I found myself taking out a notepad, because I wanted to capture Berry Gordy’s pearls of wisdom. The business lessons he shared are as relevant today as they were in 1958.
Here are 7 ideas that might be helpful as you position yourself for success.
1. It begins with a vision. Gordy knew that he wanted to make a big impact, and his love was music. What is your vision of business success? Are you dreaming big?
2. Hustling helps. As a child, Gordy sold an African-American newspapers. Gordy, thought, “Why not sell it in white neighborhoods?” He did, and he broke sales records. How well do you hustle? Could you get your ideas in front of even more potential buyers that you may be overlooking?
3. Don’t fear failure. Gordy said that a big part of his success was a series of events that knocked him down. The big failure right before his Motown success was opening a record store that failed, forcing him to declare bankruptcy. Are you willing to fail? Do you look for failures’ lessons?
4. Look around for great ideas. Once Gordy lost his business, he went to work on the Ford assembly line. He liked the idea of breaking a process down into separate parts to create the whole. This is a model he used when he created Hitsville. The activities of writing, producing, movement training and even “charm school” took place in different physical locations. Are you looking outside of your industry for great ideas you can apply in your own business?
5. Seek and mentor talent. How did Gordy meet his lifelong friend and collaborator Smokey Robinson? Smokey and his band were in the audition hallway making a plan after they found out they didn’t get the gig. Gordy approached Smokey and told him that he liked his performance. He asked Smokey, “Do you have any other songs?” Smokey happened to have about 100 with him. Gordy saw raw talent and mentored Smokey. Do you mentor others? Do you groom leaders? Who mentors you?
6. Make it POP. Two weeks after Motown released a song Smokey recorded, Smokey got a call at 3 AM from Gordy. Gordy wanted to re-record the song to make it POP. Right then. They went into the studio in the middle of the night and created a huge hit. Are you willing to see how you can make a service or a product sparkle?
7. Competition breeds champions. Gordy set up friendly competition between the writers and musicians. Everyone got better. Even if you are a solopreneur, how can you be just a little better than you were yesterday?
I highly recommend the documentary. Let me know what you think!