January 8, 2012

The Business Side of Second Life Music - For The Struggling Venue

Back in 2006 when I first joined Second Life and started performing live, there were already many, many venues holding live music events. After performing for a while, I noticed something, common among the many that were disappearing: Lack of a plan.

As a business owner in real life, one of the first things I did when forming my businesses was to create a short business plan. It was by no means elaborate but identified the key elements of the goals I was hoping to achieve. Of course making a profit was first on the list, but among the other top contenders for the higher bullet points was Successful Marketing. I know I've mentioned this in a previous post but I just wanted to elaborate on it a bit and offer an idea.

Many would contend that "Second Life business is not like Real Life". I completely disagree.

Running a business in Second Life is very similar to running a business in real life. There is overhead, staff, payroll, profit and loss and if you've formed the business legally in your state or country, there are taxes to consider from the income you earn. You create a or offer a product and/or service and hope the public will get on board, like it and purchase it. If you've incorporated, there are other facets of the business to consider. I won't get into business law and I'm by no means a pro on it, but among all, there needs to be active and continual marketing. Without at least a plan on how a business is going to get the word out about themselves, well as the saying goes, you might be "pissing in the wind"!

When you first start a business, SL or RL, a business really needs to focus on the "how's" of spreading their name to let the world know they "exist".free, free, music, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, blog, free, free, free, music, pr, baby, son, kid, child, love, seo,blog,free,free,free,free,free, live music, make money, money, free money, gift, gifts, seth regan, mankind tracer, secondlife, second life, sl, facebook, twitter, social, alexa rank
Here's an idea that might help offset the overhead of owning and running a Second Life venue. There are many different kinds of businesses in SL. Some happen to be quite successful. Before a venue can implement the idea that I'm offering they must first and foremost be professionally organized, complete with a solid, professional and current logo or brand identity and of course some marketing needs to be in place and continued. The one main rule about marketing is repetition. So once these are in place and the venue has built a solid name, they might consider this. Why not approach some of the more successful brands in SL and offer an Ad Board inside the venue. Nothing too big but definitely noticeable, likely nearer to the stage, visible. (I wouldn't suggest the venue overdo this or the venue itself will be a clutter of ads, like a fashion magazine like Vogue or Cosmo. First the venue will need to figure out how much money the ads will need to cover monthly... what is the current monthly deficit?... so they can assume to know their outstanding monthly needs. Then they can assume what the cost per ad should be at the point of sale. So for example, the venue gets 5 ads at 10K/mth each equals 50K/mth. They can then offset the balance of the tier, rent or whatever over head they still need to meet by adding in the tips they may receive from the events they hold. 

This is just an example and many models will differ and venue owners may have other ideas on how to implement it. I'm only trying to offer a possibly viable solution to what might be a good way to offset the losses the venue might be experiencing monthly. The ads offered can be of many different kind and of different pricing of course. Some may offer a landmark to the advertiser's business, or another might be a full 3-d interactive "something" that does more than just give items when clicked.

If you are a successful Second life business, then conversely, you might, among your marketing efforts, reach out to a venue to branch out into a different market, by offering an ad they can post for your business.

Again, these are just ideas I'm throwing out but at the root of it, I think the idea of offering ad space at the venue may work for some. If the venue hasn't become a "popular" venue, then perhaps they might consider going back a few steps and get some more marketing under their belt. I honestly feel badly when I see venues struggling. Many owners of the venues I play, even many I don't, happen to be friends and I don't like to see friends going through hard times.

If this idea seems reasonable, then I'm glad and I hope it will work for your venue. If not, and if you have some other ideas, please by all means post it as a comment on this blog.

Just please try to consider that a business owner MUST invest in their businesses to succeed.  These are investments of both money and of time. If you haven't invested in marketing your business, then it doesn't make sense to question why it's not succeeding. If you do have marketing in place and still aren't having much luck, the just go back to marketing drawing board. Many sales pros and even sales training books will tell you that when you're in a slump in sales, go back to basics. Just go back to the start and follow the map again. I can honestly say that I have practiced this myself.... and it really does help! I would rather take two steps backwards to find the right direction, than keep going down the wrong path that only get's me even more lost. So don't worry... there's always and exit ramp that leads you back to the start.

As always, I wish you the very best of success in whatever you do and I am available if you have any comments and/or questions.

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