Business Is A Marathon

October 25, 2007 by Mike Walter

I recently started training for my next marathon after a month off. I ran a little during that month but without a strict training program to tell me “Run 4 miles on Tuesday” and “Do Hill Work on Wednesday” I took more days off then I ran and I generally relaxed and put on a coupla pounds. So last Monday, 18 weeks before my next 26 miler, I started a new training program. And to kick it off I decided to put a book that had been recommended to me on my iPod® and run with that for a few days. The book is a classic “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey and though I am only about an hour into the audio book (2 runs worth) I have already heard some great things. The person who recommended the book told me he listens to it every year and I can see why. It’s rich in common sense and good, universal advice.One of the things I enjoyed hearing about was “Principals.” Covey says “The situation may change and the practice may no longer apply but the principal will remain constant. (The Principal) will always apply.” After hearing that I turned off my iPod® and thought about how it applied to the DJ business.

When I broke into Mobile DJing in the late 80’s in North Jersey, I was trained by the late great Star DJs. Our style back then was highly interactive. Put it this way: their list of “must have” items for their new DJs included, not only a complete sound system and music library but a sequined jacket and limbo pole. We jumped up on speakers, did five-minute intros to songs and generally tried to be the “Chippendales” of Mobile DJing. That was the practice and the situation (our clients and the times) called for.

But time changes everything and we have found that our Brides ask for a different approach now. They want less interaction and certainly less of “us.” When I train my DJs now, our over all philosophy is to provide a fun atmosphere without taking over the wedding. And my sequined jacket has been collecting dust at the back of my closet for years now.

But the “Principal” has not changed. Mobile DJing (IMO) has always been about giving the client what they want, and providing a fun and enthusiastic atmosphere at every event. Just because I’m not jumping on speakers and bumping and grinding with the hottest Bridesmaid, doesn’t mean I’m a wallflower. I still get out on the dance floor for much of the fast dancing, lead any audience participation that they might want (yes the “Electric Slide” and its offspring are still popular “dance-floor-fillers” in these parts) and keep a smile plastered on my face all night long.

Stephen Covey reminded me of that today and I will be conscious of it in my own events and also when I talk to my staff. The practice of how we DJ has changed over time and it will continue to change (who knows maybe that sequined jacket will be back in vogue someday) but the Principal will never change.

Till next week….

Mike Walter’s emceeing career began in his hometown of Queens, New York in 1984. With an eye towards radio, Mike attended Connecticut School of Broadcasting in 1988 where he was chosen from his class of 25 as “Most Likely to Succeed.” After school, Mike helped to develop a staff of DJs from 12 to over 50 by training new recruits and handling an increasingly complex schedule. In early 1993, Mike felt an increasing desire to venture out on his own and by March of that year he became a partner in a much smaller Mobile DJ company, Elite Entertainment. He quickly had an impact on the Elite staff, imposing his high standards of emceeing and DJing. Mike bought out his partner in 1998 and Elite Entertainment has continued its growth (21 emcees in 2006) and sets the standard for excellence in New Jersey. Mike has always believed in training talent from within and his message has helped show hundreds of DJs from across the country that it is possible to grow their companies without sacrificing quality.

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