Daily Archives: October 3, 2013

Laziness will not build an audience

This week has made many of us grumpy.  There have been so many shutdowns and mismanagement highlights in the news.  During a conversation with an arts colleague, I posed the question, why do these management mishaps happen?  Is it laziness?

We talked about how many of us keep on keeping on, but perhaps without thought to why we are keeping on if what we are doing is not working.  Is this due to laziness?

I know ego could be an answer as well, but let’s not go there and assume it is laziness.  We have become too lazy to do what we need to do to get out of our ruts, and most of us are in a rut.  It takes time and effort to get out of this rut.  We need to be willing to put this sweat equity in or we are not going to be as successful as we hope to be.

Here is a list of reasons why we have become lazy in managing our arts businesses:

  • We don’t evaluate what we are doing enough – I went to a workshop about evaluation.  Evaluation should happen before, during and after an event or program.  We need to know what is working and what is not.  We also need to ask ourselves if what we are doing is necessary and if it fits with our missions. Otherwise, we are wasting a lot of time, effort, money and other resources on something that may not be producing results.  When’s the last time you evaluated what you are doing?
  • We don’t prioritize – After evaluation and getting rid of what doesn’t work, it is good to prioritize what is left on our plates. What really matters?  What needs to get done first?  This takes some thought, time and effort, but it is worth it to know that your energy is going to what is going to matter the most for you and your audiences.
  • We don’t slow down to get it right the first time – Yes, I need to work on this one.  We are all rushing around trying to get millions of things done in a short amount of time.  Many of us wear a multitude of hats.  Evaluating and prioritizing can help, but we also need to slow down to make sure we are working effectively.  My friend said she forgot to sign a thank you letter, and this letter went to someone she knew.  Did her friend call her on it?  Big YES!  It made her friend feel badly that not only was the letter not signed, but there wasn’t even a quick note to say hello.  Admit it, how many times have you sent an email out with a mistake you could have caught if you slowed down by a few seconds.  This is happening more and more these days due to all the hectic, hyper communication we are doing.  Think about slowing down.  It will help with your sanity too.  ;O)
  • We don’t follow through – From signing our full names at the end of emails to providing links and other helpful information where it counts, we are not following through to give our audiences the necessary information to take the next step.  There have been many times I have received emails that did not have proper contact information.  I couldn’t call them even if I wanted to, which in some cases, I did want to call.  When we send out social media without the extra links, it becomes a wasted effort.  Your audiences can’t buy tickets or get more information without these links.  Let’s start following through!
  • We don’t follow up and build relationships – So many times I see programs initiated, but after it is all said and done, we don’t follow up with these audiences.  We are not building relationships with people.  Instead, we stick with sending out more mass marketing messages and doing programming and business practices we feel is best, because that’s the rut we are in.
  • We keep thinking in terms of, this is the way it is has always been – Is it working?  Have you filled the house and sold your art shows out?  Time to rethink and put energy toward new ways of doing business.
  • We don’t have the time to deal with something new – Go back to evaluation and prioritizing and you will find the time and resources you need.
  • We don’t know how to change – This one is interesting since there are consultants, workshops, seminars, webinars, etc. that are attempting to teach us how to make thoughtful changes.  People are not showing up even when they declare they need this type of education.  ?!

For someone that has been advocating for audience development, which is a new way of managing an arts business, all of the mentioned above does make me and my fellow colleagues a little grumpy.  We are sad to see so many shutdowns.  The “laziness” will lead to more shutdowns.

Is it laziness?  Or is it an unwillingness to change? 

Let me know your thoughts. 

PS Yesterday, I did a shout out for Thomas Cott and his You’ve Cott Mail for my Giving Program month. Sign up with him for themed arts news.  I am still thinking about today’s gift.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,


Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists



“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

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