Posts

It’s a sobering fact that many business owners don’t fully realize before opening their doors 20% of businesses will fail within the first year, and by the fifth year, approximately 50% will be in danger (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, August 7, 2020). After all, you’ve put your heart and soul into your business. It’s your baby. You’d do just about anything to make sure that your business has longevity instead of becoming part of that statistic. This doesn’t include a pandemic in the mix either.

Luckily, to ensure that your business is in it for the long haul, the best thing you can do is look to the world of music. The music industry is notorious for chewing up musicians and spitting them out, yet some bands have managed to stand the test of time. Handled properly, you can become the U2 of your industry, rather than the Chumbawamba. (Did you just say, “Chumba who? Exactly.)

Rockstars who stick around for generations behave differently than one-hit wonders. Take a note from these titans of music.

Four Strategies to Make Your Business Last

Have a Clear Purpose and Vision

KISS went into the music industry with the intention to be the greatest rock band of all time. Everything they did, from the long days of practicing to the long nights of trying to get their makeup off, was in service of that vision. It served as their guiding star, helping them make decisions, and making sure that every bandmate was on the same page. The same was for the Beatles. They wanted to be bigger than Elvis.

Why did you go into business and what do you hope to get out of it? Understanding your purpose and your vision, and then clearly communicating it to your employees will help you stay on the path to a long, healthy business. Be very clear and be very specific. Clarity is power.

Maintain a Narrow Focus

Bands don’t set out to make music in every genre there is. U2 never sat backstage after a concert and thought, “We should incorporate opera into our songs… and add in some Country. Hey – does anyone know how to play the banjo?” Or if they did, at least the conversation never moved forward. Do what you do best first. Once you are on top of one mountain others can easily see you from the other ones.

This isn’t to say that rockstars (and you) can’t shift your focus throughout the life of your business. This will actually help you stay fresh and relevant. Just don’t try to do everything at once… in one song… unless you’re Queen and then you go ahead and do whatever you want, because it will be amazing.

Always Be Practicing and Always Be Practicing

Rockstars with staying power know that the hours spent practicing in the studio (or the garage) are what enable them to get on stage and do what they love to do. The same goes for your business. The most important moment in your day isn’t the time spent sitting across from a potential customer delivering your sales pitch. The most important time is learning your craft, perfecting your product, and preparing for that pitch. The more effort you put into that time, the more often you’ll get to do what you love and went into business to do. Don Henley of the Eagles said they never started a tour until they rehearsed their playlist one hundred times in a row, perfectly. Do you and your band have that level of commitment? Were you honing your skills during the pandemic?

Your Band is Your Best Asset

Frontmen (and women) who don’t appreciate their bandmates are destined to be solo artists. Or unemployed. When you start out in business, you may do so as a solopreneur. You may wear every hat in your organization from the CEO to the janitor. However, as your organization grows, you’re going to need a strong team or band that you trust and appreciate, to help you succeed.

Understand that your team is your best asset. They will help you make the Billboard charts or sink into obscurity. Choose wisely and then shower them with gratitude. Never (ever) make them feel unappreciated or easily replaceable. When you do, they’ll either hightail it for the door or make a slow exit, eroding your business as they go. Three key points about your band from my book Opportunity Rocks are, do what’s best for the band, honor everyone’s unique abilities, including your bass players, and check your ego at the door. Everyday. 

Could your team be working together better? I can help. Whether virtual, in-person or a hybrid meeting our team-building trainings will have your employees making beautiful music together and being heard above the noise.

It turns out there’s a lot we can learn from the rockstars of the music industry… and not just which makeup remover works best. Certain musicians have stayed relevant for all these years because they know their vision and their purpose, maintain a narrow focus, stay on top of their game, and appreciate their bandmates. Now, it’s your turn to be a rockstar in your business! Let’s unleash your inner rock star on the world.

