For our Independent DJ readers...Saving your DJ business in a tight economy.

I was asked the following question in a Facebook group I belong to that focuses on DJ's ...

Faced with a new year, new president, and unstable economy, what actions will you take to ensure that your business continues to thrive?

my reply...

I too refuse to participate in any recession. Unfortunately the evening news continues to convince many of those around me that we should be worried, and they are acting accordingly. The final quarter of 2008 was the first negative overall retail quarter in 16 years. That's pretty scary considering it contained the traditionally strongest quarter of the year.

I think it will be wise to turn our attention more toward our clients, past & present to introduce us to our clients of the future, rather than seeking to coax returns out of traditional marketing methods.

Professionals with a great reputation who have an active customer referral base will best weather this lean period. I think the wheat is going to bid farewell to much of the old chaff. That having been said I believe we are about to see a flood of "new" solo DJ businesses as people who are laid-off seek to make ends meet in a tight job market. A price war isn't coming it's here in some markets and it will not be pretty for those in the mid to low price range. If you're priced on the high end I would leave my pricing alone or if you are so inclined make that price increase you have been considering.

Price is about to become a big distinction and either extreme will benefit from a price war. So if you're already on the high end stay there as long as you can back that price up with absolute professionalism, superior customer service, and attention to the needs of clients seeking an experience, not just a service.

Finally I would advise anyone in a position to do so to consider non-traditional customers more than ever before. Evaluate all of the skills, and yes even the equipment you have at your disposal and open up to all the ways in which it can be used.
Make mix tapes for local cheer squads or spin classes.
Rent that amp, mixer and speakers to the local garage band for Thursday night practices.
Teach a DJ/Beatmix/Music Programming workshop through your local community college or Occupational High School night classes.
Rent your PA to the local church for Monday Bingo...whatever!

Just get the word out. These are not your traditional customers so don't think slick brochures and expensive materials. Do it Guerilla Marketing style, Craigs List, Local Bulletin Boards, small town "pennysaver" ads and you'll see a nice return on a minimal investment. You don't need to have your business name on these just the contact number and your name so don't worry about how it will "look" to anyone. Making money makes you look good. Going out of business don't look good at all. The ability to put all of our resources toward earning the maximum they can will put new money in your pocket when you might need it most.

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