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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Show Business--Is show or business more important? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Ken Northridge
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All of my professional life, I’ve been reading conflicting opinions on what is more important, show or business?

I started my career at age 18 with an awesome show and knew very little about business. I fell flat on my face! I ran to the nearest minimum wage job I could find where I spent 8 years before I had the courage to try it again.

I’ve been at a Mark Wilson lecture in which he informed us that he spent 90% of his time on the business side of Show Business. Mark Wilson is pretty successful wouldn’t you say?

I’ve been at a Duane Laflin lecture in which he was asked a question about business. He was dumbfounded! It was obvious he spends 90% of his time on the Show. Duane Laflin is pretty successful wouldn’t you say?

Just yesterday I was reading lecture notes from a respected successful magician that noted business is the bigger word in show business, so the business is more important.

And then this recent post right here on The Magic Café from our respected Mindpro:
Quote:
On 2013-12-08 19:02, Mindpro wrote:
That's the beauty of Jim Snack's (web site), is it's not about all the latest frills, bells & whistles and wiz-bang technologies, just great content in an easy formatted web site. Jim doesn't need hype and fluff, his material speaks for itself - which is kind of the entire point. Jim could have the latest flash, fancy graphics, guru-style formatting, social proof, first-fold video, and so on, and in reality it wouldn't make a difference at all. He wouldn't sell any more of his products because of this.

I took the liberty of emboldening ‘his material speaks for itself’. I have spent hours upon hours making my web site. I have studied SEO, and if I do say so myself it is a much nicer web site than Jim Snack’s web site. So, why does Jim Snack run rings around my business?

What’s more important, Show or Business?
"Love is the real magic." -Doug Henning
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TonyB2009
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Show, by a long way. I know lots of guys who have better business sense then me, but gig less. I put that down to the fact that I have a solid show.

That said, if I had a good business brain, I would be doing a lot better!
Eldon
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Business is very important but in my opinion show is more important.
TomBoleware
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They say if you build a better mouse trap, people will beat a path to your door.

That's not true at all if they can't find your door. Smile


Which is better? I say it depends on what you looking for in return. As a hobby, or just starting out,
having a great show is probably more important.

But as a business, business is more important because business is about one thing and that is doing business.
Nothing sells itself, even the best of products can't compete with good business practices.



"Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”--Stephen King


Tom
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Bazinga
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Do you drive a vehicle? Which is more important, the tire or the wheel?

Bazinga! (Or should I say: BaZENga!)
JoshLondonMagic
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The show is my business. Without a great show that creates conversation after and referrals you can't have a business which thrives.

Josh
Josh
Dannydoyle
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I don't understand the question.

Having a great business plan with nothing to sell seems pointless. Having a great show nobody sees because you can't sell it seems equally pointless.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Mindpro
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Quote:
On 2013-12-08 21:11, Ken Northridge wrote:

I took the liberty of emboldening ‘his material speaks for itself’. I have spent hours upon hours making my web site. I have studied SEO, and if I do say so myself it is a much nicer web site than Jim Snack’s web site. So, why does Jim Snack run rings around my business?

What’s more important, Show or Business?


I think this is a great question Ken. It's the type of question that will likely help many on several different levels. It's also the type of question that will have different answers for different performers.

Some very part-timers, hobbyists, or beginners will find it to be more about the show. Initially to nearly all entertainers this is of most importance and the reason they were interested or attracted to performing in the first place.

But to those seeking their performing to be more consistent, income producing, semi-pro or professionally, I believe it must be the business.

Yes, your show must be in place and it must be decent or nothing else matters. And having a good quality, mass-appeal commercial show will get you a few returns on it's own merits, but it can only take you so far. It will never carry you to the level required to be a professional or someone who can live comfortably doing this for a living and primary source of income - paying the mortgage, two car payments, kids, vacations, college, weddings, retirement, etc. Growth is dependent on your business, rarely just your show.

You are in the business of marketing and selling your entertainment services. This is hard for many magicians to accept but this where it goes from doing some tricks for fun to being in the business of entertainment.

