Friday, March 22, 2013

Dave Thomas on Getting Out of a Slump

While I was in my slump after the dissolution of my non-profit theatre company I was wondering how in the world I was going to revitalize the business get working again. I was in a weird funk for almost a year. I felt like a failure and didn't think I could get up and try to produce shows again. But oddly enough while I was exploring my Alma Mater's Library I found a book that was just amazing! Everyone knows Wendy's as a chain of quick service restaurants. But not many people know that their founder, Dave Thomas, was a veritable goldmine of advice for the entrepreneur. In his book, Dave's Way, he outlines his story about how he started the Wendy's franchise and all of the lessons he learned along the way. What I found is that even though I'm not trying to open a restaurant a lot of his lists contained down-to-earth lists with lot's of great info. So today I'm going to share Dave Thomas's advice on getting yourself/business out of a slump. I hope you can see that it will help your theatre company or personal career too!
The Wendy's Guy gives good advice to a theatre person? Borrowed from

Dave Thomas's Advice for Getting Out of the Slump

  1. Get Rid of the Dead Wood in Management: In my case the dead wood was me. Of course that was because I was working for myself. What you do there is you evaluate your habits and performance and find where you're wasting time and effort on useless pursuits.
  2. Paint the Place/Refresh your Look: If you have a brick and mortar building this could mean that a little renovation is in order. If you're a freelance like me it could mean that your blog, social media, business cards, portfolio, etc. needs an upgrade.
  3. Get on top of the Basic Numbers: How much does your business really cost to operate? How much money are you making versus how much you're spending? How many customers/productions do you need to make ends meet? These and a couple other numbers are questions that you desperately need to be watching to keep your business in order.
  4. Promote: Shout in every avenue that you have. This could mean your site or social media. This could mean going out to more events and handing out the business cards. This could also mean picking up the phone and making a few calls to friends about leads. Get word out about you wherever you can.
  5. Identify yourself that your customers will recognize you: This is where an ego check is in order. If you really want people to come and remember your work in Shakespeare but more people are showing up to your musical comedies you have two options. You either need to promote your Shakespeare better and never do musicals again or resign yourself to the fact that musical comedy is your niche. The audience's patronage and habits will tell you what they want and more importantly what they want from you!
These five principles helped my turn my business around and get out of my slump! It's an ongoing process that can take months until you start getting the business and the money that you're looking for. Starting this process now won't give you immediate results. It sews the seeds of success now that can be harvested later.

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