Printing label
1.Summaryp. 3
What Is The Business
What Is The Market
Potential For Business
Forecast Profit Figures
How Much Money Is Needed
2.Business Structurep. 4
Your Past Employment & Business Record & Achievements
Record Of Other People Working For You
Weaknesses In Your Management & How You Propose To Deal With Them
3.The Servicep. 6
A Simple Description
Why The Service Is Unique
Brief Survey Of Competition
Service Development
Intellectual Rights Applied For
4.Marketingp. 8
The Market:
It's Size, It's Past & Future Growth
Analysis Of Market Into Sectors; Identification Of Sector Business Is Aimed At
Likely Customers; Who Are They, Type, Size, How They Buy
Promotion, Advertising
Who Will Sell?
Pricing Structure
5.Operational Detailsp. 11
Where Based, Location
Equipment Needed
6.Financial Analysisp. 13
Monthly Profit/Loss 2yrs
Monthly Cashflow Forecast For 2yrs
Balance Sheet Forecast For 2yrs
The Assumptions Behind Your Forecasts
Principle Risks Which Could Affect Figures, Things Beyond Your Control
7.Prospectsp. 14
Objectives - Short & Medium Term
The Finance Needed & What It Is For
What Is The Business:
Blue Label is a one-stop-shop for unsigned talent looking to release and promote short runs of their singles/EP's. We will organise everything from mastering, pressing and distributing, to get artists heard. The service we provide will act as a stepping-stone towards recording contracts, much like Daniel Beddingfield, Ms. Dynamite and Blazin' Squad have done in the past.

What Is The Market:
The markets blue label will be working within are the independent vinyl/CD pressing market and the independent distribution market. There are currently no businesses that cover both of these areas, however, the market for vinyl and CD cutting is growing as more and more people have the capability to record songs in home studios. We hope to capitalise on this by striking deals with pressing houses to get lower rates for the business we provide.

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Potential For Business:
We think that by providing everything in one place, removing the consumer's need to find a good pressing house, then find their own distribution network, we will be able to appeal to many unsigned artists mainly within the UK garage, hip hop and other urban' areas. We will also be looking at working with small independent record labels in the urban' world, to handle pressing and distribution.

With the record industry continually looking at what's hot on the underground circuit, artists that have more exposure and more distribution will have a better chance of getting signed.

Forecast Profit Figures
1st year profit = 12,000
2nd year profit = 70,000
How Much Money Is Needed
40,000 repayable over 5 years
Business Structure
Blue Label will be owned by me, Brendon Harding, acting as a sole trader. As the label expands there is a possibility of a partnership, either from within the business or from external parties, owning the label, but during these early stages I wish to maintain executive control over the businesses direction and movement.

Your Past Employment & Business Record & Achievements:
I have no previous business experience but I have worked in several different working environments, including; a small warehouse, a network support team and a local hairdressers. I have observed all of the people I have worked under in all my previous jobs and have learnt a great deal about management from them. I believe that although I have no previous business experience, I'm a good team leader and a fast learner and my abilities to adapt to new situations and circumstances will provide me with the necessary skills to manage this business.

Record Of Other People Working For You:
The work force will comprise four full-time employees:
1."Me" - Owner/Manager/PR ; Personal Sales (19,000 p/a)
My responsibilities will include that of a personal sales executive, but not on the same scale. I will be overseeing the projects' currently in the works, whilst making sure that everybody is performing to the best of their abilities. I will also be looking into future development for the business and ways to increase revenue.

2."The Fixer" - PR & Personal Sales Executive (17,000 p/a)
He/She will be responsible for liasing with clients, making sure they are aware of the process going on and handling their payment. The personal sales executive will be in contact with the pressing houses and with our physical distributor. He/she will have to have good communication and people skills, as they will also be taking calls from prospective clients as well as email queries, and must have an ear for urban' music and be enthusiastic about the music and culture it represents.

3."The Driver" - Physical Distribution (15,000 p/a)
Will be in charge of delivering the pressed vinyl/cd's to record shops. He/she will have to have a driving license, automotive transport (preferably a van) and be physically fit. It is also preferable that the person be into urban' music and that they can converse with shop owners and retailers on the music we are distributing and the service we provide as a whole.

4."The Techie" - Web Manager ; Technical Support (15,000 p/a)
He/She is responsible for the upkeep of equipment in the office, as well as being in charge of designing and maintaining the website. He/she will manage the office network and be responsible for data security and backups.

It would be preferable, but not essential, for all employees to have a passion for urban' music in its various forms. They must all be enthusiastic, vibrant and sociable people that enjoy working within a tight-nit team.

Weaknesses In Your Management & How You Propose To Deal With Them:
My main weakness is my lack of management experience, but I think the skills that I have learnt through producing artists and bands - namely diplomacy, people management, time organisation and civil stubbornness - will stand me in good stead in the business world. I have also learnt many business skills and practices during my time studying for my BA in Recording Arts. This course provided me with a solid grounding in all of the aspects of business management and organisation and was specifically focused on the working within music industry.
I'm currently in talks with the Prince's Trust, to help with some financial aid and business support, which I feel will be useful and provide me with a source to voice questions or queries to.