The business doesn't have to be dreadful, tedious or of troublesome, as it can be just as much fun and rewarding as the show itself. You are creating success every time your efforts result in a booking, relationship or opportunity. Combining to two can really be the best of both worlds. Most allow themselves to be overwhelmed by this. The other biggest mistake I see, literally on a daily basis by entertainers I talk to or come in contact with is that they try to operate their entertainment business by conventional business practices, rules and tactics. This I have always believed is a huge mistake. Entertainment business is much different, with it's own set of rules, procedures and circumstances. Without understanding these and operating based on these you are often trying to out a square peg into a round whole. Most entertainers never realize let alone understand this concept.

As for why does Jim's website "run rings around yours" that is because likely they are setting out to achieve two different objectives. Just as you would approach and use two different approaches to market men's suits and toilets. They each require different approaches, mediums, positioning, execution, etc. The target audiences are different, needs vs. wants are different, price points are different, and so on. I believe comparing Jim's site for selling his products is much different than Ken's needs and use to market his entertainment services. Completely different in almost every way. These differences translate to the differences in their websites and the overall results. One size does not fit all.

Just as a web site targeting the school market is and should be completely different from a web site used to target the kids party market or corporate market. We as entertainers can get caught up in the presentation or "show" of our web sites, often overlooking the main reason we need or want them which is to generate the best results. Ask yourself, would you rather have a site that does the desired business and is effective, or a site that looks good but is less effective. Gurus will tell you that you need all of these bells and whistles to be perceived in a certain way. Not true, How can they make a blanket statement like that, especially without knowing specifics about your business, marketing and execution?

I just returned from a school industry convention a couple of months ago and one of the things that came out in a session was how they strongly dislike school presenter's websites that use flash, because many of the schools computers are not optimized (deliberately) to view it. So in essence the entertainer that thinks having a great flash display and graphics on the landing page is completely having the opposite effect he has been led to believe in this specific market.

Truth be told you can have a bad trick or a bad show and it plays little affect on your overall success, however if you run your business poorly or ineffectively you won't be in business very long, let alone be achieving the things you should be focusing on with your entertaining business.
Ken Northridge
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Quote:
On 2013-12-08 23:22, Dannydoyle wrote:
I don't understand the question.

Having a great business plan with nothing to sell seems pointless. Having a great show nobody sees because you can't sell it seems equally pointless.

Okay, let me ask it in a different way. What percentage of you time and effort should be spent on business and what percent on refining and improving your show? In other words, if I wanted to increase my business and reach the next level of success should I immerse myself in improving my business tactics or improving my show? By your post you seem to be suggesting they are equally important.

Great post Mindpro! Thanks!
"Love is the real magic." -Doug Henning
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aussiemagic
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I think business is more important to get the first gig, but your show is important in generating repeat gigs and spin off gigs. Good marketing will get you gigs but if your show isn't very good then they won't invite you back nor will people in the audience want to hire you.
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Dannydoyle
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Sort of reminds me of Henry Ford talking about who should be the boss. Said it was like asking who should play the saxophone in a quartet. Obviously the guy who plays the saxophone.

Does your show need work or your business skills? Lots of guys think they have a great show when in reality not so much. Lots think they have a great business plan but indeed not. The key is to be able to be honest enough with yourself to learn.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
TomBoleware
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Ken we all said the same thing as mindpro yet you walked right pass us and said, great job mindpro. (lol)....

...which brings us to the most important thing in business, "perception." You are only as good as you are perceived to be, period.

It's not always what you say or what you do, it's how you do it.

In business, one should do everything possible to improve that perception. Do all the little things that make you look your best.
Iron your silks and straighten your tie. There shouldn't be any excuse for not going the extra mile for the customer.

Of course the biggest thing that helps the perception is your reputation. But that comes over time. Building a reputation is like
building a strong tall building , you must do it one brick (customer) at a time. With either one, you can't have very many weak
(bricks or customers) in it or it all comes tumbling down.


Tom
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David Thiel
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I've seen some performers who arrive with buckets of cash with which they plan to replace the lack of creativity in a "store bought" show. They put their money toward marketing...and more often than you'd think, they achieve a limited degree of success. Marketing is very important.

Unless you sell what you do, you're just talking to yourself.

Having a good show is also very important -- especially if you aspire to achieve something more than "above average."

