When you’re starting a performing arts company, there are a lot of things you should consider before you decide to officially open your performing arts location for business. While it might seem like you can just make the decision to open a performing arts company and set up shop the next day, starting a performing arts company takes careful planning and effort. It also takes time to get ready for this new venture. If you already have a full-time job in the performing arts industry, you might also have to communicate with your managers as you transition from working full-time for someone else to working for yourself. As you get closer to opening your company, you may have to reduce your hours at your current employer or find a job that can accommodate your changing schedule as your performing arts company’s activities ramp up.
Install Safety Features
Starting a performing arts company is about more than just what types of performing arts acts you’ll book or what kind of audience you want to attract with your offerings. It’s also about making sure that your company complies with all of the safety codes and regulations of the industry, as well as local regulations related to the municipality where your business is located. In addition to a digital fire protection service, you’ll want to have safety plans in place for when a tragedy like a fire, flood, or tornado strikes.
Set Up Your Office
Setting up an office takes consideration and planning. It also demands skills like making a budget and sticking with that budget so you don’t go broke. As an article on thehartford.com explains, “Setting up an office requires you to purchase a large number of items, including industry-specific equipment, furniture, tools, and vehicles. Because expenses can be significant, you’ll need to set priorities and acquire what’s most critical for your type of business. For example, if you have a higher-end retail space, restaurant, or professional office, it’s likely to make sense to invest in design and furnishings that represent your company and provide an on-brand customer experience. However, if you’re a manufacturer or consultant, practicality, comfort, and durability may better suit you.”
When you have a performing arts business, you should also think about what kinds of services you’ll need to use to take care of the administrative side of your business like a copier service. If you don’t have a copier in your office, it’s important to find a copying service that is both affordable and efficient. On one hand, you don’t want to wait forever for copies of crucial items like programs and posters to get done. On the other hand, you’d probably rather not pay an arm and a leg just to get those items printed on your schedule. Balancing budget, time, and quality is a never-ending task that every performing arts company must do.
On top of services that help your office on a day-to-day basis while starting a performing arts company, you’ll want to know what providers you’ll need to call for maintenance or network emergencies. Although you probably won’t need to call a data center cable management service every day, there may be situations where you need them. For this reason, you could benefit from having some of those numbers on hand for situations where you’ll need them before those circumstances arise.
Create Your Business Entity
For any company, getting acquainted with business law to formally make your business officially recognized by the government is essential. When you’re starting a performing arts company, this is especially important because your business will need to follow the laws so that it doesn’t get shut down in the middle of a performance or show. While the process of creating a business entity can seem mysterious to someone who has never done it before, it actually doesn’t have to be as complicated as it may seem.
There are many types of businesses and corporations that one could establish. As irs.gov shares, “When beginning a business, you must decide what form of business entity to establish. Your form of business determines which income tax return form you have to file. The most common forms of business are the sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and S corporation. A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a business structure allowed by state statute. Legal and tax considerations enter into selecting a business structure.” Depending on how large your company is at this point and what your goals are for your company, you may benefit from starting out as one type of company and then transitioning to being another one over time as circumstances shift.
When you create your business entity as you’re starting a performing arts company, you should also think about obtaining commercial insurance. If your company has one or more employees once it’s established, it’s especially important to get affordable insurance policies like worker’s compensation insurance. Without the proper kind of insurance, your company is at risk for liability, theft, and more.
Your company’s properties such as the facilities where the performing arts shows take place could also be at risk of liability and damage. If a lawsuit comes your way and you’re uninsured, you may have no way to pay for the costs associated with the lawsuit. This could force you to claim bankruptcy and ruin your chances of being a successful performing arts business. To avoid this tragedy, you should get commercial insurance policies that suit your needs. You can speak with an insurance agent if you’re not sure what type of insurance would be most appropriate and most helpful to cover your business.
Prepare Your Finances
While it might seem like a no-brainer, you’ll need to get your finances in order when you are starting a performing arts company. To do this, you may want to hire a qualified accountant to help with the task. Otherwise, you might end up accidentally violating the law or arranging your assets in a way that does little to protect them in the event of a lawsuit related to your business or personal life.
