Team building. A necessary exercise for survival. There’s an innate need in all of us to form our own support framework. But how on earth do you navigate this industry well enough to do so? By using a little thing I like to call the Doughnut theory.

Folllowing my conversations with some incredibly talented (and honest) industry professionals, IndustryMe’s Top Tip Tuesday brings you “Food For Thought”.

This series will offer an inside perspective and perhaps even a solution to the challenges faced by many creatives on their journeys. Of course, being the natural foodie that I am, this series will be centred around food – you can thank J Fresh for the inspo.

Today’s post will offer some advice curated from my candid chats with those in the biz. It will cover the basics of who you need, why you need them and some positive characteristics to look out for when building your dream team.

So without further ado…I bring you the doughnut theory.

Whether it’s Krispy Cremes, Dunkin Donuts or Greggs there is one thing other than delectable sweet treats, that is synonymous with the experience of being inside what I like to refer to as the corporate bakery. You’ve guessed it, the smell. That divine aroma that grabs your attention from the very first whiff, alerting your other senses that something deliciousness is on the menu. That’s exactly what your manager should be doing, ensuring you are being seen by the right people at the right time.


A management Co-ordinate all aspects of an artists projects making sure that everything surrounding the artist moves in a manner that is both professional and cohesive. It’s the job of a manager to make sure your artist is seen in the best light, which includes everything from performance venues to song choices.

Qualities to look for in a manager :

  • Someone always focused on the bigger picture
  • excellent communication skills
  • people person
  • organised

So you’ve done the hard part and you’ve drawn them in with excellent management, now what?

Well you can’t have a doughnut theory without a doughnut, specifically flavour. That’s right my friend flavour represents the artists themselves. Something which is distinctive, well-balanced and that the audience will always return for another taste of.

The Creative

Work on your craft, there is absolutely no point of the sensational aroma captivating the minds and nostrils of your audience if they will be put off the moment that they take a bite. So tip number 2 is work on you.

Delving a little deeper, let’s go right to the centre. Whether is jam, cream or custard, most of us enjoy a good filling. Think of the lawyer as the donut filling. The force at the core of the team that ties everything together. While not all donuts have fillings, the best ones usually do. Lawyers cover a range of bases from negotiating contracts to ensuring that others aren’t infringing on your rights.

Greggs caramel custard donut, half bitten showing the rich creamy custard centre

The Lawyer

Why do you need a lawyer? The creative industry is literally built on ideas. Simply put you need a lawyer to make sure your ideas are recognised as exaltly that YOUR ideas. Whether it’s registering your band name or helping you to understand copyrights and trademarks it helps to have a lawyer in your corner.

Some key qualities a lawyer should have are:

  • Good communication skills.
  • Analytical skills.
  • Good attention to detail

Finally frosting, because what else right? This ingredient epitomises the role of an accountant. Think of them as the cherry on top. (Yes I am aware that I just metaphored over an analogy, but you get the point – I hope). While not having one will by no means make or break your team, at least in the beginning stages; they are certainly a welcomed addition to the ensemble. It is advisable that artists themselves become accustomed to how financial transactions work and what needs to be paid when, and to whom, for their own personal benefit.

Now of course we can get into the details of texture, colour, batter ingredients etc. But the specifics to an extent ruin the analogy by including an element of complexity that is far from necessary. The business side of being a creative, particularly in the case of musicians, is time consuming and often hinders the creative process. If you can find a group of people that you trust, to help alleviate that stress, I say go for it

With special thanks to Rob Saunders & Ebony Reid