I’m sitting here outside of Harvelle’s Jazz Club at the corner of 4th and Santa Monica Boulevard and I was reminded of something I read in a book by Haruki Murakami — my favorite author of all time.
Haruki Murakami didn’t start out a novelist.
He was actually a jazz club owner, which gave him decades of experience observing the underground scene. As a business owner, he noticed that for every hundred people who came into his jazz club he only needed 10 of them to come back to have a thriving business.
Now what most people do is they try to design their jazz club — their business — for the 100 people, rather than for the 10 who are going to come back. When you double down on what makes you different, that difference may turn off the 90% of people who are not your ideal customers. But if they really really turn on the 10% of people so they want to come back to your club night after night after night, then you’ve got a thriving business.
The challenge with that is so many people are going after the 100%, because they want to be liked — they want to be loved by everyone. But here’s the thing: You can’t be loved and liked by everyone. Maybe they just gonna be like — eeeh, whatever, no big deal. If you’re going after 100% of your customers, then really you’re leaving them flat, you’re leaving them neutral, you’re leaving them like “eeeh, it’s just OK.”
So be willing to turn off 90% of your potential customers, because your ideal customers are not everybody who needs what you have to offer — they’re the people who believe what you believe. They’re the people who share your values, who share the things that you like. That’s what a tribe is. A tribe is the intersection of who you serve and how you’re different to them.
Dare to be different.
Dare to design your business for the 10% of people who check you out, not the 100% of people. Be willing to turn off the 90% to really really really turn on the 10%. Because unless you’re willing to turn off those 90%, you’re never going to turn on anyone. You’re going to have a club that feels like Disneyland — that’s really designed for the lowest common denominator, trying to be all things to all people and because of that you’re lost in the noise, you barely surface, you don’t register on people’s radar.
So there aren’t a lot of jazz clubs here in Los Angeles, but Harvelle’s has been here for years and years and years because they know who their tribe is.
Now, most millennials aren’t going to jazz clubs, right? They’re going after an audience who still loves and appreciates jazz — seeing live jazz every single night of the week.
They know who their 10 % is and they’re not even trying to attract the 100%. That’s why this club has been here for as long as I’ve been in Los Angeles. I moved here in 2003, so that’s a long time. I’ve watched so many other venues and clubs and restaurants shutting their doors, because they’re trying to be everything to everyone.
So that’s one of the most powerful business lessons I can share: Don’t seek to be liked, don’t seek to be everything to everyone. But really understand: Who exactly are you trying to serve? How are you going to be different to them? And how can you dare to build a business that’s only going to attract the 10%?
When you design your business — from the start — to attract that 10%, that 10% won’t just like you, they’ll adore you, they’ll rave about you, they’ll refer you to people, because they haven’t seen anything like it.
So thank you Harvelle’s for being here in Los Angeles for such a long time… and thank you for daring to be more of who you are in business, rather than building a same-old same-old business like everybody else, because nobody wants that kind of business anymore. We got the freakin’ internet, you can find anything you could possibly want and people are looking for exactly what they want. They want something that feels custom to them, bespoke to them, unique enough that it’s going to register on their radar as something worth paying attention to.
Now I know that you’re worth paying attention to and it’s time to share the part of yourself that’s worth paying attention to… and don’t worry about all the rest — you can leave that behind.
Be Unmistakeably YOU.
Now go out there and Live Your Message.