making a budget tracking finances

Music Venue Management: Moving Past Spreadsheets to Track Concert Budgets

After industry professionals took the time to figure out how to hold live shows and generate revenue safely in 2021, the new year holds a great deal of promise for a more normal landscape of live music. Still, as many venue owners make necessary changes to the customer-facing environment, they neglect to update their internal strategies. For instance, although venues are welcoming fans back, management hasn’t taken the opportunity to refresh its tactics for tracking concert budgets.

If you’re a tech-savvy music venue manager, you know that managing a music venue in the modern market requires efficiency and fiscal intelligence. And this balance can be hard to establish through unwieldy Excel spreadsheets and a desk littered with sticky notes.

Plus, managing a music venue requires more than just keeping up with the books. It also requires effective management of the venue’s in-house crew and the development of an environment of productivity.

If you’re looking for tips on improving your music venue management in 2022, we’re here to help. Step one: move beyond concert budget spreadsheets. 

Concert Budgets

The concert industry took a $30 billion loss in 2020, and as venue owners think about ways to recoup these dollars, concert budgets will be one of the primary focuses with a hard look taken at what exactly is contributing to top-line expenses.

A typical concert budget outlines the anticipated spending on all of the various items needed to put on a show. Many people also use a budget to track incoming revenue by keeping a count of ticket sales on the same sheet.

As a venue owner, the expenses listed in your budget will include, but are not limited to, things like entertainment (artist’s fees, opening acts), marketing (flyers, digital ads), health and safety tools (COVID tests, masks, hand sanitizer), and event documentation (programs, lobby posters).

If you think this sounds like a lot to track on a basic spreadsheet, you’re right.

Ditch Concert Budget Spreadsheets

The problem with concert budget spreadsheets is that they only do one thing — and they don’t even do it very well. You can plug numbers into a spreadsheet, but unless you’re a formula whiz that can set everything up to calculate by the column and on command, you’re still working too hard. Even then, you’re still stuck with data silos and the chance of human error.

An all-in-one music venue management platform can provide multiple functions that allow you to manage more effectively. Removing spreadsheets from your process eliminates the need to jump between several different apps to track ticket sales, booking calendars, profit margins, and more. The best part is that a great platform will automatically track your income and expenses, so you never have to enter numbers manually again.

Moving to a consolidated system is essential for taking a show from conceptualization to completion efficiently and effectively. 

As a venue owner, it pays to have everything in one place so that you can get an overview of your business in real-time. For instance, if you have an upcoming show, you’ll know in advance how ticket sales are doing and what they are (or are not) contributing to your bottom line. You’ll be able to track an event at every stage in the process, in one place, to help guide decisions for the future shows you’ll host at your venue.

Create an Intelligent, Realistic Concert Budget

Using an end-to-end venue management platform means that you can realistically set your concert budget and meet event expectations as a venue owner. Spreadsheets just can’t show you the real-time data you need to create a realistic concert budget because they only show one piece of the puzzle. However, when you have ticket prices, artist contracts, market trends, previous event data, and more in one central location, you’ll feel more confident that you’ll create a concert budget your team can stick to.

The music business is precarious enough without adding financial worries to the list. Unrealistic budgeting due to archaic spreadsheets can lead to poor financial decisions because numbers can be entered wrong or line items can be lost. As venues are still reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, being realistic about your budget moving forward is crucial.

There’s a time and a place for Excel, but creating a concert budget is not it because it doesn’t give you a clear view of all the moving parts that are involved in putting on a show. Upgrading to an end-to-end venue management platform will give you the tools you need to ensure your business thrives in 2022. 

Eliminate Fiscal Redundancies

One of the biggest pitfalls of managing a music venue is that you may not even realize where you have redundancies in your concert budget, especially when you’re using outdated tools like spreadsheets. An elite venue management platform has features that will point out areas where you can reduce these repetitive line items and make your fiscal responsibilities clear so that you can make your budgeting process even more efficient. 

With everything in one place, you won’t have to worry about something slipping through the cracks. Say goodbye to duplications or dropped decimal points because your system will take care of the computing.

Related: Venue Management Software: Why You Need it NOW

Track Everything

One of the most common mistakes you can make as a concert promoter is failing to track every detail. It’s an easy mistake to make, too, because managing a music venue means overseeing many different moving parts. From calendar dates to ticket sales to promotion and marketing for the event, it seems impossible to track every component of your business. 

This is where a program designed by music venue owners for music venue owners comes in to streamline the process.

Anyone who has ever owned a music venue gets it — you have to keep track of everything. It’s unnecessarily inconvenient to track the budget on a spreadsheet when you’re monitoring ticket sales in an entirely different app. It’s great to stay on top of your income and expenses but tedious to have to keep switching tabs to hunt down production notes or contact information for a show. 

