When I worked in Radio Advertising Sales I noticed how often the big boss would have a separate entrance near or sometimes in their office. This would seem to be a nice perk to being in charge, but it can be a problem too. If you never experience your business the way your customers do, how can you know what you’re doing right or wrong?
I remember a business with double doors that went into a small atrium with another set of double doors before you got into the main showroom. It’s a pretty standard way to save air conditioning here in the south. The problem was that the employees and owners used a separate entrance in the back. No one from the business ever walked through those doors. The atrium would fill up with leaves and dust from the street. The showroom looked good, but the first impression you had was a mess. Over time it just got worse.
Just like those business owners, we get so busy working and never see ourselves from the perspective of our customers. “Walk through your own front door” applies to all of us, but how do you do it with a band?
I think you start by going to see other bands. Don’t call ahead to get on the list or go backstage to hang with the other bands. Really experience the show as a regular member of the audience. It will open your eyes.
You’ll see artist putting on great shows and you’ll see guys reading texts while they’re on stage. You’ll hear great solos and crappy ones. If you really put yourself in the same place as your customer; your fans - it will change the way you do business. When was the last time you had to wait in line with the regular folks to buy merch? Try that sometime.
I’m not saying you have to do this all the time. I’m not saying you have to do this at all. But the most successful artists and businesses at least think this way.
You can lose perspective hanging out in the tour bus, backstage, or the VIP.
The company I told you about had other problems too. But it all came down to losing sight of the wants and needs of their customers. They had done business for over twenty years and thought they were the only game in town. They thought customers would come to them no matter what. They were wrong.
I got to work advertising their competitors and put them out of business pretty quickly. Now I drive by that building and think how they could have done so much, but thought they knew it all.
You have to live on stage with your mind on the wants and needs of the people watching you. It's not easy, but those who do it right get long successful careers.