Wow, does this sound familiar – back to the mid-80’s in Canada and with a not so “regional” orchestra that had its share of woes.

I think that Regional Orchestras, such as the Pasadena Symphony, should avail themselves of a concrete strategic planning process.

Here are some questions that might arise in creating a “Business Plan”:

What market you are entering? What needs already exist? Who are the competitors in your region? And how others have succeeded and failed in the past?

  • Describe how you’re going to change your current situation, because your current situation is not working: We will do this, and then this will happen. We will build this with this much money in this much time. We will present the results of “this” to the market and the market will respond by taking this action.
    • Come up with some alternatives to “this”, because for sure you’re first, second and third “this” may not work. This shows flexibility.

Who is on the team? The stakeholders: the orchestra, the staff, (including the Music Director), the Board of Directors and the community – those who are current attendees and those who are not.

  • Be wise and cast a wide net. Ask the stakeholders to ask themselves questions.

Money: How much do you need? How will you spend it? What does cash flow look like, P&Ls, balance sheets, margins and exit strategies?

  • When you have the first 2 sections of questions answered then this will come into place because the Money is a numerical – financial statement of decisions taken in What and Who.

Do I agree with the author of “The Zero Option Do regional orchestras still make artistic sense?”

In a word – “NO”. But the article raises a number of questions that may indeed strengthen a Regional Orchestra.