I've been doing this since 1990 -- and it's a very tough BUSINESS. You need to push through adversity and indifference. If you want to be full time (to put a fine point on it) you -- and your family -- eat what you kill. You need to go out hunting for work and never let up. You always have to have one eye open for new opportunities. That's what sustains you through the lean times...and all of us have lean times. When times are good you push even harder.

I spend about 75% of my time on business and 25% of my time spent on working the show.

David
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


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charliecheckers
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Quote:
On 2013-12-09 06:46, Ken Northridge wrote:
Okay, let me ask it in a different way. What percentage of you time and effort should be spent on business and what percent on refining and improving your show? In other words, if I wanted to increase my business and reach the next level of success should I immerse myself in improving my business tactics or improving my show? By your post you seem to be suggesting they are equally important.

Spending time improving your show does not have to be mutually exclusive to improving your business. What The Great Zucchini taught me is that your show content should be tightly associated with the markets you pursue. I see many performers who have shows that are great, but the markets they pursue are not in line with the content of the show. Then they wonder why their business efforts do not pay off. I spent a fair amount of time to perfect the Alex Hecklau version of Torn and Restored Newspaper as a means of improving my show a few years ago, only to find the effect did not really fit my target audience and did not aid in spill over bookings nearly the same way as, say - Tommy James Comeback Bee where I created a memorable running gag throughout my show and I use our names numerous times to create awareness so the kids remember. So, to me it is not simply a matter of "do I have a great show?" It is really more about working to match the show content with my business efforts. The first question I ask myself is: "How can I better assemble my show so that it serves my business desires?
Close.Up.Dave
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Quote:
On 2013-12-09 09:14, Dannydoyle wrote:
Sort of reminds me of Henry Ford talking about who should be the boss. Said it was like asking who should play the saxophone in a quartet. Obviously the guy who plays the saxophone.

Does your show need work or your business skills? Lots of guys think they have a great show when in reality not so much. Lots think they have a great business plan but indeed not. The key is to be able to be honest enough with yourself to learn.


I thought it was Confucius who said that?

Charlie, a lot of what you say makes a lot of sense and relevant to what has been going on in my biz. I've been happily turning down shows for people who approach me because I know I'm not the right fit for what they are looking for.
Scott Burton
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My answer would be in the form of questions:
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- How do you earn your business today?
- What improvements could you make that would help you to earn more business?
It's about strategically improving your weak points and further leveraging your strong points.
So, the the end, how much time you spend in each would be a different determination for each person.
Ken Northridge
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^I think you are right Scott.

Looking back, I’ve concentrated on business when I realized it was my weak point. Once I fixed that my show became my weak point. Once I fixed that my business became my weak point. And so on and so on….

I think to be a success in this business you have to be able to juggle many tasks and have a keen intuition as to which task is most important. At times I wish it were simpler and I could concentrate on just one thing, but deep down I know it’s the variety that keeps it interesting.
"Love is the real magic." -Doug Henning
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Mindpro
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There are also timetables in which business, especially marketing, takes place that requires certain times of the year to require more attention to the business depending on the performance markets you serve and your level of activation within them.
bishthemagish
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In my opinion - to answer your question the show is just as important as the business.

The way I look at this is that I am marketing a service and that service "Is the show". If I don't market the business "there is no show".

And without the show there is "no business" to market.

The problem I see over the years is that many magicians market there shows before the show is ready to market. Charging more money than the show is worth - and charging more money than there experience is worth as well.

Here is the way I did it back in the days. I wrote about this before however few magicians want to "work this hard". At the start I did hundreds of shows for free for the experience and to build the show into something that was "worth to the client" a show people would put hard cash down to see.

This built the show - and my experience at the same time. After I had a "bankable" show. Then I charged money for it. In other words I put 100% of my time into learning the craft of magic. Then 100% of my time learning how to "entertain" an audience with the craft of magic. Then after all that work I put 100% of my time into the booking of the finished result.

Many magicians today want to start at the top and many seem to want to spend 100% of their time learning a craft and then jump into performing shows without the years that it takes to learn how to entertain with the craft. It takes in my opinion the same amount of time (or years) as it takes to learn the craft of magic as it does to learn how to entertain with the craft.

Because once you "have a proven bankable show" then if one wants to make money with it - then they can put 100% into booking it.

Just a few thoughts and opinion.
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bunkyhenry
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Get a good product first, then sell the heck out of it!
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