The Service
A Simple Description:
Blue Label will provide mastering, pressing and distribution for London's urban' talents. For a fee we will take your song and get it out to DJ's, independent record shops and record company A;R's.

Clients will arrange a time to come into the office and meet with one of our personal sales executives, where they will discuss how many copies of their song/EP they want and which format they would like it in. The client will then be asked to sign a contract stating that they understand how many copies they want and what will be done will those copies, namely how many will be distributed by Blue Label and how many will be theirs to sell themselves. The contract will also state that if the artist/producer get signed on the back of their respective Blue Label release, a one-off fee will be paid to Blue Label for the work it has done to get the artist/producer signed. Another stipulation in the contract will ask the signee to state that monies paid to Blue Label for their service, came from legal sources. This is to ensure that we are not accused of dealing with money made through illegal activities. If this question is not answered, Blue Label will discontinue working with that artist/producer until such time as they can state that their money is legal.

Once the contract is signed and all fees are cleared, the un-mastered song will be sent to the Independent Pressing Co. who will master and press the specified amount. On completion, our physical distributor will pick up the pressed copies and distribute them to respective record shops, returning with the pre-arranged amount for the clients to pick up from the office.

Why The Service Is Unique:
No one else provides all the services we will, in one place. Other companies will do these services individually, but not all of them together and with the knowledge and expertise in the urban' music world and our large number of contacts will enable us to get the right music to the right people. Our service also provides our clients with the opportunity to keep their masters, something which when talking to record labels, gives artists/producers more leverage in contract negotiations, as well as a giving them a quality mix of their works for prosperity.

This service will help to launch some of Britain's finest urban' talents, who may well go on to become the pop' stars of the future. Without our service it is possible that these artists could be waiting for years to get signed to a record company. We are trying to change the face of a service that many people don't think about when they first start recording songs. We aim to take away some of the fear and anxiety typically associated with pressing your own recorded work, better enabling more talented people achieve their ambitions of success.

Brief Survey Of Competition:
In 2002 there were over 60 independent distributors based in London, there were also over 40 independent pressing houses.

Service Development
If the business goes well we hope to expand our distribution network firstly, to London's surrounding counties and eventually to a national level. There are other possibilities for expansion discussed later in the plan (See p.12)
Intellectual Rights Applied For:
We will be applying for trademarks on the business name and logo. As part of our expansion options, Blue Label may develop into an independent label and therefore copyrights in the recorded works of signed artists would be owned, partially or fully, by the label.

The Market - It's Size, It's Past & It's Future Growth:
Blue Label will be working in two different markets:
1.Independent Vinyl/CD Pressing
2.Independent Music Distribution
The vinyl/CD pressing market is beginning to grow due to the proliferation of home recording equipment. The UK garage scene has championed these technologies and many projects released today haven't been through professional or even semi-professional studios. This accessibility of equipment has lead to more and more new UK garage artists coming out and releasing songs on white label', consequently the demand for more small-medium sized pressing houses has increased and the market is showing promising signs of reaching financial stability.

The music distribution market is a much less visible market than vinyl/CD pressing as it goes on in the background of the music industry. Independent distributors are being increasingly used by major record labels looking to cut costs, with some labels closing their own pressing houses as they prove to be financially non-viable. However, due to the time and effort necessary to create distribution networks there has not been an abundance of new companies/businesses setting up.

Analysis Of Market Into Sectors; Identification Of Sector Business Is Aimed At:
Our business is aimed at both the commercial and consumer sectors.

Likely Customers; Who Are They, Type, Size, How They Buy:
We have identified three main groups of prospective customers:
1.Unsigned Artists/Groups: These will be looking to press:
a.Small runs to market themselves to A;R's, Producers, Publishers and Record Companies.
b.Small-Medium sized runs to distribute and sell singles and EP's.

2.Producers: these will be looking at small runs to distribute their own songs as well as productions for other artists, to Record Labels, DJ's and prospective artists.

3.Small Independent Record Labels: these will be looking to press medium-large sized runs to distribute and promote their artists.
We feel that managing pressing and distribution for record companies will be where the majority of our income will come from as links are made and cemented, independent labels will keep coming back to us again and again. As well as purchasing larger runs, labels will also be paying for CD inlays and covers, which will help our ties with the pressing house/es.
Unfortunately links with small labels may not be possible from the outset as these labels will be looking for a track record on our part that we can fulfil what we set out to do. With this in mind, we will be looking for more one-off jobs from artist and producers during the first six months of operation. Once we can show small record labels the quality of our service and the distribution network we have, we will begin to actively approach labels with sales pitches.
We hope to secure pressing & distribution contracts with approximately 3-4 labels within the first two years of operation. This will provide us with the financial standing point to begin to look at expansion.

