What do Motown, the Soulquarians (Erykah Badu, D’Angelo, The Roots, Common, Slum Village, Mos Def), Wonderland (Janelle Monae, Jidenna, Roman Gianarthur), Wu Tang Clan, and Bad Boy have in common?
Build a strong crew and you will build an even stronger brand.
They are all crews, tribes, or squads with a common mission and goal: do what they love together and become successful at it. They collaborate, share ideas, contribute to each other’s projects or rally behind one member of the crew to push them forward for the greater good of the group. There’s not only strength in numbers but magic happens when you create with like-minded people. Think about it, Motown is a legendary record label because of the many talented artists in the crew (Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson and the Jackson 5 to name a few) or Bad Boy (Biggie Smalls, Faith Evans & 112). Build a strong crew and you will build an even stronger brand.
Unfortunately, as entrepreneurs we often work in silos, off on our proverbial island spending hours a day toiling over our baby (our business). Hesitant to tell people what we’re working on for fear of criticism or theft of ideas but did you know working within a collective or tribe can do wonders for your business?
For example, you’re a massage therapist, your friend makes high end soy candles and her colleague makes statement jewelry with precious stones. Squad up! Create an event that showcases the talents of your crew, create package deals for private/corporate clients, create gift sets during the holidays – squad up! What movement do you want to be associated with and how can your crew create momentum around that?
Or you may decide to pool your resources and energy to focus on one member of your squad so that person can lead the charge for your crew’s success.
Take Kendrick Lamar, he is one of the best hip hop artists out right now, he’s also the lead in a rap clique/supergroup called Black Hippy. With Kendrick at the helm the other talented members of the crew will get more airplay, press, song features (which grows their “street cred”) than if they were going it alone. But it takes commitment.
What movement do you want to be associated with and how can your crew create momentum around that?
Commitment to your movement and each other. Spend time beyond work, break bread together, take trips, pray together, the key is stick to together even after you’re at a successful point in your career. This will change your life professionally and personally for years to come.
I was watching an interview with Questlove of the legendary hip hop group The Roots who said one of the biggest mistakes they made was not paying it forward once they “made it”. So keep that in mind, as time goes on plant seeds for future growth by bringing on younger entrepreneurs to mentor and invest in.
It’s time to squad up. The proof is in the numbers. According to Questlove within 3 to 4 years of forming a crew, 15 or more artists in the Roots collective had record deals and several years following that all had platinum selling albums – D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, the Roots, Jill Scott, Mos Def, Common etc. I don’t think that’s a coincidence, do you?
Take a cue from the music industry, some of the most successful artists were apart of something great, something bigger than themselves. Then take a look at your network and ask yourself, who can I squad up with?
Whose your squad? Comment below!
*This is a guest post by Anitra Terrell*