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Making Money the Grateful Dead Way

By Dian Vujovich

Who ever thought a band formed in the mid-1960s in San Francisco could become a model for building a solid, profitable business. But it has. The Grateful Dead did it and so can you.

Forget about Wavy Gravy. If you’re in a quandary for how to grow your business today, take some clues from this band that began with four in 1965 as The Warlocks and who knows, perhaps one day you will have some ice cream attributed to your likes. And, buckets of money to boot.

In a recent Atlantic Monthly article about the legendary group, the piece pointed out, “Without intending to—the band pioneered ideas and practices that were subsequently embraced by corporate America…”

Imagine that, those who spawned Deadheads could now be leading the way for the Suits!

What the Grateful Dead did that contributed to their success was—get ready for this—focus on their most loyal fans! What a concept.

They did so by doing things like creating telephone hotlines to inform fan about their touring schedule before the press releases came out; reserved some of the best seats in the house for them; and capped ticket prices. How smart, logical and even common sense-filled were those ideas? And to come from a group of longhairs at a time when sex, drugs and rock-and-roll were just beginning to take off.

“The Dead were masters of creating and delivering superior customer value,” says Barry Barnes, a business professor at the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship at Nova Southeastern University, in Florida.

But wait, there’s more.

They also incorporated, established a board of directors made up of the band, its road crew and other members of the Dead organization that had a rotating CEO position, got into merchandising, sued those who violated their copyrights and most importantly—-“weren’t greedy.”

It’s that last point about not being greedy that is something every individual, parent, kid, corporation, small company, government official, insurance company, banker, and Wall Street could all learn a very profitable lesson from.

Read more of the Grateful Dead’s story at: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/201003/grateful-dead-archives or

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