Launching a new business from the ground up is a daunting task, one that eats many people alive before a business ever takes off. It is no wonder that most small businesses never get off the ground, let alone shed the “small” and become huge successes.
The start-up process has a lot in common with the struggles that a musician goes through as they begin the quest to achieve “rock star” status, and there are some great lessons that start-up businesses can take away from the careers of legendary rock stars. Here are three cool examples of the rock star/start up connection:
1. Get Noticed First.
The Sex Pistols were the creation of producer Malcolm McLaren, and McLaren need to get his new band talked about. So to launch their song “God Save The Queen”, McLaren had the band play live on a barge sailing down the River Thames in London, right past the House of Parlaiment. The stunt got tremendous press coverage in England! Millions of people were thrilled with the band’s anti-royal stance, and millions more were put off by their antics. Things got so crazy that the company contracted to press the band’s vinyl album had to turn down the contract because their own employees refused to be involved in the Sex Pistols album. The PR paid off in a major way, and “God Save The Queen” became a huge hit. The Sex Pistols, despite only having one album to their credit, made it all the way to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.
In the start-up world, one of the first challenges is getting noticed. There are countless other businesses trying to get people’s attention, and most of them have more money and resources than you do. Take a lesson from the Sex Pistols and capture people’s attention in a way that they can’t ignore.
2. What Makes You Special?
Wicked Lester was a struggling rock band in New York in the early 70s. Like thousands of other bands, they thought they had what it takes to be the next big thing. They had good musicians and songwriters, and a great lead singer. Yet nothing was happening for the band. Before breaking up, Wicked Lester gave it one more shot. They changed their name, changed their look, and took to the stage in full comic book make-up as KISS. In less than two years, the band was embarking on their first world tour. They had their struggles as KISS for sure, but the path from obscurity to stardom was paved by the band’s unique difference. They wore make-up. They took on comic book personas. They blew stuff up on stage. KISS was a band that gave the world something it had never seen before.
When starting a new business, one of the first goals needs to be to establish a unique position relative to your competition. What makes you so special? Why should anyone remember you, let alone chose you over their existing options? Don’t be afraid or apologetic for what makes you different. Instead, celebrate and flaunt what makes you special. Rock it.
3. Find Your Passion!
You can’t fake it. At least not for long. When you are passionate about what you are singing about, the game changes. Bob Marley is a great example. He made reggae music because it was a part of his culture and his religion. Because Marley was so deeply connected to his music, he never wavered. He didn’t sing a disco song because disco was popular. He didn’t sing a duet with the top female pop singer of the day. Bob Marley did nothing to be rich and famous, aside from being true to the music he loved.
Are you that passionate about your start-up idea? Or will you be distracted by the lure of quick profits and easy money by compromising your core values? If you aren’t passionate enough to stay true to your values when it is inconvenient and costs you money, then you probably aren’t passionate enough to win.
The book Brand Like A Rock Star has 20 chapters filled with tips on how to build a stronger brand and better business by using the core marketing strategies of rock and roll legends. You can download the Kindle version instantly for $5.99 or have the paperback delivered straight to your door.