You can also make sure that your business accounts are separate from your personal ones. This will ensure that you won’t have to lose all of your personal assets if your business is on the receiving end of a lawsuit. It will also ensure that your business assets will be relatively unaffected if you have a lawsuit related to your business occur. Overall, it’s also more professional to separate personal and professional assets and accounts. What’s more, it can make it easier to file taxes and get everything for tax season when that comes around.
Beyond the financial piece of it, separating your business and personal finances can help with your company’s image. As td.com explains “A separate business account can help make your business appear more established and reputable—when your business name appears on invoices and credit cards, for example. Like many business owners, you may initially operate under your own name, but as your business grows you may consider a DBA (‘Doing Business As’)—operating under a distinctive business name. All this can also help you appear more credible to clients, suppliers, and partners, which can in turn help build brand equity.”
Add a Marquis
Starting a performing arts company usually involves adding some sort of signage. To stand out from the crowd, you can place a custom lighted sign in a prominent place where anyone near your business will see it. Signs are important for many reasons. Firstly, a sign will tell community members where your business is. When people who have bought tickets to a show can’t find the venue, they may not want to revisit that place for another show. They may also become so frustrated and disappointed that they end up leaving a bad review of your company on your website or a reviews website. This can generate a bad reputation that can be tough to shake once it’s been established. If you want to make sure that customers, vendors, performers, and more know where your company is located, you should have a sign that is large and bold enough for them to see. You should also think about what information you want to put on the sign. If your business has an email address or phone number, you can list those on your banner sign or you can put them on a sign on the door to your business. You can also list social media handles, tag lines, and more on your sign so that all of that information is accessible to patrons.
If you want a sign that doesn’t contribute to your electric bill, calling a banner printing company may be a better option. With a banner sign, you can put all your information on the sign so that vendors, performers, and audience members who are interested in what your performing arts company has to offer.
Stock Your Costume Shop
One of the most fun parts of beginning a new chapter in life as a performing arts company CEO is selecting the items you want to include in your wig shop and costume department as a whole. Out of all of the tasks you must complete when starting a performing arts company, stocking a costume shop can feel more playful than the boring parts of this job like setting up your LLC and separating business finances from personal ones. This may be the first part of the process when you get to infuse some of your personality and vision into the company. It can also allow you to network with other performing art professionals like costume designers and tailors.
If you’ve never stocked a costume shop before, you might not know what to put in it. On a limited budget, you may also have to be selective about what items you include in your costume shop. High-end designer ball gowns might be gorgeous, but they also might take money out of your available funds that could be put to more practical uses. Additionally, the performing acts you book may have their own costumes that they would prefer to use. In this case, you’ll waste time and money if you buy your own costume and wig supply.
On top of wigs, you should have plenty of props and jewelry. You can either get authentic diamond rings or raid costume jewelry retailers for a good deal. You should also consider what types of acts you are likely to book at your venue. If your company mostly hires dancers to perform, you should choose costumes that would be suitable for the styles of dance that your performers do. On the other hand, if your company specializes in historical plays from a specific historical era, you might want to invest in costumes and wigs that reflect the fashion of that time. If you’re not sure what direction your company will take, it might be best to start with a small collection of general costumes and props. From there, you can build a more specialized collection of costumes that fits the direction of your business over time.
To conclude, starting a performing arts company takes careful planning, time, and money. It also requires dedication to your craft and years of preparation. While you can’t start a performing arts business overnight, you can take steps that will prepare you for this new venture at any time. As soon as you get an idea for a performing arts business, you can start brainstorming what that business could look like. You can also research how other performing arts enterprises have started out so you know what to expect.
Although it might feel impossible to get everything you need done to prepare your performing arts enterprise for opening day, you’re not alone in this endeavor. Even if you don’t have a business partner or team of people to help on a formal level, there are plenty of resources out there to provide advice and support to new business owners. You can also make friends and network in the industry so that by the time you open your business, you’ll have a strong support system of people who understand the struggle and the rewards of your industry.