Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in music but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dave Combs, founder of Combs Music, located in Winston-Salem, NC, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Nearly every person that I know experiences some level of stress in their lives every day. We all long for the feeling of peace, and that is what I provide through my music. The soothing, relaxing instrumental music recordings that I create provide respite and relief. Since 1986, Combs Music has been creating and selling 15 albums of recordings and 11 piano sheet music books of relaxing music to customers all over the world. And I have recently written a book, "Touched by the Music: How the Story and Music of "Rachel's Song" Can Change Your Life." This book is being enjoyed by music lovers and entrepreneurs alike.
Tell us about yourself
In 1981, I wrote an instrumental song which later was named "Rachel's Song," in honor of our Goddaughter. The recording of this song, arranged and performed by Gary Prim in Nashville, Tennessee, launched my entire music business. That song quickly became a standard with radio airplay all over the country. I received over 50,000 notes and letters from fans telling me their own stories of how my music had touched their lives. Reading these stories is all the motivation I need to continue to spread my music around the world.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
The thing that I am the proudest of is knowing that the music that I have created has genuinely touched the lives of literally millions of people in a positive way. In chapter 21 of my book, I reprinted 22 pages of some of the actual notes I have received over the years. I reread them often. Another accomplishment has been the dozens of college students that have been assisted through the endowed scholarships that my wife, Linda, and I have been able to fund, thanks to the success of my music business. Giving back is very important to us.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I believe that for any business owner, minimizing the non-productive (but often necessary) aspects of the business (like dealing with taxes, government reports, bookkeeping, etc.) and maximizing the productive aspects (like sales, marketing, product creation, etc.) is a constant battle for your time. Resisting the temptation to try and do everything yourself and delegating certain tasks to others is another balancing act all too familiar to business owners.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Create and constantly improve the very best product or service (something that the consuming public is willing to pay for) that you can within the limits of your resources.
- Create a small-scale business model demonstrating the profitable monetization of your product or service, including production, sales, and fulfillment.
- Once you have proved the viability of your business model on a small scale, duplicate it, scale it up -- take action and make it grow.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Don't let anybody steal your dream. Surround yourself with people who build you up and make you better. Keep your vision and goals clear and articulate them to everyone who will listen. Remember, you can only make the right turns in life if you are moving forward. Take action.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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