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20-Year-Old Business Lessons from my Band’s First CD

Social Media

Before my firm AmpliPhi Social Media Strategies was born, I was a very, very minor rockstar. There were some surprising business lessons I learned while performing as the drummer in (and manager of) Myopic Son. 

Twenty years ago this month, our band recorded our first CD. This project shaped me more as a businessperson than I would have expected, and here are the three main lessons I learned:

1. Done is better than perfect. We recorded our five-song EP in two days. The first few hours consisted of refining the sounds we wanted (my drums, of course, took the longest because of the vast components of a drum kit), and we spent about three hours recording each song. At many points during the recording, we just needed to declare things good enough,” and move on to the next tune. 

Takeaway: 80% out the door is better than 100% in the drawer.

2. Don’t wait until you're in the studio to record your album. Practice, practice, and practice some more before you start to pay for studio time. This, of course, is a metaphor for anything you'll be shipping” as a final project. 

Takeaway: The time to iterate on and refine your idea is before you’re actually paying to produce it. 

3. After the project is done, the real work starts. It doesn’t matter how good your music (or product or service) is, if people don't know about it, your efforts won’t be discovered.

Takeaway: Effective promotion is more important than sheer talent. 

So how does this apply in my life today? It’s in every piece of work I do. Whether I’m giving a speech or teaching an audience through LinkedIn live, perfection is never a major focus—the content is what’s important. If I can teach my audience something they didn’t know before, then I consider my performance a job well done. 

Read more commentary by Spencer X Smith here

A common practice in the workplace at AmpliPhi Social Media Strategies is the mantra, “80% out the door is better than 100% in the drawer.” What does this mean? We strive to do our best and create content to the best of our abilities, but not everything we do is perfect. If we are too apprehensive to share the content we create for our audience for fear that we are not perfect, we are cheating ourselves out of the value we could add to an individual or business. 

The art of not overthinking helps when pushing your content out the door. Don’t let the work you create go unnoticed by keeping 100% of it in the drawer. Whatever you share, I promise it will prove significant to someone listening.

So once you (or your team) create a really cool piece of content and it goes live on your site, you are done with the project, right? Not quite. One of the most crucial steps to concluding a project is the promotion following launch. Share your infographic, webinar, blog, or whatever it might be on all of your social channels. Promote, promote, promote. If no one knows that it is there, no one is going to benefit from its presence. Show your audience what they are missing out on and remind them of the significance of availing themselves of your content. 

What are the top ways we promote?

  1. Display Ads (whether in print or online)
  2. Publicly posting our content for free (like this column)
  3. Networking (like the NAPA 401(k) Summit) 

We like display ads because we can reach specific target audiences to increase the probability of lead generation. If that isn’t in the budget though, don’t worry! Publicly posting your content for free can be just as effective. If what you provide to the public adds value, they will engage with your post. This strategy increases the likelihood of other people discovering your content—especially on LinkedIn. Don’t be afraid to network! The more people who know about you, the more people who know about your business (which in addition is a great way to make new friends as a bonus).

Don’t focus on perfection, focus on production! The more content you can produce, the higher the likelihood you have for your voice to be heard. Promote yourself to your community, to social followers, and to like-minded business professionals. 

Can you see these 20-year-old business lessons applying to you? 

Spencer X Smith is the founder of AmpliPhi Social Media Strategies. He’s a former 401(k) wholesaler, and now teaches financial services professionals how to use social media for business development.