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One of the true riches of Nashville is that every musician comes to play here, hoping to increase their stature and strengthen their business and marketing. While Music City is known for being the home of country music, it's also considered mecca by artists from classical to heavy metal and just about everything in between. If you've got ticket money, you can see everyone from Hugh Laurie to Cher to Blake Shelton.
Musicians are business owners – they all want to get their music out there and they all want to make it big. But musicians also are natural collaborators. They can't get their work done without backup musicians, roadies, and managers. In the moment of performance musicians are wide open to collaboration with the other musicians on the stage. That openness creates a flow that delights their audiences and the musicians themselves. It builds business and marketing credibility, too.
Recently I was on the front row at a Nashville venue to honor Ricky Skaggs, the 2013 Artist in Residence for the internationally famous Country Music Hall of Fame. The Artist in Residence is given carte blanche to create an event completely to his liking, and museum members are invited to attend. Skaggs, who has been playing country and bluegrass as a performer since he was 5 years old, invited many other musicians to collaborate with him in an evening that delighted all the performers and certainly wowed the audience.
You might think that Skaggs only invited other country music stars to come play. He did that – his wife and her family are famous in their own right (the White family). But you might be surprised to hear that he also invited buddies outside his normal circle. So it was that I got to see Ricky Skaggs, Peter Frampton, and Brad Paisley all on the same stage jamming together. Frampton's rock guitar riffs fit right in with Skagg's guitar licks and Paisley's country cross-over electric guitar. The audience was wild for it, and the smiles were big on the musician's faces, too.
Small business owners worry over competition. The better play is to be fabulous at what you do and seek to work collaboratively. Musicians spend thousands of hours and dozens of years perfecting their craft. They seek out other great musicians to sing backup and provide instrumental support. They understand teamwork and collaboration, and it makes them better at their business and marketing.
Here are 7 ways you can be a great collaborator and multiple your business and marketing efforts, too.
- Seek collaborators outside your normal circle.
- Create a set of common goals that will serve everyone well.
- Be open to collaborator's suggestions even if what they suggest is different from your original vision.
- Enjoy your collaborators as people – get to know them personally.
- Be prepared for the unexpected delights of jamming.
- Recognize that new, outside-the-box collaborators bring your clients new benefits.
- Follow up with a thank you and keep the relationship going.
Working in the flow of collaboration brings unexpected results that can delight your clients and give you joy. There's no better way to build your business and market what you do.
Follow-up: Here's another blog post about collaboration. Let me know in your comments below how you've collaborated in the past – or how you plan to work toward it now.
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