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I will be the first to admit it, my home office is in shambles, and requires a thorough cleaning. I cannot seem to keep up with the day-to-day activities that consume my time, and clearly have not given this task the attention it deserves. Dwelling on the topic, I have come to realize that the condition of my music studio and workspace is a metaphor for how the rest of my business life has been operating. What I end up showing to my customers and associates is orderly and organized, but behind the scenes it is an unadulterated hot mess. One of these days, maybe sometime soon, I will buckle down and tidy this place up. What is important now is extracting order from this chaos and preparing for the New Year ahead.

Leaving 2020 behind us once and for all

While the changing of the calendar is for all intents and purposes an arbitrary date to address behavioral changes, the customary resolutions made to start fresh come to mind here. And who among us is not ready to put 2020 in the rear-view mirror? Words like turmoil, disruption, confusion, and turbulence simply cannot do justice to what we have lived through this past year. From the horrific losses of friends and loved ones due to COVID, to the dreadful decimation of entire sectors of our beloved music business, this has been a year of pure mayhem. But with light at the end of the tunnel, I for one will embrace this coming January as a time for renewed commitment, and a good excuse to get organized…again.

How can vendors help in the Musical Instrument trade?

Manufacturers and distributors can lead the way, realizing the quality and organization of information provided to rep firms and resellers has great bearing on the success of new product launches, dealer programs, and channel participation. Certainly, this will be a non-traditional NAMM show, but that alone should not stop vendors from thinking about and carefully preparing the tools for retail success. It is all well and good to stimulate consumers with advertising and marketing, but please do not forget to include your channel partners. Be transparent and share plans so that retailers can align their efforts with yours. Provide visibility to your 2021 roadmap, and the collateral material to support a streamlined sales effort. Perhaps behind the scenes your conference rooms are just as disorganized as my home office, but that should not stop either of us from presenting a clear, concise, and coherent plan to our shared accounts.

We’re all in this together…

Borrowing on a tag line from Jeff Bridges (check out his signature Breedlove guitar), we are “all in this together”. Jeff is referring of course to the environment and sustainability, but this simple philosophy extends well beyond that to every stage of our lives, whether personal or professional. If we as individuals, companies and as an industry support each other, there will be no stopping the “great comeback of 2021.” Start locally and think globally, meaning the ecosystem of your family, community, coworkers, and industry. Think about how your personal contributions can make a difference in the lives of others and join me in the joy of a fresh start in January. And I promise, by then I will post a picture of my sparkling clean studio.

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