Building your Burlesque Destiny – Business Planning Basics.

As we head into the new year we of course are prone to looking back on the year behind us, and start making plans for the year ahead of us. I’m not going to do that. Yes I have set some intentions and goals for myself this year, and yes I have made some of those based of my previous years reflections. But for you, as a reader, I don’t expect you to be interested in what I am doing. I want you to get more interested in what you are doing. So to launch my blog series for 2018, we’re going to talk about Burlesque Business Planning. Be it hobbyist, professional or somewhere in between, we should all take the time to plan for our own creative destinies. Below is a guide to help you start building your Burlesque Business/Destiny Plan.

1. Vision
Make a statement for yourself. No “I would like”, “I wish to”, “I want’. This is an “I AM” statement. “I AM performing on the international stage”, “I AM performing a new act”, “I AM drinking pina coladas in Hawaii”. Whatever it is, it is your will, and not your wishing that will get you there. Make the statement/overall objective generalised.

2. Goals
This is a list of things you actually want to achieve. Don’t be afraid to make them big, but as in business, burlesque goals should be things you can influence. So, if one of your goals is to performer at BHoF, then you need to step that shit back. Why? Because overall you don’t get to make the decision on if you perform there. It is in someone else’s hands entirely. No matter how good you are (or think you are) it is not a given. The best ways to make goals achievable is to be SMART to make it work. SMART Means
S – Specific (what, where, where, who)
M – Measurable (how do you know you’ve achieved it)
A – Achievable (actions that you can influence)
R – Relevant (has to be relevant to your vision/objective)
T – Time bound (when do you need to achieve it by)
For example if instead of a goal performing at BHoF, a better goal maybe “I am attending BHof in June 2018”. It is specific, it is measurable, it is achievable as it is entirely under your influence, it is relevant to your vision, and it is timebound. This means that you can start breaking it down further to create an actual plan on how you are going to get to that goal.

3. SWOT Analysis
Do you know what your strengths are? What your weaknesses are? What opportunities you have in front of you? What may be a threat to you achieving your goal? This is where you really have to take a cold hard look at yourself and pick out what can be done to achieve your goal. Your threats may be that you are one serious broke-ass, but your opportunities may be that you have 3 corporate enquiries in your inbox. Your strength maybe you are a mad-keen dancer, but your weakness may be you suck at admin. By doing a SWOT analysis, you can see what needs to be done to make yourself the best of what you need to get to your goal. Ultimately you are looking for how to improve on weaknesses, how to negate threats, how to capitalise on opportunities and how to make the most of your strengths

4. The Action Plan
So now you have a goal and you know what’s stopping you from getting there. Now is the time for ACTION! Break your goals right down to individual items of what you need to do to achieve them… honestly, the smaller the better as you get a better sense of achievement to help you stay motivated as you tick them off and makes your goal seem like less of a mountain to climb. You should also consider what resources you may need to achieve this action (could this be a smaller action?). While many of us may be solo burlesque performers, none of us can say that we got to where we are all by ourselves. You may need mentors, teachers, costumiers, costume supplies, studio space, a day job to pay for things, maybe some online courses to improve your admin skills, the list goes on. Identify what resources you need to get to your goal. Finally, apply a date to achieve each action by. Remember to keep you goal date in the back of your mind, as this will help you to prioritise what you need to do.

5. Monitor and Review
The last step is to set yourself a time period for monitoring your progress; are you going to look at your plan once a month to make sure you have achieved all your actions? Maybe once a week? Or maybe now that it’s written down, you can take a zen approach, out it to one side, not look at it again and see what happens? Whether you monitor your progress or not, you should always set yourself a review period time, say 12 months. This is the time you come back to the plan, see what you’ve achieved, what you have missed out, and then make a new plan with new goals (or continuing goals). Also review on an “as-and-when-needed” basis, as sometimes life intervenes and goals change. Treat it as a living document, always changing and morphing. Just like a New Year, a business plan requires reflection on the past and looking towards the future.

This may seem all very formal, especially if you are just an occasional performer, but honestly, you’ll be surprised how it can focus you, give you direction when you feel lost in the world of burlesque (of which I have no doubt all of us have at some time or another), and make you feel like you are creating with purpose.  Even if you just write down some goals, sometimes it can be enough to inspire you. While there is no end-goal in burlesque, to have a twelve-month maybe even twenty four-month plan, there is always room to challenge yourself and develop further. To be able to look back and say with confidence that you intended all those things that happened to happen is a wonderful feeling. A much better feeling than just wafting around the universe, hoping for the best (though sometimes that does have it place!). Whether you have one goal, multiple goals, or just want to do some burlesque-soul-searching by using this planning guide, remember that you, and only you, can be in control of your own destiny.