Take Your Business to the Big Time
Every coach, actor, athlete and performer wants to achieve stadium status. And every brand covets the opportunity to be at the pinnacle of public awareness.
John Brubaker knows the strategies behind the biggest names who have risen to the top of the game. He shares the tactics and strategies you can employ to help your own business soar. John is a consultant, speaker, and author of numerous books, who teaches how you can turbocharge your performance. His latest book, Stadium Status: Taking Your Business to the BIG TIME, immediately caught my attention. I recently asked John to share more of his observations.
What is stadium status?
Stadium Status: To be a big enough star that you could fill an entire stadium when performing a concert, you know you’re big once you’ve achieved Stadium Status. —UrbanDictionary.com
That scholarly journal, “Urban Dictionary,” defines stadium status very succinctly: essentially, it means that if you’ve achieved stadium status, you are a big star. Stadium status is, on some level, a goal that lives within every artist, entertainer, and entrepreneur.
Lessons from Garth
Toward the back of the book, you talk about Garth Brooks. What can non-country music stars learn from his performances?
Brooks is so dialed in to his customer’s perspective that, in every arena he performs in, the morning of the performance he sits up in the back row or in the obstructed-view seat that is the worst in the house. He does this to better understand how his customers see him and how well they see him. The back row customers tend to be some of the most loyal fans at any concert. These are folks who have probably pinched pennies and saved up for months to purchase his tickets.
To give a few special fans in the back row a true front row experience, at the beginning of his shows Brooks sends security guards to the “nose bleed” seats in the back row. Arena security asks to see the customers’ tickets and then explains to them they are sitting in the wrong seats. Right when they begin to get confused or upset because their seats can’t get any worse, they’re told that they’ll be escorted to the correct seats Mr. Brooks has waiting for them . . . in the front row. I saw him do this in the early nineties in Pittsburgh’s Mellon Arena and again in 1999. And he continues to surprise and delight fans today.
Everyone can benefit from putting themselves in their customers shoes. Secret shop your own store, call your 800 number and see how long you get put on hold. Email or reach out to customer service on social media to experience how your customers experience your business. I promise you that you’ll get an education money can’t buy.
What’s the best way to use affirmations?
Success is caught more than it’s taught.
- Make it personal
- Make it public
- Recruit team members/accountability partners who support and believe in you to help hold you to your vision
- Reaffirm your vision by advertising success to yourself visually and verbally
- Borrow confidence from others when yours gets low
Since all success attracts them, talk a little about handling criticism and dealing with critics.
Picture yourself standing in the middle of a crowded stadium. You’re in the heat of competition in front of 100,000 screaming fans, and at least half of them aren’t cheering for you. Some of that 50 percent even hate you. You actually enter into your own personal version of that stadium every day in the sport of business. They’re called haters, and you probably don’t have enough of them. That’s right, you read that correctly. I am suggesting you need more haters. Why? Because there’s a direct correlation between the amount of success you enjoy and the number of haters you have.
Haters hate on you because you’re doing what they cannot, what they will not or what they are too afraid to attempt. Haters are a natural part of the growth of your business. When you’re new, there will be critics. When you’re good, there will be haters, and when you’re excellent, they will turn into admirers. The question is: Are you willing to be attacked and criticized as a person to grow your brand?
There is one way to avoid having haters: Sit on the sidelines, do nothing, don’t set goals, be average and no one will judge or hate you.
Criticism and hate are the price you pay for taking your business to Stadium Status. So don’t let the sound of your haters overwhelm you. You only give them power if you listen to what they say. Ignore the noise and use your haters as fuel for the fire. They’re hating you because you’re on to something and are doing big things. In a way they are one of the greatest forms of feedback you can get.
Have you ever met a hater doing better than you? Me neither.
How to Rise Above the Noise
What are some ways to break through all the noise or rise above the many others who are vying for attention?
There’s a lot we can learn from entertainers when it comes to breaking through the noise. Like entertainers, entrepreneurs are performers too — our office just looks a little different. And like us, entertainers are entrepreneurs. Their industry is incredibly cutthroat, volatile and unpredictable. On any given night, 300 to 400 musicians are performing live in Nashville. How do you compete in that market? If you’re smart, you don’t. Instead, you create something so one-of-a-kind and compelling that you’re competing in a “market of one.”
