How do you choose your bar or nightclub entertainment? Do you rely on bands to walk in your door and ask to play? Is your DJ the boyfriend of one of your bartenders? Is that the best solution for your business? You have invested your blood, sweat, tears, and money. You should be fighting tooth and nail to ensure your cash and your sweat equity don’t disappear into thin air – because we all know a bar owner who just simply lost it all!
Your entertainment choices should be governed by the same principals that govern any other investment. What kind of return am I going to get? If a band or DJ cost a little more money but are ultra-reliable, is it worth it? If a band or DJ will bring the crowd to your venue is it worth spending the money or putting up with more headache or ego? How important is my entertainment to my overall business plan? Is it worth my time and effort to sit down with my booking agent and plan out 4 or 6 weeks worth of good local/regional/national bands so that I can guarantee our entertainment is fresh and evolving for our patrons? These answers to these questions will come from your business plan and market strategy. Once you know what is best for your needs you can move forward and look at the talent that suits your needs. No matter how you answer these questions, the approach to actually hiring talent should be the same.
If you were going to invest your hard earned money in the stock market, wouldn’t you do some research? You would look at past performance. You would look at future potential. You would look a the stability, or risk, of your investment versus the rate of return. All of these principals can, and should, be applied to hiring your entertainment.
If your entertainment is an investment in your business, then taking the time to do it right is worth the time, effort, and expense. “How” you say? Think about booking your talent like any job interview. Sit down with them. Ask hard questions. Find out about past performances. Find the good and the bad. Listen closely to the professionalism of the individual your talking to.
Have a game plan and be prepared to lay it down for your prospective talent hire. Include details about how you pay, bar tabs, time-lines, type of music, and any do’s and dont’s of your particular venue. If you know your patrons prefer one type of thing over another, put that information on the table and gauge the reaction. Musicians and DJ’s are an egotistical bunch. If you don’t like the answer you get, explain your position – but be prepared to keep looking.
Of course, this takes effort on your part.
In my experience, and all too often, I see a bar owner just take what he can get. That is not in the best interest of your business. You don’t have to operate that way. With the new age of social media finding talent is much easier than it has ever been. But that is a topic for another day. I hope you walk away from this article with the idea that you can treat your entertainment options like investments. Take a few risk. But ultimately put yourself in a position for longevity through good entertainment decisions.
8ohm Nightlife Entertainment & Consulting