"Hello, I'm Johnny Cash" - Lessons from His Music
Understand Your Man (Target market!)
That's right. Do you understand your target market? Are you aware of her needs, desires and driving ambitions? Do you speak to your target audience in a language they understand? If not, perhaps you should be looking to make some immediate changes to your approach to customers and clients. They'll trust when they feel comfortable that your goals are aligned.
A Boy Named Sue (Life is Tough)
Life ain't easy for a boy named Sue...and life ain't easy working as a consultant either. In your business you will have those confidence killers, dream stealers, fun suckers...whatever you want to call them. You will have people who try to tell you that you can't achieve your goals, that what you try won't work. Don't let them get you down! Sue's father told him, "This world is rough, and if you're gonna make it, you've gotta be tough." How can you get tough in your business?
Man In Black (Branding)
Johnny Cash didn't don the all black suit because he didn't have anything else to wear. It was his trademark. He wore all black for a reason, it was his brand and the way they he wanted the world to see him. What about you? Are you working on your brand? How will you stand apart? And remember, your target market doesn't have to be just like you - Johnny Cash wrote Folsom Prison Blues and connected with inmates when he had never yet step foot in jail!
The Legend of John Henry's Hammer (Know Your Business)
a) Learn your business and you will succeed
John Henry's Daddy told him to: "Learn to a turn a jack, learn to lay a track, learn to pick and shovel too." Are you learning all you can about your market continuously? Are you keeping up with trends and best practices so that you can succeed in your business? Do you reinvest in learning, coaching and mentoring, and even software like John Henry's hammer?
b) Technology has its place but it can't take the place of humans.
When the steam engine threatened to take the place of men, Johnny proved that in the end, humans are more valuable. Learn to use technology but remember that your core function is to remember that your clients are human and that you need to inject some of yourself into your efforts.
One Piece at a Time (Ensure Quality)
This ballad is about a man who decides to build a Cadillac. He steals one piece at a time from the assembly line "and it didn't cost him a dime". But in the end, it didn't work out exactly like he planned! Does your work outputs look like a pieced together jalopy? Are you cut/pasting from your hard drive full of previous work? Are you unwilling to spend the right time and effort on your own work, or are you cluttering it up with unnecessary information that doesn't align to what you promised the client?
In The Jailhouse Now (Be Trustworth)
Please don't throw away your hard work by:
Taking Shortcuts - do it right, and be rewarded for quality work
Breaking the Rules to Meet Clients Exceptions - don't lose trust and credibility
Neglecting to keep up to date with the requirements, laws and legislation of your business
Not keeping records and neglecting to pay taxes
It just isn't worth it, and you may find yourself in the jailhouse. Much better to Walk the Line so you can sleep at night.
Ring of Fire
Maybe you've made a bad choice... entered into a shotgun romance with a business that's not right for you. Don't be afraid to realize this, chuck everything and start over! Don't beat your head against the wall if, after working hard on a project, you decide it's just not profitable. Better to find your match and pour your energies into that.
May you make beautiful music with your business!