How valuable are your customers? Who is your Robert Plant? Which is more important? A new customer or a long-term customer? Do you treat each differently?  Remember the days of business when people were more focused on driving sales than customer service?  Business’ had strict return policies, short return windows, a receipt was required. If you had an unhappy customer, No big deal you had plenty of others waiting in line. My, my how things have changed.  You are not only fighting over new customers but you are also doing whatever it takes to keep your current customers. That means you offer an excellent product or service and rock star customer service.  Or you end up saying farewell to your customer. So just how valuable are your customers? Priceless.

My amazing wife, Jana and I, recently celebrated our first wedding anniversary. We were shopping and decided to buy an anniversary plant. I named it Robert Plant after the band Led Zeppelin. We jokingly said, “As long as Robert is alive, so will our marriage.”  We put him in the trunk and did some more shopping. Keep in mind we live in Las Vegas and it was the end of summer. To our surprise when we arrived home Robert looked almost dead.  We freaked!  I immediately took him inside, gave him water and began talking to him. As each day went by, he continued to look more lifeless and dried up. I cut off the dead leaves, added plant food, more water and told him our marriage was at stake. He looked totally dead and Jana wanted to throw him out, but I said no! I believe we can save him and our marriage. Robert was brown and dried up. I had no more leaves to cut off. His stem was loose in the dirty pot. I kept watering and talking to him daily, Jana too. Approximately three weeks later, I was ready to accept reality and toss him into the trash. I picked him up, looked at him and said… “OMG Robert you’re back!” Way far down in the center of his dead brown stem was a tiny little piece of green leaf trying to push out. Robert was alive and our marriage was saved. I knew we were not out of the woods, but we had hope, new momentum and drive. 

I wonder how many of you dismiss customers as soon as something goes wrong with your product or service. Sure, you will make at least one or two attempts to make things right. But if the customer doesn’t respond do you say, ”oh well” or “next”, or do you “fight for the right to parrrrty” with that customer? Do you make the commitment to keep trying no matter what? Do you have a rock star attitude to never surrender, never give up? Do you continue to nurture the relationship, and keep communication open. Do you sincerely care what happens? Rock stars cannot afford to lose fans, just like you cannot afford to lose customers. Fans and customers are our lively hood. Treat them like gold. When you screw up, be honest, own it, and be 100% transparent. If they don’t respond positivity at first, “Don’t Stop Believing” that you can’t save the relationship. Do what ever it takes.

Companies now will take back just about anything no questions asked. You don’t have to tell little white lies about the product and why it doesn’t work or you didn’t like it. Just send it back. Some companies even take back items they don’t even sell just to keep the customer from going some place else. WOW! That is showing how important customers are. If you’re a service company, make it right, save the day, go the extra mile. Always over deliver. When you consistently make it your mission statement or part of your culture to over deliver, you won’t have to worry about customer service.

Now which customer is more important, the old or new? They are equally important. Never take advantage of a long-term relationship. One of the lessons I learned many years ago, I would discount and go way out of the way to acquire new customers. My loyal customers and long term fans that I knew would book me no matter what. I would raise my price and ask more of them instead of giving them more. Shame on me! These were my loyal fans and followers. They should be getting constant VIP treatment. Volume discounts, first priorities because they are your best source of advertising. Your power referrals, your base. The people you can count on in a slow economy. I am so grateful that I turned that attitude around. Unfortunately, it cost me a couple great accounts. But I know now, always over deliver for everyone equally. The cool thing about this story is that it’s exactly what I teach from my Opportunity Rocks Keynote and book. Music is a business just like yours. Turns out it’s not rocket science, It’s ROCK-IT science. And what’s even cooler, these rock star principles of success work for personal relationships as well. A successful marriage or relationship takes a lot of TLC, nurturing, communication, transparency, a never surrender never give up attitude.  The bible says,” Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Just change the word neighbor to customer. “Love thy customer as thyself”, what a great mission statement! I wish you much customer and fan building success!

Rock on,

The Business Rockstar is an Author, International Keynote Speaker, and Customer & Engagement Guru

Click Here to learn more about Marvelless Mark

 

PS. Robert Plant is still alive, thriving and we see each other everyday. Opportunity Rocks!