it's not glaring bright in my face which shows up in the video. So I've created a checklist to remind me of the proper steps I need to do to make these videos, and it's the same thing for you as a band.
If you have checklists, if you have systems in place, it makes your life a lot easier and you usually will finish things in a shorter amount of time.
so a little anecdote here: Years ago I was running sound for a local radio station and we had a band coming in to do a live session and everyone was really excited we were all super stoked. And the band showed up, we were setting up doing line checks all that and all of a sudden the bass player says “I don't have my bass.”
What happened was that the band met up partway on the drive to the radio station and switched cars. And during the switch, the bass player left his bass in the other vehicle.
Usually this would be a showstopper, but the band really wanted to play so the bass player drove 20 minutes to the nearest music store, bought the cheapest bass he could find, and then played the set 45 minutes late using that bass.
This shows that the band really wanted to do the show and they still made it happen no matter what but it was a major inconvenience for everyone and it could have been easily avoided if they had a gear manifest.
So the solution to all of this is creating workflows and systems so you can ensure that there is a level of consistency in what you do from show to show, or from tour to tour, or from music release to music release, or if you do blogs or vlogs for the band you can make sure that all of these come across in a consistent controlled manner to fit your brand and to make your life easier.
Some ideas that you could consider are, as I mentioned before, a gear manifest which is essentially a list of all the gear that you take on the road. When I've done this in the past I've set it up so that each member has a prefix and let's say in a four-piece band that's one, two, three, and four, and then a two digit number.
So for example, anything belonging to the lead vocalist if he has let's say his own microphone we could label that as band name one zero one and it goes in the manifest with SM58 number one zero one and then who's responsible for it.
And typically people will be responsible for their own things, their own items, but if you have crew that could change or sometimes other people help out the drummer because they have a disproportionate amount of gear.
So I had it set up that everything in the 100's belongs to vocals, 200's is lead guitar, 300's is rhythm guitar 400's is bass, 500's is drums, and then 600 was anything miscellaneous like merch.
Really easy system to keep track of things and you can just look at the number on the case and then check it off on your manifest as you're loading out to make sure you don't forget anything at the venue.
Obviously, personal items aren't on the gear manifest you could add them but I find that it's just best to have personal responsibility and do a dummy check: as you're leaving make sure everybody has their own stuff.
Another thing you could have is a music release checklist.
So you create a process based on who your distributor is and say okay well we have the master files now this is what we do we do XYZ with DistroKid, Tunecore, whoever you use it really doesn't matter. But you create a process so you know that every time you go through the steps the same way and nothing is missed.
Another really important thing is an advance sheet.
Basically what this is is you have lists of what you're bringing and what you require and you call up the promoter or the production manager or the sound guy or whoever it is at the venue, depending on what level venue it is, and talk to them about what you need tech wise for the show. And you let them know what you're bringing so they can then have a good idea of what to expect and can pass it on to the sound guy or if they are the sound guy themselves they have that knowledge and they know what to expect.
This makes for a much smoother show day of than it would be otherwise.
Another important thing about the advance is that if there's something that the venue can't handle or can't provide, when you would do the advance the production manager whoever your contact is will let you know that they can't handle that so there's no bad surprise for you.
At the same time the venue contact will be writing down what you have and mentally making a checklist of their own so they have exactly what you need.
Now, something that should go with this when you do in advance is you should always have a stage plot ready.
There are different types of software that can do this I like to use Stage Plot Pro, they have a 30-day free demo you can sign up for that, make a stage plot, and as long as your stage setup doesn't change then you don't really need to purchase it.
However, if you are gonna be a frequent user I definitely do recommend purchasing it because it's a great piece of software that I think you should support.
Another thing you can systematize is your day of show preparations.
So this would go hand in hand with your gear manifest and let's say you're packing your van or trailer to go do a one-off show, you look at your gear manifest make sure you have all the items you need for that show then you check off a few other things: do you have merchandise? Yes.
Do you have the address so you can get to the venue? Yes.
Do all the members know what time to be there if you're not traveling together? Hopefully that's yes.