The epitome of a “market of one” would have to be rapping cowboy Troy Coleman, aka Cowboy Troy, who invented “hick-hop” (country rap) music. Just like the entertainment industry, you’re either different or you’re invisible in your industry too.
A lot of experts throw around the buzzwords “niching” and “best practices.” When it comes to positioning your brand, ditch these tired old buzzwords. Everybody is niching, so it’s not unique, and the problem with best practices is that they are common practices. The term I use when discussing positioning with clients is the same term I use to describe Cowboy Troy: game changer.
Game changer: (noun) A person, event or process that effects a significant shift in the current method of competing.
Being a game changer is about doing things in a way that’s never been done before and as a result elevating and separating yourself from the competition. Why is this advantageous? The best practice (pardon the pun) is to be non-traditional and create new demand via a completely new experience. When you do this, you create a market of one for yourself. It’s the best way to stand out in any industry.
How do you make a name for yourself in a crowded, hyper-competitive industry? By not competing. There isn’t a lot of space to operate where it’s crowded, so you need to position yourself in a place where you own the space.
Leave Your Comfort Zone Far Behind
You encourage people to go out of the comfort zone. Way outside. In one exercise, you advocate taking the craziest idea that you’d never do and do it. Would you share your observations about attaining stadium status and its relationship to comfort zones?
One of the things I like to do when working with clients is have them eat fire (yes, I am trained in this). I use it to teach them to step outside their comfort zone and that doing so is in fact safe (scary but safe) because if they follow the fundamentals, they won’t get burned. It’s literally a three step process and fundamentally as simple as ABC. Simple but not easy. We use it as a metaphor for stepping outside their comfort zone to achieve their goals. Often what they want to achieve looks scarier and more complex than it really is. (Much like eating fire)
People don’t like the fundamentals because there’s nothing sexy about executing fundamentals, and it’s easier for them to hope for a magic bullet than to simply exercise daily discipline in the fundamentals of their business. Yet it’s never one thing, never some magic bullet that will help you win more. Success lies in your daily discipline. Consider this old Zen Buddhist phrase, “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”
The message is that consistent execution of fundamentals over time is the key to success. In ancient times you chopped wood to make fire and carried water for drinking; and if you didn’t, you wouldn’t survive, never mind thrive. What are the high-value fundamentals you yourself must execute daily to ensure prosperity? Examples from some of my clients include:
- Responding to all emails the same day they come in.
- Returning all phone calls by the close of business that day
- Waking up and going to bed at the same time each day
- Exercising daily during lunch hour
- Walking the sales floor every day at 2 p.m. and asking how I can help each employee
Everyone likes to think “my business is different” or “my industry is different” when in reality that’s a cop-out, the fundamentals are the fundamentals in every industry. The number one reason why any business in any industry is struggling is that they don’t have enough sales. And the number one reason most businesses don’t have enough sales is that they don’t employ a selling system. Fall in love with the daily work; stay consistent with your process (assuming you have one) for getting it done; and you’ll see the results take care of themselves.
Instead of Comparing, Try This
As a former resident of greater Nashville, I have many friends who are either at stadium status or wanting to get there. I’ve seen what happens when people compare themselves with others further along. What’s your advice with regard to comparing?
In today’s competitive marketplace we all seek that winning edge that will help expand our skill set and our client base. As we strive to perform better, we often look for answers in the wrong places. We frequently look to the top performers in our industry and ask them how they do what they do. Instead of comparing yourself to the competition and attempting to be the next “top brand” or the next “top expert” by trying to be a carbon copy of someone else, think outside the box and be the best version of yourself. Air BNB didn’t ask themselves how they could be the next Hilton, and Uber certainly didn’t compare themselves to taxis or car rental companies.
Comparison is a thief. It will rob you of your peace of mind, your focus and your confidence.
What do most people get wrong when chasing stadium status?
Most people think Stadium Status is a destination not a state of mind. It’s about who you are becoming, not where you’re going.
For more information, Stadium Status: Taking Your Business to the BIG TIME