Learning From Mistakes

It’s Cinco De Mayo, and I am behind the bar. It’s right around 8:45 p.m. when the traffic starts pouring in. This evening will be exciting. A couple of weeks ago, I booked my very first band for my new client. Discussions have been in the works for the last couple of years, so tonight is meaningful. With the help of two good friends, my businessplan was finally put into place. Both encouraged me to pursue my passion of being a small business owner.

So here I am behind the bar, business is steadily picking up and I receive a text on my phone to call the general manager for the location that I booked. I ask the other bartender to keep an eye out, and I’ll be back in a flash. He knows I never leave the bar to take personal calls, so he’s ok with my absence.

I give the general manager a ring.

“Hey Chris, whats up?” 

“We have no band.”

“That not possible. Let me call the band and I”ll call you right back.”

As I dial my contact for the band, I can’t help but realize that my first actual engagement with my new client is off to a horrible start. 

“Hey Johnny, where are you?”

“What are you talking about?” 

“I booked you for a gig tonight! Do you not remember?”

“Oh man, I am sorry. I must have forgotten to write it down!” 

“Can you play?”

“I am already at another gig, set up and about to play.” 

That was my very first actual business booking and I had no band for my client on Cinco De Mayo, a huge business day for the hospitality industry. I called the GM back to explain the situation and took full responsibility, I also told him that from this point on I would make sure that this would never happened again.

As I walked  back behind the bar, to continue my nights work, I soon realized that I can’t make any excuses for the band. I needed to take full responsibility for my mistake. At the end of the day it was me who failed to prepare. At that moment I started pondering how to prevent this mistake from happening again.

The following day I spoke with my business partner and explained the situation. The short term answer would be to only work with the most responsible acts in town, but we both realized that in the music industry some times you are going to be stuck working with bands that may not be on top of their game when it comes to business and organizational skills. So we pondered some more ideas on how to help prevent this from happening again.

After brain storming, my partner was able to come up with the idea of sending email reminders to artists each week. Shortly after the inception of CJS, we have sent an email reminder on each Tuesday, with all the details of the show. This simple gesture each week has prevented us from having mistakes. Now, we are not flawless. But, one simple email has given us a high percentage of shows that were not canceled due to human error. In life, it’s ok to make mistake. It’s the learning from these mistakes that keep you from progressing or regressing.

One of the things we look for in clients is growth. We strive to work with clients that can learn from their mistakes, think outside the box, communicate their ideas and continually grow. Surround your business with clients and customers that will continually challenge you to become better at what you do.



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