Having an idea for turning your passion for music into business is exciting.
But it starts getting complicated—maybe even overwhelming—the more you think about everything it takes to turn your dream into a reality.
Don’t get discouraged, though. Every music store you’ve ever seen started with an aha! moment. It’s not easy, to be sure, but it’s not impossible. Taking baby steps, one at time, will simplify the process and build your confidence as you go along.
The first step is shaping up your idea. You want to start a music business, but what do you want it to be? A retail instrument outlet? If so, do you want to offer everything from bagpipes to banjos or specialize in woodwinds? On the other hand, maybe you see yourself running a wholesale enterprise. Online, brick-and-mortar, or both? You’ll do a lot of picking and choosing in this step, but one thing you should remember: Stay flexible. As you work your way through the steps, you might end up rethinking this first thought.
Next up: Due diligence. Research your sales market. First, do you have any competition in your preferred area. If not, that can be a good thing or a bad thing. You can be first to market—which is a huge advantage. On the other hand, the absence of competition might mean there’s no demand for music stores. If there are other music stores, get to know the products they sell, what services they provide, and their pricing structures. Whatever answers you land on, you’ll want to think about what you can do to differentiate yourself or pick another location. For more information, check out this article from Harvard Business School Online, “How to Conduct Market Research for a Startup.”
Once you vet the viability of your vision, you’ll need a business plan. As Benjamin Franklin said, by failing to plan, you are preparing to fail. This a vital part of getting your business off the ground, and if you’re not sure where to start get a copy of Creating a Business Plan for Dummies. Not that you are a dummy, but if you don’t get the strategy right, the road ahead is going to get a lot more difficult. At the very least, your business plan should outline your goals and how you will measure progress toward them, target audience, marketing strategies, and financial projections.
If all the lights are still green, it’s time to wrangle with the legal intrigue of launching and running a business. Will it be a sole proprietorship, S-Corp, C-Corp, DBA, or sole proprietorship. Laws are written to ensure lawyers make money. Do it yourself legal assistance programs such as LegalZoom aren’t law offices, but do provide the paperwork and walk you through completing it, as well as business tax services.
While music in and of itself is a creative endeavor, starting a music business requires a fair amount of left-brain execution. But instead of viewing that aspect as a necessary evil, see it as a base note from which the proverbial melody of your successful music business will soar!