A band manager is someone who generally takes care of the "business" of a band, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't be on top of your music career before a manager comes into the picture—or that there aren't things you should be doing even if you have a manager on board. These band management basics make a good checklist of the things you should be doing from day one of your band's life.
Find the Band
Unless you're a solo artist, it goes without saying that the first part of managing your band is actually FINDING the band. Look for musicians with whom you share musical interests, of course, and also look for musicians that have the same attitude toward things like practicing and songwriting that you do. Remember, if all goes well, you're going to be spending a lot of time with these people, and it is worth being clear up front about expectations.
Practice Makes Perfect
You can be the most gifted musician in the world, and you still need to practice. Good bands rehearse. Sticking to a practice schedule is a good way to keep everyone on track. If you find that committing to practicing is hard for you, or someone in your band just refuses to stick to the practice schedule, it may be time for a change.
Record the Demo
The first step to getting noticed for any band is to record a demo. Demo recording doesn't have to be expensive and complicated. The important thing is having a short set of recordings on hand, so you have a way to promote your music.
Create a Promo Package
Once you have your demo recorded, you should create a promo package—a package including a demo recording, a bio of the band, and copies of any press the band has received. Promo packages are the key to just about anything you need to do as a band, from all kinds of self-promotion of your music to approaching a record label to getting a show.
Get the Word Out
Getting the word out to your fans (or your fans-to-be) is very important, but it is equally important to get the word out about your band within the music industry. This can mean contacting record labels to try and get a deal, contacting promoters for shows, contacting managers and agents who can help you with your career, and so on. In addition to having your promo package ready, it is also a good idea to pay careful attention to approaching these people in the right way—give them the information they need about you, nothing more and nothing less, to get the best results.
Taking Care of Business
While the money might not be rolling in right now, it's important to time to make sure the framework is in place to handle it if it starts. Don't neglect things like contracts because there is no money involved at this stage, or you're working with friends, or you think they're just not cool—bad planning of this kind will definitely come back and bite you down the road, and you are certain to find that even less cool.
Of course, these things are just a sampling of all of the issues a band may face and all of the band management related things that are to be done when you're getting a music career off the ground. If you make sure you've got an eye on these basic tasks at all times, however, you'll always be one step ahead of the game.