“An entrepreneur sees an opportunity which others do not fully recognise, to meet an unsatisfied demand or to radically improve the performance of an existing business. They have unquenchable self-belief that this opportunity can be made real through hard work, commitment and the adaptability to learn the lessons of the market along the way”(Martin,D, 2010). With this quote in mind, choosing an entrepreneur project that has the potential to succeed in an already saturated market was vital. Taking this into account, every major city has a comedy festival, but after research we found that Leeds does not.
Therefore, my enterprise project is a Leeds Comedy festival, that will fill this gap in the market and attract a variety of audiences to this event, by delivering top class acts at an affordable rate and to showcase the best of this art form from progressive acts, to well televised acts. The festival will take place from the 10th -13th March next year, in what is proposed to be held in 5 different venues on and around the Leeds University Campus. Therefore, our target market will predominantly be towards students, a market that we obviously have experience in.
Having said this, as a company (“Laughter Lines”) we want to make this event as diverse as possible and will also be marketing this event across the city of Leeds. The festival will run over four days (from Thursday to Sunday), with Thursday night opening as a comedy gala. On Friday night we will run five one hour shows and on Saturday this will be increased to six one hour shows. The festival will be closed in the same way as the opening, with a comedy gala on the Sunday. The pricing strategy will be as follows; a i?? 10 ticket will be sold for the Thursday and Sunday comedy galas, whilst a wristband costing i??
20 will be sold on a limited edition basis that provides entry to all the events being held across the Friday and Saturday night. We will also promote tickets to be sold on the door of each event for any audience members that wish to see specific events. We wish to start promoting for this event before Christmas in the form of flyers to raise the awareness of the new Leeds Comedy Festival. We have decided to sell tickets and perform further promotional events in the week commencing January 24th, which will coincide with the end of Leeds university exams.
We aim to finance this event through sponsorship deals that will we secure early on in the process of the event. A sponsorship proposal has been formulated that will be individually formatted to suit the marketing plan of each organisation we approach, which is discussed in more detail below. To contribute to the success of the event we will also need to secure external partners that will help with the publication of promotional materials and external partners that will provide accommodation for our acts in return for advertising of their organisation in our program.
This ongoing process will happen up until the Christmas period. Our main external partner is the LUU events committee. We as a company realise the importance of our external partner’s missions and strategies to succeed, in that it will enhance the working relationships if we are all agreed on the purpose of the event. LUU events state that “Our vision: Together we’ll make sure you love your time at Leeds” (http://www. leeds. ac. uk ). Throughout my research it was clear that LUU events had a mission to genuinely please the students at Leeds university and make their time at university worthwhile.
Two of their statements express how they want to, “create a vibrant space” for students to meet others and to build a “community” for all of Leeds university members (http://www. leeds. ac. uk ). This coincides well with “Laughter Lines” mission in that we want to bring together an audience from in and around Leeds and build a community around comedy. As it is a comedy festival, a “vibrant” attitude will be spread across the event, in that “Laughter Lines” simply want to extend the interest of comedy within the Leeds community.
In terms of sponsorship partners, I have researched how to obtain the right contacts for various companies, in order to speed up the response time. It has also been necessary for me to research each of the organisations in detail to see if they would be interested in sponsoring our event. This research includes, finding out whether the organisation has sponsored similar events to ours in the past, whether the organisation’s marketing strategy would fit our type of event but also looking at the scale of our event in terms of their organisation.
For the latter, it was vital when writing the sponsorship proposals that I researched each individual organisation and made it clear what “Laughter Lines” can offer them in return. It has to be said, that when contacting certain organisations e. g. “Carlsberg” and describing our event, they simply said that the event did not fit the purpose of their marketing strategy. This obviously caused us setbacks in terms of securing sponsorship, but made me realise that a different approach was needed in terms of how I was addressing each company.
From this point I re-evaluated my thoughts to more relevant sponsors for our event. As a performance management student, I will utilise my skills that I have gained on this course and my personal attributes to contribute to this project. As Jason Cope (2005:379) said “the learning history of each prospective entrepreneur defines the unique level of preparedness brought to start-up”. In terms of my own learning outcomes, I would like to achieve the following; 1. To apply the various theoretical approaches of my entrepreneurial learning so far.
2. To accept the risks relating to my project and to be confident in the strategies that I implement to try to avoid/overcome these risks. 3. To enhance my managerial skills further and have the confidence to succeed in an area outside my comfort zone. Throughout my three year course I have so far, “through a range of case studies, practical projects and the study of management theory” examined issues in “strategy, administration, leadership, quality, marketing, systems, entrepreneurship, legal and ethical questions” (http://www. leeds.
ac. uk). I have studied management roles in arts contexts, and have reflected on, evaluated and recorded my own development as a manager. Although I did not delegate the roles of each individual myself, I was aware of Belbin’s team roles at the time (http://uosweb. shef. ac. uk). Not having worked with Patrick before I was not familiar with his style of management, or what he would bring to the project. However, due to his creative nature it became apparent that he would take on the role as the “co-ordinator”. As Belbin (http://uosweb.
shef. ac. uk) describes, this person is “mature, trusting and confident, they delegate readily, stay calm under pressure” and “are quick to spot an individual’s talent and use them to pursue the group’s objectives”. Due to my wide range of experience in the events industry, my role within the project is to take charge of the logistical side, in particular, time management, liasing with external organisations, and financial co-ordination.
In Belbin’s terms this role is called the “resource investigator” (http://uosweb.shef. ac. uk ). At the present time, I am currently focusing on the role of acquiring sponsorship. Despite many organisations turning down sponsorship proposals as mentioned above, I have sent out several sponsorship proposals to large well known companies that have previously sponsored similar events, including; KPMG, Dominos, Fosters and 96. 3 Radio air. If we gain successful responses, I will then devise contracts and finalise the agreements with each individual organisation.
At the present time, “Laughter Lines” are unable to offer exclusivity to one particular company as we do have a desired sponsorship sum of i?? 4000 that we need in order to fund this event In evaluating ones preparation (“temporal phase”), Cope (2005) suggests, to look “backwards” to the project to evaluate your own experience. “Reuber and Fischer (1999) illustrate that each prospective entrepreneur enters the start-up process with a “stock of experience,” consisting of the background or history of the individual that has accrued up to that point”.
I have project managed various collaborative projects for my degree as well as a two week placement within a media company, project managing an arson reduction production. To focus “inward” on the project and evaluate my own preparedness to the event is imperative. Other than the experience stated I have no previous experience within a comedy festival event. Before the idea of the Leeds Comedy Festival became apparent, I was prepared to make an event that “unmasked” the entrepreneur within me. When I use the word “unmasking” here, I am evoking the distinction that Martin Hedegger (2002) made between two conceptions of truth.
The Greeks saw the idea of truth as “unconcealing”, in that “the task of thinking is not to find a pre-existing truth, but rather a matter of struggling to move away from the particular ways in which we happen to be blinded at a particular moment”. This quote and its context is important in the way that we came about the idea of a Leeds Comedy festival. This event was not a matter of “accuracy but rather a matter of invention. It is not a matter of discovery but a matter of production” (Jones, C et al, 2009). The concept of comedy in Leeds was present, but the opportunity of having a comedy Festival as a one off event was being ignored.