5 Ways to Keep Your Investors Investing.
Believe it or not, one of the greatest complaints I hear from Broadway investors is not that they lost money. It’s that they didn’t feel like they were a part of the process. They felt used.
It’s not possible to involve your investors in every part of your business, and they shouldn’t even want you to, because frankly your time is best spent working on selling your show. However, there are quite a few things you can do to make sure that they know they are more then just a walking/talking checkbook.
We pay a ton of attention to Investor Relations here in my office. Why? The few, proud people that are Broadway investors are the gasoline in the Broadway engine. And treating them with the respect and admiration they deserve is the best way you can ensure you never have a shortage.
Here are five ways you can better your investor relations:
1. Communication is the key.
Seems simple, but keeping your investors up to to date on the goings on with your show is essential, especially at the beginning of a run (and especially if your investors are out of town). You don’t want your investors finding out any news about your show on Playbill.com. And here’s the big tip: tell them good news and the bad news. If your show is struggling, be honest. Investors are smart people and they know the risks of Broadway Investing. They just want the truth. And, to give you a reverse-Aaron Sorkin, “They can handle the truth.” BONUS TIP: Keep your communication going even when you don’t have a show you’re selling.
2. Everyone likes free stuff.
T-Shirts, Cast Recordings, Opening Night Gifts, etc. Small tangible things that remind people that they are on the “team” go a long way. Broadway investors invest in shows because they love them. So a physical reminder of that show, whether it’s a window card, or a notepad, are a great and simple way to give them a sense of ownership and pride in your project.
3. Be available.
I’ve had a ton of investors tell me that they can’t get their Producer on the phone, or that he/she won’t respond to their emails. WTF? In my Broadway investing seminars I always recommend that you ask how available the Producer is before you invest, so you can manage your own expectations . . . but if you’re on the Producing side, and you’ve accepted money from an investor in a risky venture . . . then answer your f’in email and return an f’in phone call. ‘Nuff said.
4. Be a concierge
We offer our investors a host of other services including setting up ‘house seats’ for other shows, dinner and hotel recommendations and reservations . . . and I’ve even recommended (or not recommended) that my investors invest in other shows when they ask! Treat your investors like your friends, and they’ll do the same. Help them, and they’ll help you. Relationships are built on reciprocity.
5. Make them money.
Easier said then done, of course . . . and what I really mean is “take care” of their money. Tell them your motives for each project. Do you believe it can make money? Is it an art project? Have you worked that budget over to make sure its the leanest it can be without compromising the art? Yes, people know that investing in Broadway is risky, but that doesn’t mean they want to just give their money away. And making an investor money is a sure-fire way to get them to invest in something else, and recommend to their friends that they invest with you as well. The odds of financial success on Broadway are about 1 in 5. Show your investors why the odds are better with you.
It’s one of your many jobs to keep your investors happy. However far you want to take that is up to you. But I do believe that all of us have a responsibility to the strong and stalwart folks who support what we do. Treat them well.
Our business depends on it.
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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.