Promotion & Advertising
Our promotion strategy will work on five fronts:
1) - The companies website will feature information on the business, summaries of price plans, contact information, snippets of songs we've handled and mailing list information for DJ's to sign up to. The layout of the site will be smart and sophisticated, whilst maintaining an attraction to a younger audience.

2) Business cards & flyers in independent record shops - These are targeted directly at DJ's as many of them work closely with unsigned talent. The design of the flyers and cards will be in the same vein as the website, combining sophistication and an urban' edge.

3) Adverts in urban' magazines and newspapers - Adverts in publications like The Voice, New Nation, Re-Wind, Etc will help raise the profile of the business within the urban' community.

4) Prize winners from talent contests/showcases - "The winners will receive a free run of 250 12" from Blue Label." Instances like this will hopefully put our name in the minds of all the acts at the events.

5) Word of mouth within the hip hop, garage, R&B & drum-n-bass communities - We feel that once our name gets out in these area's, news will spread quickly.

Who Will Sell?
There will be no designated sales team within the business during the early stages of the business. Early on, when business is slow, we plan to go out to talent shows, showcases, club nights and parties, actively pushing the service, handing out flyers and business cards to performers and DJ's. After the first 6-12 months, we hope to begin actively seeking contracts from independent labels, as to handling their pressing and distribution. This will be handled by myself, or the other Fixer, and/or by a new member of staff in the position of marketing manager. He/she will also oversee the layout and structure of the companies website. If a marketing manager is not employed, the website will be designed by our in-house designer/technician, but with input and advice from all members of the team, acting as a combined design team. The website will hopefully provide the information and attraction for potential customers.

Pricing Structure (Cost Vs. Differentiation)
The pricing structure we provide for our clients will be directly proportional to the price plan of our out-sourced pressing house. They provide many different options as to size of run, format, packaging, labelling, cover art, etc. These options will be made available to our clients when they attend their consultation with our Personal Sales Executive.

Operational Details
Where Based, Location:
Our base of operations will be located in South or East London, typical sites in these areas should be cheaper to rent and will also be well located for artists/producers/labels to reach. We hope to increase our approachability by working out of a retail site on a main road as opposed to being hidden away in an industrial park or office block.

The majority of independent labels and studios are based in West London, so we feel that there is a market for people looking for our type of service, on their doorstep. Over time we hope to raise Blue Label's profile to the point where we can attract business from across the whole of London.

PC World Business will supply all necessary office equipment including office furniture as well as computer equipment. PC World Business have rates and deals for new businesses and if we purchase before 31st March 2004, we can get a 100% tax break on all I.T. and communications equipment.

Initial Equipment Needed:
ICT Equipment:
1 server/webserver with monitor= 750
2 PC's with Monitors= 1150
1 Network Kit (1 Switch, 3 Network Cards, Necessary Cables)= 130
1 Printer/Scanner/Photocopier= 250
3 licenses for Windows Office XP Professional Edition= 1000
3 landline phones= 230
1 mobile phone= 250
Total= 3760
Office Equipment/Furniture:
3 desks= 300
3 wheelie chairs= 90
5 visitor seats= 150
2 filing cabinets= 55
1 Stereo System= 250
Total= 845
Office Supplies
Letter headed paper= 40
Stationary= 60
Total= 100
Financial Analysis
Monthly Profit/Loss 2yrs:
Monthly Cashflow Forecast For 2yrs:
Balance Sheet Forecast For 2yrs:
(Please see attached charts)
The Assumptions Behind Your Forecasts:
All cash from sales during the first 6 months refers to clients purchasing runs of one specific size and format. Due to the number of variables available, this has been done to reduce confusion. There is a gradual increase in the number of clients from Jan-04 to Mar-04 to represent a realistic situation.

All cash from sales in the 2nd 6 months of 2004 include record label purchases as well as artists and producers.

A second Physical Distributor is hired at the beginning of 2005.

Principle Risks Which Could Affect Figures, Things Beyond Your Control:
Rent increase due to possible property market booms.

Pregnancies within the workforce, leading to maternity pay as well as paying for temporary replacement.

Objectives - Short & Medium Term:
0-6 months: Spreading the companies name within the urban' community and seeking work from individual artists and producers.

6-12 months: Begin approaching labels with regard to managing their pressing and distribution, whilst still maintaining a steady flow of one-off' jobs from artists and producers.

1-2 years: Establish contracts with various labels and start to lay the financial groundwork for future expansion. Look into possible employment of extra staff in the Physical Distribution and Fixer positions.

2-5 years: Look into expansion options including; taking over the main pressing house we use; on-line sales and promotion; expansion to a national distribution level; development of Blue Label into an independent label in it's own right.

The Finance Needed ; What It Is For:
We are looking for a loan of 40,000 repayable over 5 years. This will cover the start-up costs and also cover for a possible slow start during the first 2-3 months of operation. The start-up costs will include solicitor's fees for the checking of our contracts and to oversee the leasehold. It will also include the purchasing of our domain name.

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