Neil Hughes – a local man who started in B2C, then went corporate for 15 years before returning to his boyhood dream of running a live music establishment The Cinnamon Club. Having had Dame Cleo Laine, Sir John Dankworth, Humphrey Lyttelton, George Melly and Georgie Fame appear you think he would be happy man. But last year the venue rocked with both OMD and The Beautiful South in one fabulous night – and this is his job !
Recently Neil started managing The Ben Cox Band – a fresh, bold and exciting band steeped in the history of songwriters such as James Taylor, Paul Simon and Neil Young.
Here are Neil’s 5 Lessons Businesses Could Learn From Musicians
1. Building Blocks are the foundation
As a guys who picks up the sax now and again, I am always aware that I do not have the underlying foundations to succeed. I received no training as a child, no lessons, no experience passed down to me and no mentor. As a business owner, I had lots of experience before I took the plunge. Most of it gained working for other people, training courses, policies and procedures and most importantly of all – experience, years of experience. The musicians on stage may make it look easy, but they’ve done their 10,000 hours, believe me.
2. Be flexible
Sometimes the musicians have a script, the set list. Then the dynamic changes, maybe some interaction with a fellow band member or an audience, and the list gets ripped up and they are off down a different route – exciting and spontaneous. Could your business benefit from this ? Ask your colleagues, listen to your customers, you may be surprised.
3. The team is the sum of the collective parts
Star soloists, risk takers versus the engine room of the rhythm section, team dynamics. They are present in a band, and they are all present in your business. You have to manage each section differently, but you are only as good as the collective. Train and coach everyone to perform well, and then you can sit back a little and relax.
4. Make sure you understand your cost base
I think this is a very difficult one for bands and bookers to understand. When a well oiled machine is running smoothly it’s sometimes difficult to appreciate the training, the practise time, the investment, the travel , the raw materials. We all have these costs in our business, before we deliver a product or consultancy. If you do not understand them, you have no chance of making any money. And when you have employees to pay, you had better make some money.
5. Improvise now and again
Similar to being flexible, but with a purpose. You have the structure, you have your team, you know how to do business because you’ve always done the business, but now and again, force you and your team out of the comfort zone. Transfer departments, make a cold call, get out of the office or go and visit a customer and ask how can we improve our service ? It maybe scary, but you may just enjoy the results, and your business will benefit.
For more info on Neil & The Cinnamon Club