Developing Your Groove

As this subject comes up a lot during music business seminars, I thought I’d blog on it. So let’s take a look at this:

First it takes some courage! Yes courage to choose a profession notorious for its up and downs, rejections and long road and with no guarantees! I remember when I came to my crossroads – get a regular steady job or go for it as a pro musician. For me it was easy as my passion for music and dislike for most everything else made it a simple decision. But I had many around me, family and friends, constantly warning me about this choice and that I needed to have something to fall back on. But the more they warned me, the more I knew this was my choice.

The next ingredient is persistence; persistence to study and practice as much as it takes to become proficient on your instrument of choice in order to compete in the marketplace because after all……it’s all about your word of mouth. It also takes persistence to keep on going no matter what. Giving up is not an option. The goal is the top of Mt Everest and the conviction is the summit or die in the assault!

Next would be personal integrity which translates to being willing to be yourself, to play the notes YOU want to play and play them well and with confidence and intention. Sounds simple but not so easy to do yet therein lies the way for you to communicate YOUR inner self and that’s what people really want you to do, trust me. Don’t ever deny yourself; only YOU can deliver your message. Once you achieve this ability – to play honest notes – you are already successful! The rest will follow and simply takes competence and persistence!

The next and probably most important of all is the giving of more than expected! Yes that’s right – ALWAYS give more than expected and what was paid for as that’s what gives you great word of mouth, great PR. That’s how you get “call backs” and references. Success in the entertainment industry is a) being referred to a gig and than b) delivering the goods way beyond what was expected – home run! You’re on your way!

Re: Delivering the goods: This demands competence on your instrument and your ability to communicate effortlessly to an audience. You should spend a considerable amount of quality time practicing the fundamentals of your instrument whether it’s a music school, private instruction or self study or all of the above. In this stressful economy it’s even more important that you have the competitive edge so don’t skimp on your training. There’s still plenty of work for those who can really play and are willing to communicate.

Here are some tips for your success:

1. Always envision the ideal scene – your dream as accomplished. This means whatever you want to achieve, imagine it as already done and achieved in your universe until it is actually done in the physical universe.

2. Make sure you’re on purpose as an artist meaning you’re doing what YOU want to do. Passion is everything and if you’re not doing exactly what you want, how can you expect to have any passion? Audiences aren’t stupid; they know sincerity and passion. Example: if your passion is progressive jazz fusion than that’s what you practice and play and promote for. Never consult with anyone regarding YOUR purpose other than yourself! Anybody or anything that gets in your way should be politely ignored and/or removed as the case may warrant. Once you achieve what you wanted in an area, keep doing those things that got you there and/or move on to a new game or area.

3. Be very product and service oriented meaning finish to professional competitive industry standards all products – CD’s, videos, DVD’s, music instruction manuals, performances etc. The key thing here is finish so it can be released and exchanged with the public. (A CD idea in one’s head is not a valuable final product. You must confront the time and money and production barriers and finish the bloody thing! Waiting for that illusive record deal is totally being a victim. Wait for no one and depend on no one!) Professional industry standards mean how does it stand up to the standard that’s currently selling or has been exchanged in the past? One has to be brutally honest here, doesn’t one? If one is a singer and sings a little out of tune, then one handles this; if one is a drummer and one’s time is weak, well get it handled. Promoting a weak product and/or service doesn’t work. When and if it does, it eventually fails anyway and besides, pride and accomplishment and work ethic apply here – that’s what a pro is.

4. Always try and make your products and services a knock out so they produce an incredible effect on your audience and thus get great word of mouth. Always try and go that extra mile and give way more than what might be expected.

5. Do lots of personal research in order to develop the correct business relationships to promote your products and services to. Personal research means – contacting those who might be able to help in some way, surfing the internet, reading the trade magazines, going to concerts/clubs, jamming with others; in other words pay attention to your particular zone. Hoping someone will contact you doesn’t work. You must flow inordinate amounts of energy outwards for that to occur. Also, you must do it because you want to… not only for the money and/or fame. That’s why number two above is so so important.

6. There should be no such thing as giving up! Just keep on delivering your products and services until the tea kettle whistles. If it doesn’t whistle (rejection), never let it affect you for very long; never stop practicing and creating, never. Simply get even more determined and refine your products and services even further until it does.

7. Always keep in communication with your developed personal and business relationships and flow them back the energy they flowed you when they need it… this includes your fans!!!

3 Steps to Get Your Groove Back

I talked about the lesson my little dog Lyra taught me – all about climbing that fence to go for your goal.

Today I want to chat a bit about how to swing beyond our new economy fences – to find our Groove and hit it outta the park of life. So here’s what I did over the past weekend to begin finding my fences, and start to get my groove back.

First, you have to find your fences. Fences are created by our gravity beliefs. Sometimes they are obvious, sometimes they are subtle. So here are the things I looked for:

  • I can’t. Those words belong in a dumpster for limiting beliefs. I simply started paying attention to how many times I thought or said “I can’t”. It astounded me. I can’t buy that house, I can’t afford this, I can’t start that project, I can’t make that call – they won’t want to work with me. I can’t workout tonight, I’m too tired. I was drowning in my I can’ts. BAH…sneaky little things had wormed their way into my life and were like a viral attack – everywhere.
  • Smaller dreams. This was a big one for me. I went back to my diaries from the past few years and scanned them. That’s when I saw the picture of me shrinking. My goals and dreams from 2007 were so dramatically larger than my goals and beliefs of today. When did that happen? Sure, I’ve had a lot of bad things happen in my life in the past four years – make that 14. But when did I stop bouncing back? When did I start to shrink? Wow.
  • Giving up. This one went hand in hand with the shrinking. In some cases, I simply gave up on my dreams. Decided I wasn’t supposed to have certain things in my life, wasn’t supposed to enjoy a complete and full life – because I already had enough. My business didn’t need to grow, my home was good enough without my horses with me, my plan for a new product wasn’t that important – no one would want it anyway in this economy. What garbage.

