I wrote the date on a check the other day and it was 1/1/11. I thought to myself, “Now that’s a real beginning.” As CEO and Creative Director of Watchfire Music I thought that I ought to take stock of our company and see how this idea of Inspirational music is doing. If there was ever a time for re-evaluation, it’s 1/1/11.
So I’ve spent the last couple of days mulling over the direction and progress of our company and I’ve decided that this year should not be about starting over, but rather, finishing what we started.
I think that last year we started far too many projects that we simply did not finish. In a sometimes almost desperation to be successful and make money, we too often hop-scotched around searching for the golden ring and consequently were not as productive as we could have been.
As it turned out, we had the best year we’ve ever had, but there was still, clearly, room for growth and progress in the right direction.
So this year we have reorganized, cut back spending on what are now deemed superfluous activities and are focusing now on the original idea of Watchfire Music – how we can inspire people’s lives with music.
About a month ago I wrote down a new purpose for our company. I’ll admit to being inspired by one of the music bloggers that I read daily, Bob Lefsetz, who writes an often crass, but astute insight on the music business. Much of what I wrote down I took from one of his more prescient posts. It went like this:
to build something bigger than ourselves,
something worth contributing.
The ability to make connections,
to lend a hand,
to invent and create.
The chance to Inspire.
We’re full of God’s great ideas. Sometimes there’s more than we can handle. So we have to be more selective. Go with what we know in our hearts and minds to be true. Go with what our customers need and want.
There was a great period of time where, admittedly, we were trying to build a hundred million dollar company. When you have investors, when you have business school leadership, when you have entrepreneurial spirit, one can sometimes get suckered into this kind of thinking. I’m not saying that this kind of thinking is bad, mind you. If we were building widgets, that would probably be the modus operandi.
However, we are in the business of Inspiration. Perhaps last year taught us that this business should not be dollar driven, but instead, different than the norm. So we’re going to chance to be different. Perhaps we won’t sell the company in five years and all retire to the good life. Perhaps we’ll work it for the rest of our lives and hope for the best.
But that hope needs to be the hope to inspire, not to make a financial killing. Of course we need to make money to survive, but that will no longer be the forefront thought to our existence.
If we “Chance to inspire”, we clearly take our chances, but if we are successful at inspiring, then it seems more than likely that the financial part should take care of itself.
Another great Bob Lefsetz quote that I typed out and pasted to my desk is this: “But can you build something so good people will be drawn to you?”
Here is the answer to good business – not advertising, not better promotion, not bigger staff, but simply a product that will draw people to us. Well, our product is Inspiration. Can we better inspire you? Can we inspire you so deeply that you are drawn to us on a daily, weekly, monthly level?
That’s our objective. Build a better mousetrap. Write better music. Think more deeply when it comes to lyric writing. Inspire a world.
We’re gonna give it a shot.