Tuesday, September 18, 2012

New Business Startup? Think Like a Rock Star

Launching a new business? Why not borrow ideas from your favorite rock stars to help you develop a strategic plan? Here's how.

Musicians, like business start-up geeks, begin with spending a lot of time behind the scenes working through the development stages of their products. It would be naïve for them to jump into the limelight prematurely, yet if they're smart, they'll get their feet wet whenever they can. They might perform at bars and bar mitzvahs, coffeehouses, weddings, or even on the street as buskers. All are good opportunities for testing their products in front of real audiences.

In the same way, business start-ups can get their feet wet by participating in networking opportunities with peers and investors, and through running trials and beta tests of their ready-to-launch products. Focus groups can offer valuable market feedback, and beta tests will offer opportunities to work out glitches and to educate a group of "chosens" that could become valuable promoters of the new product or service.

Thank Your Grub Work

Well-known music veterans may not know the exact secret behind their success because many times it has been due to organic growth. Back when they started they may merely have been in the right place at the right time. There might have been less competition and less perfectionism. Even poor and mediocre singers have been able to cut and sell albums. They might say they got lucky or they might admit that they did spend a lot of time in the trenches first. They've paid their dues.

On the surface, there may have been no well-oiled unfolding plan a successful musician has followed, but if you were to ask one about his product, what songs define him, and what his setlist would include if asked to do a concert tomorrow, he could tell you. Well-seasoned musicians know who they are, where they've been, and know what their audience wants.

A business too needs to know who they are, how they want to be defined, and where they're headed. Business is fierce today, and a well-oiled plan is usually necessary if a start-up is to gain funding and launch its business well. There can be a well-crafted business-school-type business plan in place, but an entrepreneur should realize there will be also be lots of grub work to do and that fame and fortune is not quick and easy.

Musicians that have been........