by Amanda Cleary Eastep
The Mumford and Sons concert in Dixon, Illinois, rocked.
Folk rocked, admittedly, but it was worth two nights shivering in a tent surrounded by thousands of other fans during the English folk rock band’s only camping stopover on its Gentlemen of the Road Tour.
So what does a folk rock band have to do with your business?
I recently gained a new appreciation of this band while jumping up and down, fist pumping, and singing alongside my daughter, husband, and 15,000 other Mumford-loving maniacs this past August.
I discovered that their appeal and their growth in popularity have to do with 5 basic, but essential, qualities that all good businesses have. Do you have them?
1. A name with meaning. Mumford is the last name of Marcus, the lead singer. So the other three guys are his sons? No. But these four young men are said to be as close as brothers. They chose the “& Sons” because the name sounded like a wholesome family business.
Similarly, you need to know who you are (not just what you do or sell) and who your customers (audience) are. Only naming your child will be more important. (So, if your kid’s name is Blanket, you may need some extra help choosing a name for your business.)
2. Strong internal relationships. Marcus, Ben, Winston and Ted love what they do, and so far, love doing it together, despite the obvious challenges that come with life on the road. Not all the “sons” may share the same beliefs, but certain shared values connect them and each member brings a special talent to the group.
Great teams are made up of people selected for their unique abilities by wise business leaders. My tax preparer Bill is an example of such a leader. He has run a financial services business for decades and has surrounded himself with people he often hires before the job description is written. Those people become Bill’s “& Associates” and work together toward the mission to not only grow the business but to truly serve others.
3. A mission that goes beyond. Mumford & Sons is on a mission to make music and to play that music to whomever will listen. But they had another mission on this most recent tour: to celebrate the music, food, and people of the places they visited and for fans to join them in supporting those off-the-beaten-path communities.
That “other” mission will come out of your values. Trader Joe’s grocery stores like to help in their local communities. Ours in the Chicago suburbs holds cooking classes at the teen center where I volunteer. My mission at Word Ninja, beyond blogging and making a living, is to treat each outsourcing relationship–no matter how brief or long-term–as if it were the only one.
4. A message that inspires. As we stood in that crowd of 15,000, something struck me. (No, it wasn’t a beer bottle.) I witnessed the messages in the songs speaking to each and to all. Some people raised their hands as if in worship; the drunk college student threw back his head and bellowed the lyrics, “I will change my ways!”; and at one point, all of us were waving our arms back and forth in the air and singing.
What is your message? It should be one you believe in. Sure, your message is in black and white on your website and in your brochures, but if it doesn’t mean anything to you on a very deep level, it won’t inspire anyone else either.
5. A thankful attitude. The band thanked the fans, the people of Dixon, the other bands, and I think their mothers at one point. And they meant it. You can’t trick an audience, even one that is scooping up $30 t-shirts with your logo.
‘Thank you’ is not overrated. You are thankful for your customers, and you should tell them every chance you get. Whether it’s with a special offer or a hand-signed letter, thank them and mean it. Then call your mother and thank her, too.