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So I was sitting in front of my computer brainstorming about what I wanted to share concerning Facebook and how social media has had a positive effect on my business several times over the last couple weeks. You see, I’ve been wanting to share this information with you 2 articles ago, but something always seems to come up and of course this article is no different.
I promised my editor that I’d get a couple articles ahead so that I’m not under the gun at the deadline, like I am right now, but again things are coming up. For the past 2 months our company has moved locations and we are going into our busiest time of the year … Prom season. Try as I did, every time I would get comfortable and ready to impart some profound knowledge I’d get sucked back into the reality of life and more specifically life as a DJ business owner.
Before I continue, I need to apologize to my local DJ Association. I’m part of the Tampa ADJA and in my last article I mentioned being at a local association meeting and didn’t acknowledge this fine group of associates. My good friend and top shelf DJ Bob Moore brought this to my attention and I told him I’d correct that mistake at my 1st opportunity.
While going through the hassle of moving to a new office I decided on what this article was going to be about …. Does a DJ Need an Office?
We started our DJ company like I’m sure many do, from our home. For the first six years of our business it was a home based business, but we were also a single operation during that period of our business. We did pretty well, but the option of meeting clients either at my home or some neutral location always bothered me. I had a personal bias against home based businesses and I think looking back that personal bias hampered my ability to grow the way I wanted.
In 2004 I took on a business partner (ultimately, it was a huge mistake, but that is an article for another day) and we tried to continue to run the business from home. In three months it became unbearable so we went looking for our first office. After looking at several locations, we finally decided on our new space. In our first year at a “real” office, our business doubled, but it was also my first year as a multi operation. In our second year at that location, we grew another sixty percent. Pretty crazy growth that I can attribute to having a much more professional appearance then the majority of our competitors.
In 2006 we purchased a home that had extra space that was designated specifically for running our business. It had office space, meeting space, and storage, but I saw a difference in how our clients perceived our company. While our company was better than it had ever been, clients that came out to our home office just didn’t seam nearly as impressed with our company as when we had been in a “real” office. Our sales continued to grow, but not at nearly the rate that we had experienced prior to the move.
In 2008 we again decided to move into a commercial space. Unfortunately, 2008 was also the beginning of the current economic climate that we have been dealing with for the last two years. We did experience a drop in gross sales, but compared to many of the business owners I spoke with, we weathered the storm better than most. Last year we rebounded and this year we are on pace to have a pretty good year. Is it all because of having an office … of course not! We are doing lots of proactive things in order to stay ahead of the curve, but I do believe that having a commercial location gives you an edge over competitors that don’t have one.
Think of it like this, you’re looking for an accountant to keep your books. You go online and narrow your search down to three that you like and then you call them to make an appointment. Two of them invite you to their office to discuss your needs and to share with you what you can expect if you decide to use their services. The third one says that he would be willing to meet you at your home or you can meet at the local Starbucks. You haven’t gotten prices from any of them and you don’t have any recommendations or referrals from any of them, all you have is your impression of their professionalism and how successful you think they must be. Who do you think is at the disadvantage? Now with DJs it’s somewhat different in that most DJs don’t have an office. Many DJs have told me that they think not having an office is an actual advantage since they can meet the client where ever is convenient for their client. I’m not suggesting that meeting your client somewhere other than an office is bad business, in fact I meet a client last night at a Panera Bread because it would have been over an hour drive for the client to meet me at my office. With that said, I truly believe that we have booked more events because we have a physical commercial location.
Now to be fair, there are down sides to have a location as well. Most obvious is the additional cost you incur. I have spoken to DJs that tell me that not having a location allows them to keep costs down and that is true. If you are a single operator I can absolutely see how having an office could be very cost prohibitive. If I was ever to go back to being a single operator I still would look at options to have a location for the purpose of meeting clients. Some possibilities would be to pair up with either a bridal shop or a photographer and see if they would let me meet clients at their location. I would most likely work from home while taking calls, returning emails, and doing event prep, but when it came time to meeting my clients for the sale, I would want that professional location to enhance my image with the prospect. My belief is any where you can get an edge over your competitors it’s a good thing!