Business manager

Choosing a business owner: an artist’s guide

You are a young artist who suddenly sees the money pouring in, after years of toil and struggle. Or maybe you are a seasoned director or screenwriter, always concerned about the wrong choices when it comes to spending or investing. As nerve-racking as maintaining a career in entertainment can be, worries about the state of your finances must turn the pressure up to 11.

It’s no wonder he’s the rare creative who doesn’t seek help from a financial professional.

“Under normal circumstances, artists are people who can create beautiful and wonderful things,” says Barry Siegel, senior managing director of Provident Financial Management, known for its star client list and impressive performance. “But they really don’t have the time, the inclination, or the capacity to take on the more pragmatic functions of our company.”

Translation: The entrepreneur is an essential component of any successful artistic career. Personal managers and lawyers can sort through the available options and agents can make deals. But when it comes to financial management, there is no substitute for a trained professional who can assess their financial situation, advise on life-changing decisions, and plan for a bright future.

Just ask Al Pacino, longtime Siegel customer. “I just feel more free to go out and do what I’m doing because I have an honest person handling my finances,” he explains. “I don’t have to look over my shoulder, and that’s a big plus in this world.”

An exceptional business leader does more than just pay the bills. “If there’s a contract for a movie or a TV show,” says Siegel, “it’s our job to make sure that this money comes in when it’s supposed to, and to sue that money if it doesn’t. is not the case. ” A company will advise on major purchases, from homes to airplanes. He can advise on the client’s charitable giving and, of course, help with estate planning.

Artistic legacies are also at play. “Every artist believes their music will live on forever,” Siegel reminds us. “But the reality of life is that most artists don’t last forever.” Good business management can extend the shelf life of a set of works beyond the lifespan of the creator.

Des McAnuff, original director of “Jersey Boys,” calls Siegel “a source of wisdom. He was truly our sage,” he says, citing Siegel’s deep love for the arts that complements his financial acumen. to have it by our side during this crisis, with all of our shows closed, has been a godsend. “

With so many at stake, giving up control of your own affairs is not to be taken lightly. McAnuff recommends thoroughly researching a manager’s background, looking for “candor and honesty.” (On this point, he adds, “Barry only gets gold stars, so it was painless.” For his part, Pacino was sold because “Barry exudes confidence. even try. I appreciate that. “)

Siegel suggests that a potential client carefully assesses the relationship between a management company and its bank. Upon its inception in 1982, Provident began an association with the City National Bank which continues to this day. “City National has supported us the most as a business and our customers with their specific needs. I think their entertainment division is the best in the business, ”he says, highlighting the banking team’s in-depth knowledge of the artists’ plight and their vast experience in funding massive tours and others. major start-up projects.

“I would like to say that we did it all and that we are the best,” says Siegel with a laugh. “But without the direct help of the City National Bank, we couldn’t be where we are. They took the time to become human with our customers and with us. I know I can have someone on the phone when I need them.

Siegel and his team conduct what he calls “a good fit interview” with every potential client. Business management is labor intensive, with up to 50% of a company’s annual gross income applicable to labor costs. Therefore, “we have to be very careful with the developing artists that we bring in. And even to established artists: how long will it take? We have to make this decision, ”he said.

Personal chemistry has an impact, as Siegel is always aware of what he calls “our providential family.” If our staff have to deal with someone who is not a nice person on a daily basis, what does that make them think about their work? How does it make them feel about us? No matter how bright the fixture shines, when an impending arrival at Provident’s Santa Monica office causes employees to whitewash, Siegel is blunt, “It’s not worth it.” … We have resigned [from working with] very big customers who were rude to our people.

McAnuff echoes the importance of the personal touch. “You can never have someone in your life that you dread talking to.” At the same time, he stresses that customers should take personal responsibility for their own affairs.

“In the arts, we tend to go back to being teenagers. And if you’re doing something you love, it might take your time and focus, ”says McAnuff. The temptation to simply hand over the purse strings to an “adult” can be strong, but it must be resisted, which involves a constant awareness of one’s own financial situation.

In this vein, Siegel emphasizes that his role is deliberately advisory. “We have to look for the right solution to make the future bright for our client”, but “we don’t make any final decisions at all”. He clarified, “We are not, ‘Yes, ma’am.’ We will tell the customer what we think. But it’s really up to the customer to make the final call.

That is why, in the final analysis, “an informed customer is the best customer a business owner can have.”

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