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!!!

1st Step In Starting A Business

As an Entrepreneur whose business enterprise turned 19 years last month, it may be good to share with readers some of the lessons encountered. The recent months I have been receiving queries on the secret for maintaining this business. Well it is no secret at all and I take pride in passing on important matters to those who sincerely want to commence or even those in business to restart the button as they say.

Primary Lesson: Mindset

Oftentimes, there are entrepreneurs who begin a business because of an opportunity. A deal may even begin with a mere restaurant napkin or even over some brown bottles. However getting into the groove of business must begin with having the proper frame of mind. There is a need to cultivate for the seed to germinate.

1st: Define the Purpose

It may be good to ask yourself the purpose of getting into business. I am not referring to identifying the business yet. Rather it will be more into probing the different layers related. One may say, “I want to be My Own Boss”, being your own boss entails several factors such as the ability to make a decision. To help further, it is recommended to be a relax mood and let your heartbeat be in a normal mode. Excitement or depression may not lead to better result

2nd: Start Writing

Letting our thoughts remain in our mind may be affected with other things. In my years till now, I have learned to always have a small pocket notebook. The first thing to do is write in BOLD Letters on top of each page the topic you are focusing. I call this Chapter of My Mind. There jot down things that may flash in your mind. You will be amazed to realize at the end of a week on ideas and perhaps reasons related to the focused topic.

3rd: Visualize The Business

Man has the most advanced computer chip in the universe. The Mind given the proper nurturing can create scenes. If there is a business opportunity, a person may begin to use his power of the mind to visualize how the business will go. This was one powerful tool I used to see for myself the present business I am in. I wanted to see in my mind how it will all work. Without being biased I was able to see both pros and cons.

4th: Instill Faith and Positivism

To be an entrepreneur entails risk. In fact this is what I call the point where it separates a Man from a Boy or a Woman from a Girl. There are no assurances of where and what the business will be. Try getting a copy of the popular song “Que Sera Sera” written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans. This was made popular in 1956 as sung by Doris Day. One thing though is developing the ability to think Positive. Yes we keep hearing that word so much so it is deafening. Every waking up hour and even retiring, the entrepreneur brings with him or her business. Correlate the business to being like a Captain of Airbus 380. The responsibility is tremendous to be entrusted not just on the capital investment. It is more of the hundreds of lives. The Captain has operating manuals and a chosen and qualified team. What matter most is for the Captain to have the greater self-confidence of safely reaching the point of destination. Nobody is spared from having fears or sleepless nights thinking of certain situation of the business. What helped me through was the fact my faith became much deeper and stronger. To strengthen my positivism, I began always to think of good things and avoid being a pessimist or talking ill of people. Use your energy and resources wisely. Think that everyday you are getting better and better. Drive all your thoughts in contributing and making this world a happy place for everyone. Blessings come in many fold to those who do good.

Small Business’ and Microsoft Office 2007

When you start up a small business, one of the questions you need to address is what software is essential to my business? As a small business consultant, I have seen many companies, owner managed businesses and sole traders start up and be faced with this question, invariably linked to very scarce capital resources. The main purpose is to get software that can quickly sort out complex data and unburden the computer with the help of a fast processor in a stable manner.

Although there are other software suites available, available in a number of versions, Microsoft Office provides the essential applications and is the most commonly used. For business purposes, the options open to you are; Office Standard, Small Business, Professional or Ultimate.

Microsoft Office Standard 2007:

The entry level for Office, this version includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. These are the basic essentials of most businesses, a word processor (Word) a spreadsheet (Excel) a presentation package (PowerPoint) and a combined email, calendar/ diary, address book function (Outlook).

Microsoft Office Small Business 2007:

The Small Business version includes all the above applications with the addition of Publisher 2007 while the Outlook version includes Business Contact Manager, which helps you to organise all your business contacts, rather like an rudimentary CRM system. Publisher is a desktop publisher package, designed to help you create publications and marketing material. In fact, this can really help you to save money. You can create your own letterhead, business cards and compliment slips and print them off as required, rather than go to the expense buying several hundred from a commercial printer.

Microsoft Office Professional 2007:

This version includes everything above and includes Access 2007. This database is invaluable if you need to handle large volumes of data and want to make it relational, such as contact lists, orders and stock. It includes templates of common applications and is reasonably easy to use.

Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007:

Probably a bit over the top for a start up, comprising as it does, all the above applications with OneNote 2007, Groove 2007 and InfoPath 2007 as well. OneNote is an extremely flexible application that allows you to keep unstructured notes in a series of tabs. For example, if you are researching product lines, you could keep screen shots, URLs, and competitive information, all in the same place. When the business is larger and can justify a server, OneNote is an invaluable area to let your employees keep ideas and brainstorming thoughts.

Groove is another application that is really designed for use by a number of people on a network. It helps you to keep common files in one place and notifies those people who need to access them when there are any changes to those files. InfoPath is an application that allows you to create forms used to gather data which can be used in conjunction with databases or online. As the forms are based on XML, they have extensive applications in Ecommerce.

Of course, every business has different needs, so you will need to choose the version most applicable to your requirements.