Anyone who knows me very well understands that I like a good boy band song every now and then – something to lighten things up every once in a while. But you can take away a lot more than predictable music from these Pop and R&B stars. In fact, there are a few business lessons to be learnt from looking closely at the boy band model.
Define your niche and stick to it
When you used to buy the latest boy band album you knew exactly what you were getting. Even without listening to it, you knew almost exactly what the songs would sound like. Boy bands don’t do country music, they don’t do jazz, they have their niche well defined and stick to it.
There is a ton of money to be made in the smallest of niches. Whether you are passionate about wine or perhaps something as unique as scrapbooking, if you’re willing to put in the work to make it happen, there is money in almost anything.
Don’t try to please everyone
Boy bands pull on the heart strings of teenage girls. Sure, their audience might extend past that and the people purchasing their CDs will go beyond that as well, but the majority of the attention they get is from this market. They don’t really care if 20-something guys like me enjoy their music or not because they are still getting rich from killing it in their niche and by pleasing their target market.
Not only can you make money in a well defined niche like scrapbooking, but it’s also important to know your target market and audience. Have a product tailored to new moms? Stop wasting your time trying to sell it to Dads if they aren’t interested in it. Spend your time making it even better and more appealing to new moms.
Size doesn’t matter despite what people think
How many boy bands have you heard of with over 5 people in them? Most boy bands have three to five members in them at most. There might be a select few with one or two more but five seems to be the magic number.
Now think of one of the metrics that you use to define the success of a business – number of employees is likely one of them. When I mention to people that I run a few businesses – mainly online – one of their first responses is typically, “oh wow, how many employees do you have?” When I tell them I do it with under 3-4 people their excitement seems to fizzle out.
Growing rapidly and hiring isn’t always the best strategy for a business. It depends on a lot of factors and in my opinion, over-hiring, especially early in the game, is a sure-fire way to stumbling through the early stages of business and risk ruining a potentially awesome business culture. Until you physically can’t handle a task anymore (and can’t automate it with a set of processes) you should not be hiring.
Building a good brand is one of the most important things you can do
Didn’t boy band members used to dress in matching outfits all the time? Yes, they certainly did. Boy bands were consistent in almost everything they did. They built a brand that eventually extended well beyond their music, which enabled them to grow and reach new markets.
Being consistent across platforms and keeping the same message is extremely important when doing business. Think of the consistencies across many organizations social media profiles, online and print branding, communications, etc. Personal branding is just as important, especially if you are a local business owner or online entrepreneur. You need to make sure that people know you as the go-to-person in your industry. (Looking for a motivational video on personal branding? Check out this vid of Gary Vaynerchuk in Web 2.0 Expo NY from 2008.)
I’m sure there are many other business lessons you could take from the boy band example. Have any in mind? Feel free to share in the comments below. In the mean time I’ll leave you with this: