Making Musical Artists Shine through a Small Business

Kyle Fosburgh
Entrepreneurial guitarist Kyle Fosburgh tells the story of how he started his own small business - Grass-Tops Recording - and offers some valuable tips on startup success.
Entrepreneurial guitarist Kyle Fosburgh tells the story of how he started his own small business – Grass-Tops Recording – and offers some valuable tips on startup success.

Kyle Fosburgh has had a passion for music for most of his life. In fact, he has mastered the acoustic guitar and has even recorded and sold his own musical creations. So what better person would there be to launch a unique production company for other artists looking to get their tunes heard?

Fosburgh, a 1-800Accountant client and self-employed entrepreneur, is the proud CEO of Grass-Tops Recording in Bloomington, Minnesota. The home-based small business became a reality in 2011, but Fosburgh set up the LLC for it in April 2014.

Grass-Tops Recording is a multifaceted entity in the wide-ranging music industry. The startup serves as a production studio, a record label, and as a music promoter. Fosburgh and his contractors record, produce, and release CDs, LPs, and digital downloads for artists worldwide, with an emphasis on folk and world music. The small business also offers archiving and reissuing services for music that was originally produced in the past.

“I’m a musician myself, so starting a business like this was a way to record and market my own music, while helping other aspiring musicians do the same,” Fosburgh explains. “It’s sort of my livelihood. I enjoy music and putting musical products together.”

Competing in the Music Industry

While many see the music industry as a cutthroat type of field, Fosburgh takes a different stance. From his vantage point, as long as a production company produces music for a niche market, the amount of competition can be greatly minimized.

“We have a niche market in terms of the type of music we produce and the audience who can enjoy it,” he says. “We’re different because we are more than just a record label. Plus, anyone from young to old can enjoy our music. We have customers of all ages.”

In addition, he takes a different approach in terms of his goals with the startup company.

“We are taking a long-term approach by building a name as a producer of high-quality musical products,” he says. “We’re focusing primarily on artistic integrity, as opposed to having a ‘fly-by-night’ mentality and trying to sell lots of records to our audience. We’re about patience and creating high quality art first and foremost.”

Grass-Tops Productions logoMarketing a Music Production Business

To make others aware of Grass-Tops Recording, Fosburgh has mostly used online marketing strategies. He has a website for the business at www.grasstopsrecording.com, along with profiles on music distribution sites like SoundCloud. Additionally, the small business maintains social media pages on several networks, including Facebook and Twitter. Finally, Fosburgh has a customer e-mail list that he contacts regularly and contracts with an outside promotional person to help spread the company’s tunes to as many ears as possible.

Challenges to Small Business Ownership

Fosburgh confides that being a one-man band – literally and figuratively – is the biggest challenge to starting a business and ongoing ownership of it.

“I’m kind of doing everything on my own,” he admits. “I oversee everything. I have to be in contact with audio producers, manufacturers, distributors, designers, and other individuals. I have to update the website and social media pages myself.”

Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Based on his own experience running Grass-Tops Recording, Fosburgh gives some insight into what starting a business is really like – and how to effectively achieve startup success.

“I’ve had mentors who have showed me how to do things more efficiently. I’m not really a business person at heart. I consider myself more of a creative thinker. So you should find what you want to really do and seriously focus on that. Then find a means to make it financially sustainable.”

Entrepreneurs take the leap of faith into small business ownership for many reasons. While Fosburgh admits there are some drawbacks to being a self-employed business owner, the freedom that comes with this territory is unmatched.

“You have lots of freedom to create your own schedule,” he says. “You can structure your time any way you choose. Of course, you may have to work on weekends and at times when others would be off work.”

1-800Accountant Client Testimonial

As a client of 1-800Accountant, Fosburgh says he has been extremely satisfied with his services from the national accounting firm.

“Everything has been covered very well with regard to my business taxes,” he says. “It’s been a very good learning experience on what my business needs to do to survive and tax strategies to help me save money. I really like the webinars as well and have gotten so much information from them.”

Photo credit: The photograph of Kyle Fosburgh and company logo included in this blog post were provided by Grass-Tops Recording and are used with permission.

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