All posts by Tim at A-List Marketing

I walked into a small bar and Prince was playing…

OK, on the first anniversary of his passing, I’m recalling my first close encounter with the Artist: At the 1992 Winter Music Conference in Miami our group stopped by an up stairs club called Le Loft. We were drinking in the almost deserted front bar room when someone said Prince was playing a pickup gig in the back room. We headed back there and sure enough Prince was jamming with a small band. There were maybe 50 people in the room. We grabbed a booth and hung out for a couple of hours. On breaks Prince mixed with the crowd. Not real talkative but friendly to all. It was one of those magic late nights you can’t plan for. Little did I know we’d interact again in Chicago when Prince played a surprise show at our club Excalibur, and then came to be a regular visitor every time he came to Chicago.  His death is such a shock even 1 year later. Thanks for the Magic, Sir.

Prince was known to do pop up performances at small clubs, the photo above is from a club show in Sydney, Australia.

Check Out My New Vinyl Music Site

Well, I finally started selling my giant stash of vinyl, as well as a couple of friends’ big collections and some bulk purchases I made over the years. I am using the Discogs site and it makes it easy and fun to sell vinyl. And there are a huge number of record collectors on Discogs. Very cool group and site!

I was a DJ all through the 80s working in clubs, and a reporter for Music magazines. Thus I was always in records pools and getting journalist review copies. I have many rarities including test pressings and most of the original Chicago House records in excellent condition. Because I used to buy out sections of record stores when they went out of business, I also have a lot of sealed and duplicate copies.

With the combination of sources, all genres and eras are pretty well represented. Vinyls and CDs from the 1950s to the 2000s can be found in my store. Albums, 12-inch singles, EPs, Box Sets, CDs and even 45s can be found in my collection. There’s something for just about every musical taste.

Anyway, visit my site and my store if you are a vinyl picker, DJ or just want to check out some Beautiful Discs!

https://www.discogs.com/seller/BeautifulDiscsUSA/profile

dolly parton pink record

Our bars know the lesson United Airlines is about to learn.

“Back in the Day” bars had bouncers. If a patron “mouthed off,” interfered with business, got into a spat with a regular, or numerous other offenses, we threw them out, by force if necessary. “You had to be tough” in our business. Then somewhere around 2000 we realized we were spending a lot of our days off going to court!

It was then the ultimately wise operations leaders in our company developed a security policy which placed the highest priority on avoiding violence. Forget being “right.” Forget ego. If someone is running away, let them go. If there’s immediate violence, surround a perpetrator to diffuse – strength in numbers. Cameras everywhere. Up the security staff. Stop hiring big tough guys and hire savvy normal guys who can defend themselves, but also grew up having to talk their way out of situations now and then. We stopped having bouncers and started having hosts.

We asked the question: do we want to be “right,” possibly have staff get hurt in a fight, and spend our days off in court? Or do we want to put ego aside and do whatever we can to diffuse situations creatively and be done with it? Our leadership decided on the second option and it was one of the smartest things we ever did. Injuries and lawsuits plummeted for our group, and insurance rates stayed in line.

United Airlines, Republic Airlines (the actual carrier operating the plane within the United system) and even the O’Hare Airport Police are waking up today wishing they didn’t have to deal with the disaster of yesterday’s videotaped assault of a passenger to remove them from the plane. As we learned in our business, it doesn’t really help if you’re “right” when you still have to clean up a huge, expensive mess.

Perhaps if the authorities involved adopted a policy that before using any force (except in immediate physical threats) the Captain is notified, everyone stands down, and there is a meeting of the minds on how to otherwise solve a problem. On a plane, like a ship, the Captain is the ultimate authority and can make virtually any call. Captains should be trained to be creative and not enforce rules mindlessly to the detriment of all. I’m sure United wishes someone would have just offered more money for a volunteer until someone could not resist taking their invitation to get “bumped.” It would be a lot cheaper than what’s going to happen now!

Any threat of force in a business needs to be seriously and creatively evaluated before moving forward! It’s not about who is “right,” it is about what’s best in the situation, short term and long term. We think of business creativity as innovation on a conceptual level, but it’s needed in all parts of any enterprise in order to avoid disasters.

Ego and rigid rules are dangerous to a business! Smart and flexible is a road to success.

There are still a lot of “old school” bars out there. Anyone who needs help updating their customer service – that’s one of the services offered at A-List Marketing! Reach out anytime and let’s talk.

 

Welcome 2 new clients and thanks to another!

I’d like to welcome my 2 latest clients, Harry Caray’s Restaurant Group in Chicago and Portillo’s Hot Dogs (nationwide).

And a quick thank you to everyone at Nestle and their agencies for being such a pleasure to work with while opening their pop up bakery and managing their Nestle Toll House “100 Days of Baking Some Good” program from Sept – February. For our culmination event, our bakers set a world record for continuous baking!

Cheers!

Tim

portillos-hot-dogs

harry-carays-sign

 

 

SURFING THE TRUMP DISRUPTION: 4 Keys to Success as America Changes in 2017

Whatever your opinion on Donald Trump, everyone can agree that there are huge changes coming to America and the world, starting January 20.

How can a business person or any other citizen adapt and prosper in this volatile time? Since the election November 8, I have come up with a few ideas. None of them involve Tweeting after awards shows.

