[ENTREPRENEUR] Small Is the New Big, Both in the Music Business and Your Business

In case you missed it, National Small Business Week was April 30 to May 6. According to the Small Business Administration, small business amounts to 99 percent of businesses in the United States. So much is made of big, iconic brands, yet they actually represent only a small portion of America’s business landscape.

In business, too often the term "small" has a negative connotation. Yet, contrary to popular belief, there’s an advantage to being that small underdog in your category.

The reason? Today, more than ever, all business is small business.The entrepreneur who gets this perhaps better than anyone is country music superstar Aaron Watson. I share his story here because success leaves clues, and because musicians are the ultimate entrepreneurs. We could all stand to learn from Watson's business model. Here's how:

The music game has changed, all right. How else do you explain an artist with no major radio airplay and no record label having his last two albums chart at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, on Billboard’s Country Album chart? Watson's newly released album Vaquero recently debuted at No. 2 on Country Billboard’s chart, and No. 1 on iTunes' All-Genre chart.

This is proof positive that small is the new big .And Aaron Watson? He's the new business model, and I don’t mean just in the music industry, but all industries. In business today, the big don’t beat the small; it's the fast who beat the slow.

This became clear in my interview with Watson, as he explained how he and his team win by recognizing that they aren’t simply "in the music business." Rather, they’re "in the relationship business." They’ve grown their brand through personal attention and responsiveness to his fans -- or, as he calls them (really), his customers.

This musician proudly refers to himself as a small business owner. Watson doesn’t think of himself as being in the country music business; his philosophy is that he’s a small business owner and is in the family business. (His small business supports 22 employees and their 43 children.)

In fact, Watson compares his business as an entertainer to that of a local small-town restaurant owner. In the two communities near his home in West Texas, there are seven mom and pop-owned restaurants. The reason his family frequents these restaurants is that each makes you feel at home, which makes them places you want to go to and then come back to.

Read the full interview at entreprenuer.com