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.

Imagine you are on top of the world. You’re playing all the big stages with sold-out stadiums, your fans can’t get enough of you and the crowd goes wild!

Then one day it all stops.

Your tour dates are canceling one by one and new ones aren’t booking. The next thing you know you’re back in garage band mode.

Alright, you’re probably not an actual rock star. But 2020 grounded just about every one of us. There you were, creating raving fans in your business, growing your organization, focused on the future when everything changed. Overnight, business dried up, clients canceled, and the market became a chorus of frightened crickets. Business plans you started the year off with, were worth no more than the paper they were printed on.

Thankfully, we are now entering a new year, a time to wake up our inner rock stars and take to the stages of business once again.

How do great leaders and top producers “find their way back?” The same way great band leaders get their bands out of the garage and back on tour.

Unleash Your Inner Rock Star

The past year has sent many businesses back to the drawing board. Without a steady stream of clients, many organizations have gone into crisis mode, cutting back on “non-essential costs” (which aren’t so non-essential after all), furloughing employees, or laying them off. They have gone from offense to defense.

While this may be necessary for a short period of time, the problem with operating from a defensive angle is that a business tends to get stuck there. While it sounds counterintuitive, it can be easy or “comfortable” to be in crisis mode. After all, you don’t have to take responsibility for your situation and you can dip a toe in, but never dive in fully.

What rockstars on stage and rockstars in the office know, is that in order to succeed, you need to be all in. Failure is not an option and you must commit to doing everything in your power to hit your goals and thrive. Now is not the time to hide in the garage sitting on speakers and drinking a beer. Now is the time to reinvent, repackage, and “get back on tour”… whatever that means to your business.

Drive Change

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said “Change is the only constant,” and he couldn’t have been more correct. If 2020 taught us anything, it was that we need to be able to adapt. From setting up home offices overnight to conducting all meetings and trainings through Zoom, we have been forced to accept the “new normal” and adapt accordingly.

But what if the key to success wasn’t just adapting to change, it was driving it?

Take Madonna as an example. The “Material Girl” is one of the most successful and highly-paid women in the music industry. She’s stayed relevant over multiple decades to a fan base spanning generations. She didn’t do that by following trends and adapting to change. She did it by creating change. Madonna considers herself and her art a work-in-progress and that’s exactly how you should look at your business.

How can you use your creativity to be at the forefront of your industry? Challenge yourself every day to do things differently. Don’t just ride change, drive it.

While the “noise” of competition has moved to a virtual platform, that doesn’t make it easier to stand out. It actually makes it harder. What are you doing to set yourself apart from the competition and become a household name?

Do you think Sting, Madonna, Elvis, or Rihanna earned their single-name status by doing the bare minimum? No! They sang louder, played harder, and more unique than anyone else. Now it’s your turn. Figure out what people say about you when you leave a room (or a webinar). Is this how you want to be remembered?  What they say is your brand. Find what makes you different and memorable, and then lean into it with everything you’ve got.

As you begin 2021, remember that now is your time to get out of the garage and back on tour. Don’t let a setback affect your comeback. Unleash your inner rockstar and take your industry by storm!

With the recent passing of rock legend, Eddie Van Halen, I’m reminded of one of my favorite songs “Best of Both Worlds.”

Wondering what a Van Halen song has to do with the future of events? Everything.

While the world may be headed towards another COVID-induced quarantine, it’s safe to say that someday, life and business will be back to normal. We’ve all become accustomed to working, learning, and networking from behind a computer screen. But eventually, the threat of COVID will pass, we’ll be safe to gather in crowds, and live conferences and in-person meetings will once again reign.

The question is will we ever return to meeting face to face entirely, or have virtual events brought about a change in the way the world works?

The Benefits of a Virtual Event

Anyone who has attended a conference or training from the comfort of their home, while wearing a pair of electric guitar pajama pants and Gene Simmons slippers, can attest to the benefits of a virtual event.

(Am I the only one wearing those?)

Virtual events rock because:

  • They are convenient to attend. And your ability to go is not hampered by location.
  • They require no travel (and no travel budget).
  • There’s no need to wear PPE or sit 6-feet away from your closest neighbor.
  • They are less expensive to host which translates to a lower cost for attendees.
  • Attendance is not limited to the venue’s capacity.
  • With today’s technology, it can be easy for even the least tech-savvy attendee to have a good experience.

When run properly, a virtual event can achieve the same desired outcomes as a live, in-person event.

 

The Benefits of an In-person Event

The more traditional route, in-person events have been going on since the days of the cavemen… although probably with less PowerPoint. You’re likely familiar with the benefits of an in-person conference, training, or tradeshow:

  • Being away from the office and family responsibilities allows attendees to immerse themselves in the experience and focus solely on learning.
  • Amazing networking occurs in the hallways between sessions. Relationships are forged, deals are made, and careers are catapulted.
  • The energy in the room is palpable and attendees can’t help but get swept up in the excitement.
  • The change of scenery can provide an opportunity for attendees to see more of the country and get a little break from the daily grind.
  • Swag bags offer the opportunity to showcase brands and products.

In-person events are a powerful way to rally the troops, introduce new products or ideas, and prepare your attendees for the future.

 

What is a Hybrid Event?

There will come a time when a vaccine is widely available and it’s once again safe to gather. When that day comes, there will be many people eager to jump on a plane, gather in a meeting room with thousands of their future friends, and have the full “in-person live event” experience.

Of course, there will also be those individuals who aren’t ready.

Whether due to residual fears about the virus, the inability to travel due to finances or logistics, or just the realization that

working in your PJs is awesome; there will be some people who are not ready to attend in-person events.

In order to host a killer event that caters to all potential attendees, you’re going to need to embrace the hybrid event structure.

A hybrid event is held in a venue and welcomes in-person attendees, AND live-streams the event so people can attend from wherever they feel comfortable. A hybrid event is truly the best of both worlds.

How do you make your Hybrid Event a Success?

Now that you’ve embraced the hybrid event model, how do you create a thrilling experience that will leave your attendees wanting more?

Always include your virtual audience

There’s nothing worse for a virtual attendee than paying your attendance fee and then being forgotten. Utilize games, live polls, and Q&A sessions throughout the event to engage your virtual attendees.

Consider your content

 

Content must be entertaining to keep everyone engaged, but it must also be presented in a way where the virtual attendees don’t feel like they are watching a bootleg concert. Make sure that any visual content you create translates across the different platforms on which attendees may view it.

 

Offer breakout sessions

Your attendees don’t just want to engage with the speakers, they also want to feel like they are in the room with their peers. Smaller breakout sessions allow in-person and virtual attendees to chat and learn from one another.

Hire an experienced MC

No matter what type of event you create, you don’t want to play on-stage host while making sure everything runs smoothly on the back end. You also don’t want to rely on the organization’s leadership to keep the troops engaged and the event flowing smoothly.

In order to create the best possible event for your attendees, you’ll want to hire an MC who excels in presenting in-person and virtually. Marvelless Mark Kamp has over 25 years of experience delivering electrifying entertainment to audiences around the world (and on the computer). He will ensure that your event creates a rockstar experience for every attendee, whether they are in business casual or Gene Simmons slippers.  He’ll help you provide the best of both worlds.