As some of you may have read in my book "32 Ways to Be a Champion in Business,” I played the point position for most of my basketball career. Meaning, I was the leader on the floor setting up plays and distributing the ball on offense. Now I call the plays for our business at Magic Johnson Enterprises and for our philanthropic work at Magic Johnson Foundation. Playing point is a much larger job than my days on the Lakers, and it can also be a challenging job with no coach on the bench to provide direction, or general manager sitting above the coach with a master strategy.
Like many business people, I have to figure it out myself every minute of every day, choosing the team members, setting the game plan, and keeping everyone hustling towards our goals. And what are those goals? My goal with both customers and partners is to serve their needs so that we can thrive together in our partnerships and joint ventures.
Some call my target market “urban America” or “emerging markets” or the “inner city,” and all of those descriptions apply to underserved communities where my heart lies. I aim to do well financially while creating jobs and providing goods and services for the people we serve in those areas.
This is where my world connects with the theme of the CJ Affiliate event CJ University, where I will keynote on Wednesday September 10. The theme of CJU is “The Power of Personal,” and that really rings true to how I work with my communities. The power of personal relationships and also understanding and building businesses that match the needs of your audience and market are major keys to success.
The Starbucks and TGI Friday's restaurant in Ladera Center in Los Angeles are great examples. To build those businesses in a way that would best serve the neighborhood and ultimately be successful, I listened to what people wanted and then provided it. I studied the details of each business with the intention of adding value by providing expertise on the wants and needs of the community. Those two partnerships set the model for my business and the work we still do today.
It worked. My name is on the buildings but you better believe that the customers have taken ownership of both businesses. If there is a menu change and overflowing trashcan or move table they don't call corporate offices of TGI Friday's or Starbucks. They call Magic Johnson Enterprises and we are glad to hear from them. The fact that our customers consider our businesses to be theirs too gives me more satisfaction than all the basketball trophies at home.
While I have focused much of my business on brick and mortar, the philosophies and strategies around understanding your market and delivering what it needs applies across online and offline business. CJU will provide affiliate marketers with three days of workshops, seminars and events that help them to apply this personalized savvy to their online campaigns. I am excited to come to CJU to share what has worked for me, and maybe even learn a thing or two from you.
– Magic Johnson