My list was LONG. Take some time to make yours. And don’t avoid the reality. Put it down on paper in all its glory – and Gravity.

Now that you found all the constrictions, what do you do about them?

Second, shift your thinking patterns. For every limited goal or dream- expand it. And go beyond your original dream. Make it bigger than ever.

  • If you think you can’t make a certain amount next year – increase that goal by 50% more. Aim big and then believe you can get there. Look at other people making the kind of money you want to make and learn from them.
  • If you think your business can’t grow – set a goal that’s beyond any growth you’ve ever done. Look around at other businesses that are doing just that kind of growth and get inspired. Learn from them, get ideas, get energized and get back in the Groove of Success instead of Gravity.
  • Pick one dream that you gave up and start working on it – right now. List the rest of those forgotten wonders and write down a step you can take to start toward them.
  • For every single dream that’s been suffocated thanks to shrinking, giving up or never trying – write down an opposite belief and goal, bigger than the one your started with.

Now focus on those goals and repeat them to yourself until they feel comfortable again. That may take a while, but my bet is a few of them will immediately resonate and feel great. Take that great feeling and apply it to the rest of the harder to believe again goals on the list.

Third – Take Action. Get out there and start swinging. Part of getting you Groove back is all about taking a positive action in the groove. Sitting on the sidelines, thinking about it, pondering every aspect, waiting for the right time or opportunity is Gravity at work. Stepping up and doing something, taking a step forward in a positive state is how you get your groove going again.

Prioritize your list. Maybe it’s based on what’s easier or harder. Or maybe it’s about what’s more fun than work. It doesn’t matter. I started with goals I could accomplish quickly- so I’d get a groovy winning feeling early in the process. Now formulate a plan to get going on your top three goals or dreams that have been stuck in Gravity. Every day, take that list and pick three things, one each for three goals, and DO them. Don’t think about it, don’t plan and ponder. Get out and take action.

That’s my 3 step approach. It’s working for me already, and it feels great to be groovy again. That’s why I wanted to share it.

SO…. turnabout is fair play. You get to share too. What works for you? How do YOU get your groove back?

Power Up Your Small Business – Transform With Technology

If you are a small business owner and you are looking to increase your ability to do more in less time, then harnessing the benefits of technology could be the answer. We take a look some of the ways your business can harness technology to help take it to the next level.

1. Automate Administration

Look to automate as much of your administrivia and backend procedures as possible. Start with any of the functions that are repetitive or time-consuming. Automating these processes will assist in reducing the amount of time taken giving you additional capacity to take on other functions. Typical applications you should consider are word processing and spreadsheet functions.

Using word processing applications allows you to set up templates, merge documents and create forms, or you can go one better and install software such as Microsoft Groove and create online forms. Email applications allow you to communicate quickly and easily using email

2. Formalise Finances

Installing Accounting applications, such as MYOB or Quickbooks, is a fantastic way to formalise your finances. It allows you to quickly and easily enter your financial information. It also allows you to work quickly and effectively with your accountant when it comes preparing Business Activity Statements, end of month financial reports and end of year taxation activities. This all helps keep your accounting fees under control. Another benefit is that you have the ability to create a raft of important financial reports, including cashflow forecasts, debtor aging, sales reports, etc which helps to provide vital information to assist in effective decision-making.

3. Corral Customers

Using software to establish a centralised customer database has enormous benefits for your business. Firstly, it keeps your information together, in one location, and becomes a single source of the truth. This ensures that your business is not at the mercy of one or two key employees and acts as a ready reference for new employees, enabling them to get up to speed quickly.

Having a customer database is the foundation stone for effective marketing. You will be able to analyse, profile and segment your customer database in order to better understand your customers, their needs and wants, which will enable you to better target and market to your customers and to develop new and improved products.

4. Open Online

Establish an online version of your business. A fully functioning e-commerce site is like having another branch of your business open. It allows people to research your business, your products and your services at their convenience. It also provides your customers the opportunity to shop from the comfort of their home or office, which could be local, national or anywhere in the world.

5. Master Marketing

Using online marketing techniques, allows you to design, develop and deliver marketing campaigns quickly, easily and much more cheaply than using traditional mail. Online marketing software allows you to automate campaigns at sign-on, for special occasions, such as birthdays and anniversaries, set up seasonal campaigns such as Christmas or holidays and can even automate the delivery of training and education programs.

6. Start Socialising

Use social media, such as Twitter and Facebook to market your business. These sites are a fantastic way to reach potential customers and to create a sense of community, which helps to create customer loyalty. Social media can also be used to build influence, improve your business or personal reputation and earn your customers trust.

7. Consolidate Communications

Implementing a centralised and online communications hub within your business enables you to gather your organisations communications in one place and provides ready access to all your staff members. Software such as Sharepoint can help consolidate all those important communications in one place. Documents you may like to include are standard operations guides, company policies, employee guides, Occupational Health and Safety Guidelines, memos, research papers, project information and status reports, meeting agenda’s and minutes – to name but a few.

8. Initiate Integration

Start to look at ways you can integrate these systems to make your life even easier. For example, you may want your online business automatically download transaction information to your accounting package, or your customer database to synch with your online marketing software.

Looking for ways to automate your business can help you to make your business operations, faster, easier and simpler. They can also provide additional capacity into cash strapped businesses with limited resources.

Continue to look for opportunities to power up your small business.