Business lessons I learned from J. Buffett

NicDeCaire-1-300x267By Nic DeCaire
Guest Columnist

When most people hear the name Buffett as it relates to the business world, they think of Warren Buffett.

While the billionaire Oracle of Omaha certainly deserves his due, the five lessons I’m sharing come from the other Buffett.
Jimmy Buffett.

Yes, the flip-flop wearing, island-loving, not-a-care-in-the-world “Margaritaville” singer. Over the years, I’ve spent some time studying Jimmy Buffett and what makes him tick. I’ve read his books and listened to interviews. I even remember a few of his concerts.

He fascinates me – not as a musician, but an entrepreneur. Here are a few takeaways I have learned from following this Buffett over the years:

Parrothead Tip #1: Make your brand something others want to share.

Jimmy has created a brand for himself like no other. Parrotheads love him and want others to love him, too. He has mastered the art of having people buy his products, then getting their friends to buy his products and then having their children buy his products.

Imagine if every customer of yours referred a friend. Then, years later, when their kids were old enough, they became customers. Your empire would just keep growing.

Parrothead Tip #2: Create memorable experiences for your customers.

If you’ve been to one of Jimmy’s show, you won’t forget it (hopefully). Each is unique and fun, and people wind up having great stories to share with friends.

I remember being in the seventh row with my best friends on my birthday. The skies opened up and it began to pour. Jimmy didn’t stop playing, and the parrotheads didn’t run for cover. Instead, they danced.

Something that should have ruined the event – the rain – wound up becoming part of an amazing experience for me. It was because Jimmy turned something he could not control into a positive experience.

When you can do that for your business no matter what happens, your customers will stay.

Parrothead Tip #3: Be multi-dimensional.

Concerts, CDs, t-shirts, tequila, restaurants, beer, books – Jimmy is making money from all angles. He has branded himself so well that I even stopped drinking

Corona and switched to Landshark, the beer marketed under the Margaritaville Brewing label.

Having different revenue streams can be the difference between closing and keeping the doors open when times get tough. For Fusion Fitness, when memberships sales are down, we need to make sure our personal training business is up, and vice versa.

This allows us to continue to grow even when certain aspects of the business might be slow.

Parrothead Tip #4: Change lives and you will have a raving fan.

Jimmy Buffett has some of the best fans in the world. And they represent a diverse population. You never know if the person next to you is a doctor, lawyer, teacher or school bus driver. Everyone is there for the same reason – to have a great time and forget about their worries for a while.

Jimmy changes their lives even if it’s only for a couple of hours. He makes people feel good. No matter what business you’re in, you have the ability to make a positive impact on your customers’ lives.

Parrothead Tip #5: If you create an experience, you also can create the price tag.

Anyone who has seen Jimmy perform will tell you it’s an unforgettable experience. I remember being in 101-degree weather in the field at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, N.J., with 20,000 other people all sweaty and screaming. I could barely see Jimmy on the jumbo television, and yet, I was having the time of my life.

Did I mention I paid $85 for the ticket? And that didn’t include parking, gas, tolls or booze. And I would do it all over again. The experience was worth the price tag.

It is important to look outside your industry when you are looking for inspiration.

Next time you are out and you hear the lyrics, “looking for my lost shaker of salt,” take a look around and see the smiles on people’s faces.

That is the look you want when people think of your business.

Stay healthy. ♦

Nic DeCaire is a 2014 DBT40 honoree and the owner of Fusion Fitness in Newark.

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