How To Thrive in a Down Economy

By Alan Dodson, DJ/MC/Game Master.

We are living in a time of economic uncertainty where goods and services are controlled by the law of supply and demand as well as available funds and budgets.  So, how can a professional mobile DJ maintain a demand for his or her services and receive a top rate?

The quick answer is to jump to “price” as a conclusion; however, when it comes to value, the “cheapest” product or service may well turn out to be the most EXPENSIVE. Ask any client who has had their once-in-a-lifetime event ruined by an inexperienced for incompetent DJ.  The value in our business is a matter of what our service is worth to a customer – and we need to get them to understand it up front to be booked.

You’ve probably heard the old adage: “The good feeling of lower price is forgotten when the reality of poor quality remains.” One of my favorite quotes by Warren Buffett is: “Price is what you pay….value is what you get!”  How then does a DJ effectively communicate value to a price-conscious prospect?  Don’t fall into the price trap!

In the final analysis, it’s not the cheap DJs that people with discretionary funds will be turning to but rather the truly professional DJ that will ultimately offer the higher value proposition through personalized attention, detailed planning services, outstanding performance, state-of-the-art equipment and membership in a professional DJ association.  It’s all of these items that make a high-value DJ recession proof.

Here are some ways to bullet-proof your business from unstable economic conditions.

The Top Ten Ways to Thrive in a Down Economy:

1. Focus on what you do best: Promote your services at the type of event at which you excel the greatest, even if it is not your highest priced service. Limit or stop advertising and promoting the others.

2. Don’t Over Analyze: It is good to look at your business options before you take action but in the end, time is of the essence, so it’s better to take some action than no action at all.

3. Evaluate Your Business Practices: Recreate your DJ business into a leaner, healthier and more customer service oriented premium service with greater added value.

4. Connect to Your Clients Meaningfully: Have conversations with current and past customers and ask them questions.  The more the clients talk, the more you will learn about their needs and wants.

5. Follow up with your past clients: The least expensive way to gain new business or referrals is from past happy customers.

6. Prioritize Needs and Wants: When clients are cautious about spending money, they need to see and understand that they are making an investment in the quality of their event when they hire you.

7. Find Creative Alternatives: DO NOT cut your rates.  Instead, raise them when the economy is uncertain. You will probably book fewer events, so your rate per event should increase not decrease. Help clients find ways to reduce the overall cost of their event (e.g., eliminating chair covers, having a buffet rather than a sit-down plated dinner, losing the ice sculpture, etc.)

8. Increase Word of Mouth Referrals: Contact venues and other vendors in-person to discuss your services. Always dress appropriately when representing your business in public. You wear a tuxedo when performing at a wedding, why would you go out visiting vendors wearing jeans? You only get about 8 seconds to make a first impression!

9. Connect With Your Community: Attend community events such as Chamber of Commerce or Lion’s Club meetings where you can have face-to-face conversations.  People who know and like you are most likely to retain your services.

10. Be Charitable: Provide your services for “free” at charitable and community events.  Not only is this a great way to become known as a caring company in your area and generate future business but you will also feel good about putting your values into action.

The state of the economy begins as an inside job, so go out every day with a positive and prosperous attitude.  Have fun and be enthusiastic about the work you do.  Hey, we get to attend parties for a living and there are few professions that offer that luxury!  Agreed?

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