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It’s not about being the best -It’s about being better than you were yesterday.

Ahh - the new year.  This is the time where we can dive in and begin working on our businesses instead of just in our businesses.  So with that in mind, allow me to share a few of my favorite ideas that invigorate me for the new year.

The first one, and perhaps most obvious, is to attend the Winter NAMM show.  Take as many of your staff as you can so that they get inspired to work on your business as well. Obviously the new products are always exciting, but if you spend time in the NAMM Idea Centers you will come away with many ideas that will make your business better in the new year. Also, make it a goal at each NAMM show to meet new people and to strengthen the industry relationships you already have.

“Fortune favors the bold” - Latin proverb
Second, are you planning any travel this year?  If so, arrange some time to visit other music stores on your travels.  I love to drive when possible, primarily so that I can spend time visiting other music stores on my trip.  Recently I took a trip to for a 3-day meeting. I made a week out of it and visited three other music stores.  I reached out to them before my trip and asked if I could get a tour of their businesses. All three stores welcomed me, and I was introduced to their people and their processes.  During that trip I took pictures and notes, and followed up later with additional questions. I have already implemented many of the things that I saw on that trip.

If you don’t have any travel planned, then make it a working vacation and get out there! Use Google Reviews to see what stores are highly respected. Also, check the NAMM Top 100 list and see if any of those folks are within driving distance. Seeing how other stores handle the issues we all deal with can be incredibly enlightening. Plus, it’s a great way to build your network of industry friends.

“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction” - John Crosby
Third, find an industry mentor. Is there someone in our industry that you respect greatly? Reach out to them and ask them to be a mentor.  Granted, this will require some boldness on your part, but the worst case scenario is that they say no, and you are back to where you started.  That’s really not that terrible of an outcome if you think about it. And in reality, the more likely scenario is that they will either agree, or they will decline a full-on mentoring relationship, but will be okay with you reaching out to them with the occasional question. Several years ago I heard one of the Icons of our industry present at NAMM. I had always admired him and his business - so I built up my nerve, and realizing the worst he could say was “no”, I reached out to him, told him about myself and my business. I shared how I respected him and his philosophy on business, and asked if he would be willing to allow me to reach out to him when I had questions. To my surprise, he agreed, and that relationship has been so very beneficial to me over the years.

Finally, plan out your year.  Sit down with your calendar and develop your plan of attack for the new year. At this stage we are just looking at big picture items.  I like to look at each month at a glance and determine what the major things are that I would like to accomplish in each month.  These should be things that if completed you could look back on this year and feel that it was a successful year. As you approach each new month, make some quiet time to work out the broad details. Consider doing this off site, maybe at a local coffee shop (well, in my case, I usually do this at my local cigar shop.  Nothing like a good cigar to inspire you to think deeply). Then, gather your team that will execute the goals and have them flesh out the specifics.

I hope that you are now inspired to plan to make this year a success for you, your business, and your people!

Remember, if you need my help, I'm only an email away.

P.S. Schedule these things this month:

  1. Contact someone you met at NAMM and ask them how they handled a situation you are struggling with.  This will give you a new perspective, while also building your network of industry friends.
  2. Look at your scheduled travel for the year and arrange some extra time to visit good music stores during your trip.  Reach out beforehand and make the arrangements a month in advance.
  3. Pick one or two people that you would like to have as a mentor and reach out to them by phone or email and ask for their guidance.
  4. Create your monthly focus - your plan of attack for each month of the new year.


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