What’s in Your VO Business Plan?


NOTE: This is the first post in a two-part article. Stay tuned next week for part two!

There’s a saying: “Nobody will treat you like a business unless you treat yourself like a business.” That’s oh, so true, regarding everything from pricing and getting paid on time, to finding clients and having your professional capabilities respected.

Maybe you’ve heard this other one: “90% of new businesses soon fail.”

That’s not necessarily true. The number is probably apocryphal. In fact, last time we checked, even the U.S. Small Business
Administration didn’t have exact data on the number of new businesses that don’t succeed within their first few years.

But versions of the latter saying still get passed around, because it rings true. It’s as plausible as the first, because many new businesses don’t have a comprehensive business plan.

A business plan addresses both these issues. Whether you’re a budding voice over artist or an established pro, you should have one, and keep it current. It will help focus your efforts for greater productivity and profit, and help you adapt to the continually evolving needs of clients and the many voice over markets.

However, there are many kinds of business plans. Some run dozens of pages, covering the entire range of business considerations, with an Executive Summary and carefully researched market data and financial
projections. A plan aimed at obtaining venture capital differs in content from one aiming to secure a bank loan. (The former stresses investment opportunity, the latter assures lower risk and includes examples of collateral.) Other potential prospects require other emphases, and some plans can be much simpler.

In your case, the “prospect” is you, so your business plan can be relatively brief, and needn’t be formally formatted and carefully worded. You can even overlook a few typos.

After all, it’s not as if you’ve invented a new product or have to justify opening a dry-cleaning shop. The range of voice over genres is already pretty clearly defined. But you still need to know your place in the business, set out realistic goals, know how to reach them, and fine tune your plan as you progress.

And you still need to write it down.

Because every business is different and has different needs, every business plan is unique. You can’t just “fill in the blanks” on some generic business plan form.

But because your situation is similar to that of many other voice over pros, the general outline of your plan is probably predictable. In fact, the Edge Studio Voice Over Career Planner workbook (included in the Edge Studio “Business and Money” curriculum) is a good guide.

But as with all good business plans, another good guide is: Common Sense.

The hitch is that although “common sense” is usually obvious in hindsight, it’s not always so clear in advance. So, as you learn about the industry and research your options, it will help to have a list of topics that your business plan should include. We’ll be back with that list next week.

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To learn more about Edge Studio’s Business and Money classes, call our studio at 888-321-3343 or email training@edgestudio.com.

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