I love music and when I’m driving I love listening to a variety of music from oldies to pop to country to rock. The other day as I was driving around a classic, Piano Man by Billy Joel came on and as I was listening to it the words really spoke to me about what a business could be. You can check out all the lyrics here, or go on YouTube and listen to the song if you’re not familiar with it. Let’s take a look at what in the song spoke to be about local business success.
One of the first lines is about the “regular crowd.” A successful (local) business should have a regular crowd, whether that’s a group of people that show up at the same time and day each week (more along the lines of a ‘crowd’), or just regular individuals or couples that show up the same time and/or day or place really consistent orders.
The chorus talks about how everyone is “in the mood for a melody”, reinforcing the unity that they all have being their together, the camaraderie that all going to this bar together helps create, along with the pianist and his piano music. It doesn’t mean they’re all looking to hear the same song, just that they all agree they want to hear some great music.
Finally, the song goes through several of the patrons as well as the manager of the bar and shares a little about their stories. It’s a reminder that as much as they’re a crowd and there to be together, they’re still individuals and have their own needs, preferences, and especially stories and things going on in their lives that aren’t going on in the lives of the other people they’re sharing the bar with.
The song really speaks to the atmosphere and experience that a business can create. It didn’t talk about the drinks they each were picking or that it was the classiest or cheapest bar or anything like that. Yes, those things can be important, and can be the reason that people purchase from or visit a business. But the song talked about the people, the togetherness and the unique experience the piano man helped create for the people and the bar. It hearkens back to that small-town feel (in a good way) that some businesses can create, where everyone feels welcome, their story is known and accepted, and they choose to spend their evenings there.
What about your business? Is your business like the bar in the Piano Man song, or is it more like one of those songs that talks about how everything is terrible or a waste of time or pointless? I believe we can all create the experience of a Piano Man bar with a little care and attention. How are you welcoming in your customers?