Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cults of Personality

 While blog-rolling, I came across posts from FreeMan and Val which dealt with Blacks supporting Black-owned businesses.
Having a Black-owned business, I want to cater to as wide of a demographic as possible.
My club is doing very well at this time so I have to keep it evolving in order to keep it fresh.
I don't change what I offer (book releases parties, CD release parties, poetry nights, live music, DJs, fashion shows, art exhibits, business mixers, sponsored events, etc.) and I try to make the place the social and cultural hub for the area.
In fact, I even let other clubs leave their fliers at my bar.
The entertainment business (That's what clubs are - they are not primarily a sales business.) is not a zero-sum game.

Blockbuster movies get more people to the theaters which may enable smaller films to gain the viewers not able to get in to the big movie.
Anchor stores at the mall bring in traffic which may stop by the smaller shops to buy something to compliment an item purchased from the bigger department stores.
In the right environment, everyone can do well.
I have a Black-owned club - not a Black-only club.
But why fix what isn't broken?
People go to Del Taco for a burrito not for fried chicken - why try to offer everything to everybody?
As I gain more and more white patrons, most are amazed at the professionalism and the level of service provided.
Most (Black and white) have a diminished expectation when it comes to dealing with Black-owned businesses.

In my business, service is king.
I make less so that my employees can make more.
I pay more so that my employees are happy to come to work.
Happy employees deliver better service.
Better service translates to bigger profits for me.

When I took over the club everyone said that it could never be brought back to life - even with my good reputation for taking care of customers.
The bad word of mouth (and the inability of the previous owners to focus on the importance of their patrons instead of trying to let everyone know how important they, themselves, were.)  generated by the club had doomed it to failure.
Television, radio and print ads failed to overcome the ill feelings people had towards the place.
People were tired of the previous owners nickel and diming them for every cent.
People did not wish to spend money (even though it was the best venue in town.) at a place owned by the previous group.

But I did not spend one cent on advertising.
Since the club was destroyed by bad word of mouth - good word of mouth was the only way to rebuild it.
Mass text messages and a facebook account would generate gossip.
Posting photos of every event would generate traffic to our site.
The vanity of those in the photos would create even more interest in the club.
At a certain point, local media would review the club and end up providing free advertising for the club.
At this point, we cannot accommodate everyone who wishes to patronize us.

I hate running nightclubs - I'm just good at it.
I hate crowds - I just always seem to find myself in the middle of them.
I'm not a nice person - I just do nice things.
"Everyone loves John", is a common statement but I'm usually bored by most people I meet.
When the previous owners attempted a coup to take back the club - "John is the club!", one of their parrtners lamented.

This model is used an a larger scale by those such as Martha Stewart/MSLO and Oprah/Harpo.
When the image of the primary product suffers, the business suffers.
When the leader of the cult is seen in a positive light, the business prospers.
I have no desire do be famous - I can barely handle popularity - but I do like to do well (and good) in all that I do.
And my reputation enables me to get away with things which others cannot.
I eschew the limelight but I'm always being asked to sit front and center.
I'm just a regular guy but many people think that I'm better than I pretend to be.
I'm not particularly humble, I just grew up in a competitive environment where the best around ended up being some of the best in the world in their chosen fields.
(Superman was a regular guy on his home planet - he just became 'super' when he was around mortal men.)
When I try to explain that anything I do could be done by anyone with the volition, many assume that I am somehow different or special (which is not the case.).

Maybe I'll never understand why some become 'The People's Champ', a 'Sun King' or a 'light to the world'.
I'm no leader - I'm a follower of Christ and His ways and teachings.
Maybe it has more to do with the motivations behind ones actions than it does with the actions themselves.
And if the motivations are just as important - cannot everyone be motivated to have the same changes of heart?
If everyone can be motivated by good instead of profit - cannot everyone be thought of as being great?

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