Hate to say it, but it’s true: the success of your indie studio relies more on how you operate your business rather than how awesome your indie games are. The best indie developers are the ones that not only make great games, but also have a mind for business. These guys/gals know how to market themselves to their core audience, they know how to catch the attention of the masses, how to create a game with a ‘hook,’ and beyond.
Just making a great game will get you nowhere, and according to Nathaniel Green, every person needs that business person that can make certain that the business side of the indie studio is running swimmingly.
“You’re gonna need someone, during development and beyond, who can be “that” guy,” says Green in a post on Gamasutra. “Someone who focuses on what the business needs or needs to do, who will work the numbers, make budgets, find loopholes, keep their eyes on the prize.”
Green states that he is the business developer of the team, and while everyone else is actually contributing to the progression of the studio’s indie game, he has a very different role that is still vital to their success. What does the business developer do? Here’s Green:
“It’s simple: I look out for the company’s best interests,” says Green. “I look for ways to grow. I do the legal and financial stuff. I file documents with state and local governments. I track our expenses (mostly in a general way, although VERY specifically come tax time) and I’ll be monitoring our sales. I do budgets and charts and look at tax tables.”
Green states that sometimes, he’s up until 3am juggling Excel sheets, figuring out repayment plans, marketing on social media, and so on. But it’s necessary, and most importantly? Vital to the team’s existence.
We haven’t really discussed the role of a business developer here at Game Academy before, but the tasks and more that Green has to juggle on a daily basis is something every indie studio has to do on a daily basis. If you are developing your indie games alone, this means that not only are you developing every facet of your indie game, but you are also having to tackle the business side of your indie studio as well – a full time job all by itself!
TOO DX, the team Green is a part of, has the right idea by hiring a business developer to tackle primarily the business side of the indie studio. This leaves the other team members to focus on actually developing their indie games, which undoubtedly keeps the entire team on track. A person in this role is essential to the survival of your indie studio, and whether that person is you or someone else, know that someone has to be the ‘business guy’ of your indie studio.
And if you don’t have that ‘business guy?’ Find him. We’ve discussed all week about hiring outsourced professionals for your indie studio, and there is certainly business-minded professionals out there that can be outsourced to tackle the business aspect of your indie studio.
Hey, that sounds like a good topic for tomorrow, doesn’t it?
Give Green’s post a quick read if you have a few moments. It’s a facet of indie studio life that is never discussed, but it’s so important. Have any questions or comments about the role of that ‘business guy/gal’ in your own indie studio? Let us know in the comments below!