KEY MOVE #1

BE READY TO LAUNCH NEW BUSINESSES TO PROFIT FROM BIG CHANGES

The US government is the largest organization in our nation. It is about to drastically transform. A multitude of new businesses will spring up to manage the intentional and unintentional results of this disruption. I believe people are going to prosper in new  enterprises arising to exploit or even to oppose this radical shift in government.

It’s not simply that we’ve moved from a Democratic to Republican administration. Mr. Trump seems determined to disrupt the way governing has been done for decades, just as he broke all the rules of campaigning. Whether you love or loath the incoming President, it’s obvious that the next four years will not be business as usual. Is Donald Trump the Amazon of politics, a profound game changer? Or is he closer to Bitcoin or Google Glass, a passing sideshow oddity? Either way there are big changes in store starting right away.

Some of the sectors where the new administration and Congress will make drastic changes include health care, national security, energy policy, international relations, tax rules, business regulations, laws over individuals, and conservation. As these changes are instituted, businesses and jobs will be created to manage new challenges and exploit new opportunities. I expect an explosion of innovation as our nation grapples with the new Administration’s game-changing approach to government.

These opportunities will not be for business owners only. If you don’t own your own company, be on the lookout for openings your employer can exploit, and suggest new moves. You could end up leading a new division of your company! And look for part time side business ideas as well.

There will be opportunities for Republicans and Democrats alike. Innovative enterprises aimed at fighting Mr. Trump and Republican control of government are already emerging.

The Trump Disruption will have no borders. There will be opportunities not only for Americans but people the world over. As America is disrupted from within, other nations will have new chances to excel and challenges to overcome. You could write a book about Russia alone.

I advise everyone to look at every upcoming change, and ask the question: “what’s my opportunity to help?” Particularly focus on areas relating to your experience and expertise. There will be many ways to add value, through businesses, government and non-profit civic causes. Opportunities are there whether you favor or oppose the Trump Administration.

KEY MOVE #2

BEWARE OF SCAMS

Government regulations of businesses are going to be loosened. That’s a sure thing with the new power structure. For my own businesses (hospitality, retail beverage marketing and event services), fewer regulations will be a catalyst for growth, innovation and profits. But while a more permissive regulatory environment will present opportunities, it also creates more openings for fraudulent operators. As regulations fall, new scams are sure to crop up. It will be increasingly important to read the fine print and do due diligence on every personal and business deal. Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

KEY MOVE #3

DON’T IMITATE DONALD TRUMP!

The blunt, unfiltered approach that works for Mr. Trump is 99% likely to backfire for the rest of us in our daily lives. Even if you are a Trump fan, it’s important to avoid insulting, arrogant, thoughtless behavior in business and personal interactions. You are not a billionaire TV star.

The satirical magazine The Onion was on point with this spoof:

REPORT: It Is Still Nowhere Near OK to Act Like Donald Trump

ITHACA, NY—In the hours since the Republican nominee’s stunning election to the nation’s highest office, reports have confirmed that, regardless of circumstance, it is not even remotely close to okay to act like Donald Trump. “Just to be perfectly clear, speaking or behaving in a manner similar to President-elect Trump is just as unacceptable now as it has ever been,” the reports stated, adding that in zero percent of cases is it even borderline permissible to conduct oneself either personally or professionally in a fashion akin to Trump, and that has not changed in the past two days. “In fact, acting like Mr. Trump does for even a moment will result in a wide range of negative social—and in some cases, criminal—consequences for you personally.” – THE ONION satirical media site

KEY MOVE #4

FOLLOW THE MONEY (AS ALWAYS) ON ITS NEW PATHS

Eight years of divided government are over. Republicans are in control of all Federal branches and the majority of State Houses. Similar to the first term of President George W Bush in 2000, there will be a huge shift of resources toward Republican-preferred programs and away from those seen to benefit Democratic constituencies.

This shift will create two new sets of opportunities:

First and most obviously, Republican favored programs flush with new funds will offer new jobs and contract opportunities for businesses.
But also, Democratic favored programs losing funding will be searching for creative ways to continue their endeavors. This too is an opening for entrepreneurial minded people to step up with creative solutions.

Just don’t expect the government to shrink in total size and spending. Even Mr. Trump is not that radical. Rhetoric always comes in second to self interest, regardless of who rules! So count on plenty of ways to profit working with the new boss. Same as the old boss.

Our Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel famously said “Never let a crisis go to waste.” Whether you think Trump will “make America great” or be a “disaster,” unprecedented opportunities are on the way with the “huuuuuge” changes we’ll all be experiencing. Welcome to the uncharted territory of Trump’s America.

http://wp.me/p2g9q8-OW

Millennials Really Do Have It Rough

It’s fashionable to make fun of America’s 75 million Millennials, but I think they have it rougher than Boomers and Gen X. They may have more digital toys, but they also have a lot more student debt, a lot less job security, and zero privacy.

Older people who criticize the “selfishness” and other irresponsible traits of Millennials are forgetting how they acted in their 20s. Youthful obnoxious foolishness is common in every generation.

I remember in the 80’s we were called the “Me Generation.” Sounds familiar.

“Millennials” is just the latest name for young people. The complaining is just older people bitching about the young. Same as it ever was.

For those of us in the hospitality industry, there are more Millennials than Boomers or Gen X, and they are in the peak years of dining out and nightlife. So better understand them rather than attack them.

Here’s some relevant facts on Millennials. Contact us for much more help for bars and restaurants in building a loyal following of Millennials and other desirable customers.

MillennialsTAB drinking habits.jpg

millennial food habit.png