On June 9, 2008 a crazy thing happened to me. I got fired! I went to the office, worked a full day and got fired at the end of the day. The whole, “put all your stuff in a box and don’t come back” kind of fired. All I could think about at the time was, “What on Earth did I do to deserve this?” A year later I started Key Signature Entertainment and became the boss. It was in that role that I figured out what I did to get fired. 🙂
I have officially been an entrepreneur and business owner for 10 years. I can tell you that these are 2 different things and can probably write a book on why that is. I’m pretty sure you don’t have that kind of time so I just want to share with you ten nuggets of knowledge I picked up in the last decade.
- The phone doesn’t ring just because you built a website! I remember when the first Key Signature website went live and I thought I was going to instantly start booking bands and making money. Well that did not happen at all! In fact….nothing happened! I put all of this effort into this website that no one knew about. What was I to do? Well….I guess I have to go and meet people face to face.
- Go and meet people face to face! Many of the clients that Key Signature still has to this day I sat down with in person. You’re just not going to close big deals by email. We’re in the south and people like to do business with people they like. It is hard to like you through text or email.
- Hire someone! You can’t grow and work on your business if you’re buried in it. What if you don’t have the money to pay someone? FIGURE IT OUT!! You can find great employees who don’t need to get rich. Appreciation and communication go a long way.
- Don’t be afraid of what is around the corner! I remember when my first employee told me she was putting in her 2 weeks and moving on to another job. I literally thought the world had ended. The company was doing so well and how can we move forward without her skill set? Well we did and the company is better now than it has ever been. Sometimes you just have to accept that things happen for a reason and everything will still be ok.
- Recognize that ALL business isn’t GOOD business! Once upon a time I tried to book every inquiry that KSE would get and even give in to unreasonable requests from clients. Doing that did more harm than good and took away time and resources I could have used to build better relationships with clients who were a better fit.
- Let people show you who they are and believe them! I learned to stop making excuses for other people. They are who they are and I accept that faster than most people. Trust me…it saves a lot of time and stress.
- Marketing is scary but necessary! I’m not going to give you the secret on how to market, but I can tell you that it is essential to the success of a business. What you advertise isn’t as important as how you advertise.
- Share your ideas and thoughts with the team! The KSE staff will tell you that it helps to know there is a method to my madness. They like that I have an open door policy. They can come into my office anytime of the day to chat. I make myself available and include them in all decisions that effect them.
- Keep learning! This past year I completed the Charlotte Emerging Leaders Program because I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge that the information you have is limited, but understand that what you need to know to get to the next step isn’t out of reach.
- Teach someone else what you have learned.
I got fired because I didn’t understand what it took to start a company and keep a company going. I got fired because I assumed that I was an asset and that the company couldn’t grow without me. I was actually right about that part, but it was honestly the best thing that could have happened to me. Having that experience gave me a template on how to better interact with our staff. Having that experience forced me to move on so that when we had hard times in the company I was confident that we’d make it. Making it 10 years is truly astonishing to me. I thank each and every person who took a chance on Key Signature Entertainment and trusted what we were building. The experiences and knowledge I have gained over the past 10 years are in invaluable. I wouldn’t change a thing about the journey and I’m looking forward to the next 10 years!