At the beginning of the pandemic, I called everyone I knew for advice. I’m talking big time theater people, as well as big time business people.
“What should I do?”
I got amazing advice. And it reminded me how important it was to ask for advice from others who are at places in their lives where you want to be. (And not just from a business “producer’s perspective” . . . but from a family perspective, a health perspective, a spiritual perspective, and more.)
One of the best pieces of advice I got was . . . “Ken, the people and companies who are going to come out of this ahead are the ones who are going to make use of this time.”
“But how,” I wondered. “Give me something practical I can do while I can’t do theater? I need a to-do list!”
“First, realize you’re not the only one whose business is shut down,” she said.
“Right,” I thought.
“Second, now is a great time for businesses to look at the plumbing of their business.”
I must have looked as confused as my 3-year-old when I asked her if she wanted to watch golf instead of Frozen.
“I don’t have plumb -,” I started to say.
“I’m not talking about literal plumbing. I’m talking about the stuff that makes your business operate. Open up the walls. Clean out the metaphorical closets. Fix the things that you never have a chance to fix when you are working as fast as I know everyone in the theater works when you’re blasting towards an opening night.”
So that’s what we did. A few examples of how we looked at our “plumbing” over the last 15 months?
Redesigned my company and this blog site from top to bottom. (They re-launch in September – watch for the announcement)
Established “flexible hours” and “flexible vacation” work schedule for all my employees.
Took over the bookkeeping of my office myself to understand how we could make it more efficient. (Cutting costs was pretty important through the last year.)
Had the entire office take unconscious bias training.
Established partnerships with charity.
Established a new plan for social media.
Read at least 30 books on business and wellness.
Hired a business coach to help us figure out how to work on the plumbing of my business.
Closed three businesses that were taking up my time and not aligned with my goals.
I don’t tell you all this to say . . . “Look what we did.”
I tell you all these to give you ideas on what you can do . . . before the theater roars back at breakneck speed.
Because this pandemic is ending. And it will end. Despite this annoying last ditch attempt by the Delta variant. And despite the annoying individuals who are promoting anti-vaccination misinformation.
Already there is a frantic pace amongst the Broadway TheaterMakers I talk to daily.
So if you want to look at the plumbing of your business . . . and you should . . . time is running out.
Oh, and if you’re a one-person band, artrepreneur, TheaterMaker . . . and don’t think you’re a business . . . the first thing you should do . . . is realize you are one. 🙂
Opening up the walls and addressing what keeps you running isn’t the fun part of what we do. There is no standing ovation for a clean Quickbooks account.
But it’s one of the many things that will make the next year your best yet.
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If you need some referrals for “plumbers” or people who can take your theatermaking business to the next level, from websites, to logo designers to bookkeepers, email me. We love connecting theatermakers with people who can help them clean up and step up their game.