From Musicians to Entrepreneurs: Business Process Modeling for Everybody

I’m somewhat of an anomaly. I work as an internet marketer full-time and as a musician in my off-time. Now, I’m not saying that I’m an irregularity because I dabble within the audio-creative realm as well as the technical-online-marketing and content-strategies arenas—because, the truth is, I probably work with at least 5 other people that are also musicians. The difference is that I’ve begun to treat my music and my art as a business instead of simply as a creative outlet.

Drawing from the processes that I’ve seen function well in and around my office, a group of like-minded artists and myself assembled with the purpose of creating a brand to accompany our music. Born of that was our organization, Earthlings Entertainment LLC.—a music and entertainment blog and a low-key clothing line.

As we’ve grown over the past year, we’ve begun to recognize that we can either stay underground, hustling our clothes, merchandise, and music at the street-level, or that we can adopt best practices and procedures and run our outfit like many other legitimate businesses do. We’ve opted for the latter.

(For the sake of privacy, the marketing firm I work for will not be named, and henceforth will be referred to as “the office”).

One thing that I’ve always admired about the office is that we have a great company culture and atmosphere that encourages innovation and communication, all while maintaining productivity. We meet often, we go over models, diagrams, and plenty of presentations so that we can work out whatever kinks need working out, i.e. quantifying results, framing deliverables, etc.

As a collective, Earthlings Entertainment decided to adopt this mode of presentation, most recently employing business process modeling to demonstrate exactly what we wanted out of the transaction stage for a future online-storefront. At the time of writing this, the Earthlings website is in the middle of a redesign, so it may not yet exist at the time this is read (and may never exist, depending on the volatile nature of start-ups!), but we’re closet optimists that like to prepare for the best.

Our goal is to determine whether to go with a standard, one-size-fits-all type of e-commerce set-up like Big Cartel, or to employ the services of an open source development company like Appnovation. To better determine and present our most basic needs and answer e-commerce set-up question I came up with this model:

Business process model of Earthlings Ent.

Our business process model ( click to view larger image )

To some, this online transaction example is rudimentary knowledge. To others, this is how you explain the internet and e-commerce. So bear with me—there are plenty of companies full of computer-illiterate folks, from entertainment/lifestyle brands to lumber liquidators to (yes, even) internet marketing companies. Instead of trying to tackle the intricacies of a web store’s processes with SSL, HTML, and Java-laden jargon, I opted to present what was most important and understandable. With the model explaining the process I can subsequently  handle all of those other, equally important aspects later on my own.

With the help of other associates, this neat little business process model (constructed via Creately’s online app) was folded up and presented with other pieces of business data in a neatly designed PDF (there are plenty out there, we use Soda PDF). The ability to visually and verbally explain the process virtually eliminates any confusion that team members may have had dealing with the project.

After the model  has been presented, following the standard procedure at the office, we email and print off the PDF so that anybody can refer to it later, if they are so-inclined.

The point here is that any entrepreneur running a start-up—from musicians getting their feet wet to seasoned internet marketing professionals—can benefit from business process modeling and presentation.

Of course, if you really want to know how well it goes with our company, feel free to check in on us from time to time and see how we’re doing. Also, definitely leave comments or suggestions below—we’re always looking for suggestions on ways to innovate and improve our processes.

A guest post by Andy O. If you’re interested in publishing with us check out the guest blogging guideline link found in the bio section.

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  1. Bob Rock

    Nice business model to follow. Reminds me of my project management class in college.

  2. james smith

    I really loved this article! It gave me some new insights I never really thought about before.

  3. Mike

    I’m a musician too and your article has some great points! Thanks

    • Thanks Mike! A lot of musicians (especially cats that rap, I’ve noticed) don’t realize that if they want to make money and a living off of music, it needs to be treated like business as well as art. It’s a really hard balance to achieve… but it CAN be achieved!

      • Dibakar Bala

        “A lot of musicians (especially cats that rap, I’ve noticed) don’t realize that if they want to make money and a living off of music, it needs to be treated like business” – This is exactly the same statement I use whenever an aspiring Musicians asks me about scaling up their career. And about your guide, guesss what? I’m both Entrepreneur as well as a Musician. So this idea and blog post was a perfect treat for my eyes 🙂 Thank You sooooooo much Andy

  4. Aditya

    Thanks for such a wonderful article, I know now how to approach my business strategy creatively in order to get the best out of it! 😀
    Keep coming with mroe such awesome articles!

  5. Marree Barry

    I was looking for some inspiration for a new client. Thanks for providing some great ideas.

    • Andy O.

      Hey no problem! Thanks for reading the article, much appreciated!

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