What Poison’s Bret Michaels Taught Me About Business

Ever stand in the front row at a rock concert, just a few feet away from the band? It is an entirely different experience than sitting out in the lawn with 30,000 people between you and the band. I had been a fan of Bret Michaels since the mid 1980’s, but during the summer of 2007, in the front row of the Poison concert, I was in a position to personally witness trademark characteristics of his I had only read about before.

Most people may be more caught up in the dancing, singing, lights, and excitement in the front row of a rock concert, but as a personal finance blogger I saw a business operation as well. A rock band is a business whose objective is to make a profit and support the lifestyles of the ownership. The fans are the customers, and like a business seeking profit the more customers you attract the more successful your business will be.

I was familiar with Bret’s history and his success, but watching him in action that day made me realize the core reasons for his business success. Up until that moment I would have never guessed I could learn a valuable lesson from a rock star in developing assets we all inherently own in order to build a small business without money or outside resources. Let’s face it, running a high profile rock band comes with the same challenges a small business is faced with.

Bret has three assets that build his branding (his persona) and his business (Poison). These three assets aren’t the kind that you keep in a briefcase, lock up in a safe, or store in a warehouse. Bret has an incredible passion to perform, a strong work ethic, and a personality of inclusiveness. He makes his customers / fans feel good about seeing and knowing him.

Bret’s humble beginnings didn’t allow for the purchase of things like prime stage time, professional equipment, or reliable transportation to get to shows. However, what he and his band lacked in working capital they made up with hard work, creating a memorable product (their show), and making the fans feel included and appreciated. This grew customer demand for more of what they had to offer, which of course led to the money they needed to expand their reach.

Take a closer look at what Bret had to work with at the outset. Like many entrepreneurs, he started with few resources, but a strong work ethic, a lot of passion, and great ideas. The first thing Bret did was get to work. He worked relentlessly on meeting people, promoting the band, and getting gigs lined up. He worked on building interest in the band and getting opportunities to play in small clubs. As a paying ticket holder at the show I attended I was appreciative when Bret, a diabetic, announced that there was “no way I would miss being here with you all tonight”, even though he was fighting off a cold and losing his voice.

When he was given the opportunity to perform he did so with passion. Fans could see and hear the energy Bret put into his performances and that soon became a topic of discussion.

Finally, the thing that made Bret’s performance different was how he included the crowd. He already had a magnetic personality, but he intentionally drew people into the performance. I witnessed this myself that day in the front row. Throughout the entire show he was slapping hands, pointing at people, shouting out to individuals, thanking everyone, even yelling out specifically to the people all the way in the back.

How many times have you heard, or even said to yourself, “I don’t have enough resources to work with”, “I don’t have enough money”, or “I am tired”? Those attitudes will prevent you from succeeding in things like managing your money, getting ahead at work, or starting your own small business. Focus on the things you can do. Just like Bret you can passionately work on your business, work harder, and make your friends / family / employer / and customers feel included and appreciated. That will make you important to them and recruit them in helping you reach your goals. What do you think?

Leave a Reply