In part 1 of this topic, we discussed how combining complimentary products with the arts will help to create a sustainable business model for troubled performing arts organizations. We also explored how layering in intellectual property as a Top Performing Asset can add value and additional revenue streams.
Step 1 in Strategy: Internal and External Environment Analysis
Internally: Review your team’s capabilities and bench strength. Do you have the right team in place, capable of leading your firm and championing the vision of the organization? You must align with and have the right team in place to accomplish extraordinary goals. Non-profit performing arts management tends to be comprised of brilliant artists with a large-scale vision. Be sure to complement those visionaries with sharp, business-minded talent. The accomplished business leader will have the skillset to balance the business and art, to realize the vision of the organization.
Externally: Kudos to the team at the Transcendence Theatre Company for going on the road for over two months in an RV and speaking with leaders and arts educators, at some of the most prominent arts organizations in 40 cities, throughout the U.S. on Project Knowledge. You can read a blog of their entire journey here. I met with three members of the Transcendence team for dinner this past Friday night, and the stories they shared from their interviews were inspiring. The end result was that no matter how much information they had gained, the team was determined to build their “next generation” theatre company on a sustainable business model. This is a very foreign concept for someone who has grown up in the model of “produce the show, and we’ll figure how to pay for it later.”
Step 2 in Strategy: STRATEGY FORMULATION
Now my generation is recognizing that the arts can’t sustain themselves on their own. But, that’s okay, because the arts go very well, with many other complimentary offerings. Let’s take a look at how we can combine the arts with other top performing assets to create an ecosystem with multiple streams of income from numerous products.
The Physical Model:
1) Combine various types of residential real estate for all income levels.
2) Commercial real estate: mixed use space to include a restaurant, cooking school, banking, convenience store, laundry, and other necessary stores that provide services to both the physical community and surrounding community.
3) Entertainment: this is where you combine your formally unsustainable non-profit performing arts organization with the community’s new theatre / live performance space; on the same property. The performance space is central gathering point that brings community together. This may also include spiritual or religious gatherings.
4) Education: a small preparatory charter school for students age 0 to 10. Students learn through activities with the associated businesses and performance space.
1) Writers and content creators hired by the school and performance space create intellectual property to sell to help cover costs of the physical space.
2) Innovation lab fosters solving problems: patents are created by community members.
1) The Business of Helping Humanity. Investor returns are not enough anymore. Corporate social responsibility helps ensure a responsible connection to the community.
2) School for Life. As we tackle tough issues, we should be preparing our next generation of leaders and contributors to do so as well. Because parents are busy working, and teachers are busy teaching curriculum, there should be a trusted place in the community where parents can leave their children for productive supervision and learning.
3) Heightened Sense of Community. As a central gathering place for community, the more activities and services that the Sustainable Community offers, the more it will foster and build a heightened sense of community.
Step 3 in Strategy: STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION
We would look to strategic partnerships to accomplish this extraordinary goal. We would partner with the community, civic leaders, and local business owners who would benefit from this unique community. We would include the community in important decisions so that their voice was included in the creation and vision for the Sustainable Community.
If you are interested in discussing this topic further, I invite you to contact me so we can explore how to scale this model and create sustainable communities that support the Arts.
Latest posts by Brett Fisher, MBA Candidate '11 (see all)
- Sustainable Business Model for Performing Arts Organizations – Part 2 - May 17, 2011
- Sustainable Business Model for Performing Arts Organizations – Part 1 - May 16, 2011
- Top Performing Assets - May 13, 2011