Giving your Production Company a JumpStart
A couple months ago I came across JumpStart, a resource for small (under $500k/year) production companies that are trying to grow. The group is facilitated by Joel Pilger, Tim Thompson, and the rest of the team at RevThink, a production consulting firm that we certainly couldn't afford.
To rewind, earlier this year I had reached out to Joel after hearing him on a podcast. Him and a colleague Emmett took a call with me; they wanted to know where my company was at, what our practices were, and what our books looked like. After they assessed, we chatted about some of the core things we were facing; creating good margins, qualifying prospects and projects, and positioning the business. I knew immediately they were a team I couldn't afford to not afford... I'll let you re-read that for a second.
The reality is that a lot of creatives operate from a happy-go-lucky mindset. They may do great work, they may even do really great work, but they don't go as far as they think simply on the work. Imagine where they, their company, and their clients would be if they added business strategy to their quality. I've always been one to be strategic, but it's impossible to fully prepare for a road you've never gone down, and on top of that be sure you're even on the right road. Many times I found myself thinking, 'I don't even know what I don't know'.
After talking with Joel and Emmett I began to implement the things I learned (finally a sign on a road of some uncertainty). Things like; judging each project off the criteria of value to relationship, value to reel, and value to revenue, as well as budgeting projects with the needs of the business factored in and creating healthy 'splits'. These simple tools already made a huge difference. While I didn't always follow them, I at least knew the decisions I should be making.
Enter JumpStart. The brainchild of Revthink that matches their heart for smaller companies with a price point everyone can afford. The link will better break down the goals of JumpStart, but what I can provide is my experience with it. First off, JumpStart is based around a facebook group, but stick with me because that actually makes it so much better. All the members continually interact, posting questions to one another and gathering the knowledge of peer level production companies. Once a week, Joel does a one hour live Q&A, taking questions from the week and diving deeper. This is a great opportunity to post very specific questions to your situation. That's having a business coach, sales coach, and industry professional speak on specific situations going on at your shop. There are other great assets such as examples of winning pitches, legal forms, sales processes, etc.
There are tons of resources for creativity, production process, and gear, but it's not easy to find a resource for the actual business of production. This is truly an amazing resource.