Just different things depending on the situation that make sure that everyone's on the same page, and having a shared Google Doc for information or something like that really does help.
There are specific tour management programs out there like Master Tour, but they're pretty expensive. Master Tour I believe is 50 bucks a month so that's really only when you're getting up there and level that you should consider using that. But, if you're up there and you're playing shows regularly and you're making a decent income I definitely recommend looking into Master Tour or other alternatives that do similar things.
Now here's the kicker: anything you plan on doing more than two to three times should have some kind of process in place.
So, playing shows? Definitely have a process.
Releasing music? You're probably gonna have more than two or three releases. I hope you do!
I hope you're not, you know, a one-hit wonder who never releases anything else that would be terrible. That's not a career to have.
You could do social media posts have a checklist for the process of creating and posting posts. That way you have some consistency across posts.
These are just a few examples, there are many things that you can create checklists for like booking shows, reaching out to people, following up, it's incredibly important to follow up when you are booking shows.
If you don't hear back from the promoter of the venue, follow up, follow up, follow up. The worst thing that can happen is they say, “no, we don't have availability on that date” or, “no, sorry we don't want to book you.” No harm done!
As long as you're not spamming them it's fine. If you follow up once every week or two until you get a reply, that's perfectly reasonable and in fact it's very standard in business.
So you can have systems to follow up have a spreadsheet that indicates how often and when you follow it up or set reminders or do something something that works for you. And we'll have some information on follow ups and the easiest way to do that in the future, but for right now we'll just stick with keep it simple stupid, K.I.S.S. just do what you can.
Creating these systems will give a massive benefit after just using it a few times. The time you take to build these systems will just astronomically pay off, so I really encourage you to do it.
If you have questions, please leave a comment I'm happy to help.
You also work faster when you create these systems because the next step is always laid out for you, so you don't have to think about, “oh ok now I did this what do I do next?” it's just “ok, I did A, now I move on to B, then I move on to C.”
It's very easy to just go down a checklist or through a workflow and see, “okay, this is what I'm doing.”
Another benefit of systems and processes is that you can reliably hand out these tasks to other band members if they're willing to help. And this will take some of the workload off of you but ensure that the work is still done in a good and consistent manner.
Now, there should be a discussion amongst the band members about who will take on what work and everyone should be pulling their weight in some way.
So with all these systems, you can see what takes how long and divvy up the tasks in a fair and equal manner. This way everybody in the band does little and no one is overwhelmed by doing all the business themselves.
Dividing tasks by category is something that I strongly recommend, for example you could have one person do touring, one person do social media, one person do music releases. Just divide it up in some logical way. You want to have each person have ownership of their own little section of the band and have that responsibility.
One last important system or document you should have, is something outlining the tasks and responsibilities of each band member that you all agree to and it should not be forced on anyone it should be very democratic and say hey you know if I do this can you do this or are you okay with that or would you rather do this and you know give people the option to change things up when you're first creating this so no one's outside their comfort zone.
Then, once you've all agreed on it, write this town and each of you sign it. And it's not a legal contract or anything but it's just for accountability saying okay, Bob is gonna do this, Dave is gonna do this, Tom is gonna do this.
And that way, if at some point something doesn't get done you can bring it up, say “hey you know, we have this accountability sheet which said what we're each responsible for, we just wanted to remind everyone. Can we please take a look at this and if it's not working anymore let's renegotiate it?” That way you have a comfortable way of bringing things up to people that, “hey you're slacking off.” Without saying it.
So I highly recommend having that system in place to reduce or avoid conflict within your band.
That about wraps it up for the video this week, but I'm still running my free coaching offer if you sign up for The Better Band Bureau mailing list, which will be in the comments or description below, you will get a free 30-minute coaching session with me.
And I would love to talk to you in that 30 minutes about how you can systematize your band and take your career to the next level with consistency and ensuring that nothing goes wrong.
So if you want to chat about systemization or anything else really, as long as it's band or business related, go sign up for that link down below and I look forward to talking to you soon.
Thanks so much for watching everyone, I hope you have an awesome week and I'll see you next week!
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