An elite venue management system brings everything together onto one dashboard. Spreadsheets just can’t offer this level of organization and integration. Even the most minute detail can create complications in venue management. If there’s one reason why you should get rid of concert budget spreadsheets in favor of venue management software, it’s the efficiency of having everything you need when you need it.

An all-in-one platform makes it simple. One log-in, one app, and everything at your fingertips so that you can do what you do best. 

Focus on Efficiency

Your time is valuable, and right now, you need to focus on booking shows with added safety precautions for your customers. Outdated spreadsheets only slow down your operation and keep you away from the reasons you got into this industry in the first place.

Fans are antsy to get back inside your venue to see their favorite artists. They have their vaccination cards and masks, and they’re willing to follow the protocols you set. They’re ready to bask in the glow of the stage lights after being kept away for so long. 

The venues that can create a safe live music experience are the ones that are going to net the ticket sales. This means that efficiency will be your best friend as we navigate the new normal.

You don’t have time to deal with slow and sluggish spreadsheet programs. You certainly don’t want to waste time going in and out of various apps and programs each time you manage a show. But it’s not just your outdated concert budget method that needs a refresh.

Upgrading to an integrated venue management software offers a more efficient approach to managing your music venue in 2022. It gives you a starting point to revamp your organization’s internal structure.

If needed, hire and train staff to fill open positions. Comb through your administrative processes to make sure everything is running optimally. Change up any processes — such as budgeting via spreadsheet — that are a waste of your time. 

You need to be ready to give your clients a phenomenal show. Managing everything in one place with powerful software will provide you with a seamless concert planning experience. 

Related: 6 Tips to Build a Solid Business Plan for Your Live Music Venue

Automate Your Reports

With the right venue management software, you can automate your reports and have all of your event data updated in real-time. Having everything in one place makes it possible for you to quickly see updated ticket counts and expenses. With your concert budget connected to every other aspect of an event, you won’t have to worry about any details slipping through the cracks.

Additionally, venue management software makes it easier for you to juggle multiple events at once. You can create customized reports weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually, so you can get a clear picture of what’s within your means. The best part is that you won’t have to spend as much time on tedious data entry and can spend more time enjoying the incredible events your venue hosts.

Set Dates — But Be Flexible

As more venue owners become comfortable with concerts in the post-COVID era, they’re beginning to schedule events farther out. While setting dates is an excellent idea because it gives concertgoers something to look forward to, it’s realistic to need to be more lenient with ticket returns or exchanges than in the past. Although there’s hope for avoiding the postponement of more events, it’s helpful to make it as easy as possible to make adjustments if necessary.

A top-of-the-line venue management software will come with a calendar feature that makes it easy to track bookings along with ticket sales in one place. Then, if you have to reschedule a date for safety purposes, you can look at the calendar to figure out where you might have openings and effortlessly change the schedule. 

Promote Your Venue

With the time you’ll save by using software to manage your concert budgets, you’ll be able to allocate more time to promoting your venue. Having an accurate concert budget will help you understand what you can spend on marketing for a specific event or general community outreach to increase awareness that your venue has reopened. 

A venue management platform will help you construct a marketing campaign that will in turn help you overcome the difficulties your venue faced by the pandemic, so you can bounce back better than ever.

Enhance Communication Among Venue Staff

You can also use venue management software to enhance communication among your staff. A cloud-based solution enables your crew to manage events on the go or from their desks. This is one of the benefits of managing everything in one place. It allows everyone on the team to share messages with one another and ensures that everyone who needs to be in the know has access to pertinent information. 

With the right software, team members can enact changes as needed, keep a record of messages with clients, and track event changes. A communication feature allows you to assign tasks and deadlines to staff members so that you can track what is being done in a way that promotes greater accountability. 

Stay on Budget and Make Your Upcoming Concerts a Massive Success

Staying on budget is essential to successfully running a music venue, however, sticking to the way you’ve always handled your budget will only slow you down. When you switch from spreadsheets to venue management software, you’ll begin creating a database that will help you create effective budgets in the future. Instead of taking shots in the dark while trying to figure out how much an event will cost, you’ll be able to look at past events for reference points.

Perhaps it’s stating the obvious, but running a music venue is easier than ever with the right tools. Real-time expense tracking will help you stay on budget while preparing for a specific event. You won’t miss a reimbursable expense or get hit with an overtime charge. You’ll be able to monitor events on a user-friendly dashboard and track your shows’ profit trajectories. If you’re ready to say goodbye to spreadsheets for good, make the switch to Prism. Prism is designed specifically for music venue owners like you and has all the tools you need to bring your organization into the future. Get started today to see how Prism can help you more effectively manage your music venue, move on from concert budget spreadsheets, and increase financial management for your venue.

Take back your weekend.
Let Prism settle your shows.