Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in music but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Barry Alexander, Chairman and COO of Alexander & Buono Foundation, located in New York, NY, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

We have a foundation designed to support the careers of aspiring classical musicians. Our customers are largely the applicants we meet through our four competitions for Piano, Voice, Strings, and Flute, as well as those interested in studying those instruments through our Academy.

Tell us about yourself

After retiring from a career as an opera singer, I decided to start a public relations firm for classical musicians. One of the clients on my roster had his own piano competition (the Bradshaw & Buono International Piano Competition), which gave artists a performance debut at Carnegie Hall as a first prize. He asked me to go into business with him to create a vocal competition, and realizing the lack of information aspiring artists had about the business side of a classical music career; we decided to start the foundation in order to help support artists with both entrepreneurial expertise as well as music education.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment has been being able to give over 500 artists worldwide their Carnegie Hall performance debut through our Competitions.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Getting the word out to people about our business, which caters to a very niche market.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Stay informed. Nothing is more powerful than understanding the trends and changes within your overall business and knowing how to adjust based on them.
  2. Expect to work far more than you might want to in the course of a given day. No matter how much help you have, there are certain things only you can and should manage.
  3. Always be nice and build solid relationships with people and organizations wherever possible. They are what facilitate awareness of your business while providing avenues for potential growth.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Building a business is always challenging, so one needs not only to be persistent but also extremely patient. The only people who aren't successful are the ones who stop working.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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