We make recordings of live gigs - we'll have 400 CDs ready to go out within six minutes of a concert ending. Consumers buy our CDs, but our customers are the record labels and management companies. It was our best decision to focus on this side of the business.
The labels had a fear that our product would not form part of their artists' album release cycle, and we realised quickly that we'd need to fit in with that. So we focused not just on selling our CDs but also having other releases from an artist to sell alongside them. For example, if an artist has a new single out, we'll sell a package that includes our CD and the single.
It was a great decision because, initially, we struggled to get business. The live CD is what generates the profit but the record labels were looking for other benefits, so making additions to our product range was a key factor in turning the business around. We realised that for consumers, we're about the live-experience CD, but to the industry, we're effectively a marketing tool.
OUR WORST ...
Was not choosing third parties wisely. We outsource the internet-fulfilment side of our business and used a small firm at first. Then we started to grow and we moved to a bigger company, but we didn't keep a tight enough rein on it, and we found out that 3,500 of our CDs had not been sent out.
From that, we learnt not to jump into something that has such a big impact on how our business is perceived by our customers without dipping a toe in the water first. We should have given the company one product title to deal with to see how that worked, and then moved it on, rather than giving it the whole of our business. It caused us a lot of harm.
So go with a process-driven approach. If it's a big part of your business, especially if it's customer-facing, set up a process that says: test it, test it, test it. We also learnt that bigger is not always better. We went for the company that everybody knew, that had a big operation - and now we've gone back to an independent company. Although it's much smaller, it is doing a fantastic job.