Episode 31 Image

Looking In The Mirror

Julie and Brandon talk about how looking in the mirror solves a lot of business problems and how being too transparent hurts your business.



In today’s episode, Julie talks with Brandon Crumpton, President of Key Signature Entertainment, about how looking in the mirror will often solve a lot of business problems and how sometimes being too transparent hurts your business. They also chat about a lesson Brandon learned about being too transparent with his employees, team, and clients, and how that’s been a hard lesson to learn.


[00:00:00] Julie Bee: In today’s episode. I talk with Brandon Crumpton, president of key signature entertainment about how looking in the mirror will often solve a lot of business problems and how sometimes being too transparent can hurt your business. You 

[00:00:14] Brandon Crumpton: can have weekly leadership tips and insights delivered straight to your inbox.

Sign off@thejulieb.com. And if you’d like to connect with Julie, she’s available on the web and most social media platforms like LinkedIn. Facebook, Twitter and 

[00:00:30] Julie Bee: Instagram. Hey, there I’m Julie B and you are listening to, they don’t teach this in business school, a podcast where we discuss business ownership, lessons that are learned through experience, not in a classroom before I get into today’s episode, I want to mention my key employee coaching program.

If you’re a business owner with a key employee or a leadership team, but you are still the one leading every initiative. This program can help. It provides the leader with [00:01:00] backup to help them be a better leader, but it also provides leadership training and coaching to the key employee or the leadership team.

So if you’re a business owner and you’ve trained and coached your key employees to lead, but they’re still stuck in more of that management mode, this program. Is for you. And I will put the information in the show notes. So today I’m really excited to get the opportunity to interview Brandon Crumpton, the president of key signature entertainment.

I’m looking forward to this conversation because I know we will all learn some very valuable lessons during this interview. So Brandon, welcome to the show. I’m glad to have you with our listeners today. 

[00:01:40] Brandon Crumpton: Well, thanks Julie. Glad to be. Appreciate you 

[00:01:43] Julie Bee: Brandon, just give us a, a brief overview of key signature entertainment, and also what your role is in the 

[00:01:52] Brandon Crumpton: business.

Well, key signature entertainment, it’s a live music resource for private parties and special events. We do everything from as small [00:02:00] as, you know, solo guitars for some of our clients all the way up to big production, large concerts. My role is to kind of oversee it all as the captain of the ship. I guess if you would, you would, you would.

[00:02:11] Julie Bee: That’s often what comes along with president and owner that yeah. Plays roles for sure. What is your favorite part about being a business owner? What do you enjoy the most about 

[00:02:22] Brandon Crumpton: it? I guess I will say watch this thing that I built, you know, about 13 years ago and how it affects others. When I see it have a positive effect on other people’s lives.

And that’s not just like internally in terms of employees, but like even the musicians we work with and even the clients, when I see what, you know, something that we created makes their life easier or watching a musician that I remember when they sent us their promo and we checked it out, we said, that’s pretty good.

I think our clients were like that. And then watching them just grow and blossom and actually be able to make a living doing this, that, that, that brings me. 

[00:02:55] Julie Bee: And how do you foster that type of environment? Because that’s, that’s a [00:03:00] hard environment. I think, to really a culture I would say to really, and get your people to embody that as well.

And keep that kind of as the vision. How do you make sure that you do that? How that positive 

[00:03:12] Brandon Crumpton: impact starts from the top down, you know, your business is a reflection of who you are. So if there’s something about your business that you’re not happy with, first thing you need to do is go find a mirror.

And so I work on myself every day and do all the things that I do that I need to do to take care of myself mentally, physically. So I can come in here every day with the best attitude that I can have. And it’s, uh, you know, it’s and it’s, it’s contagious. And so the people in my office say, Hey, you know what?

He’s got a lot on his, you know, mind a lot on his shoulders, but he can still come in here and get it done. And be positive about it then. So can we, so yeah, it starts with me. 

[00:03:50] Julie Bee: It’s so important. I think, to set the example for the vision and the mission of the business, but also, especially in small businesses, [00:04:00] when, you know, it’s you and a couple of people, a couple of employees to also set up a culture of the business owner takes care of themselves.

And so I think that sets a tone for you, you know, you employees also please take care of yourself. What are some of the things you do to take care of yourself, to avoid burnout? Basically 

[00:04:19] Brandon Crumpton: every single day to wake up, I do yoga. I used to be in the gym a lot, but the older I got, I was doing more damage to my body than good in terms of strength training.

So I started doing yoga mm-hmm and I. Remember my doctor telling me a way back when that, you know, you experience the most anxiety for people who do experience anxiety, usually first thing in the morning, and I’m one of those people. And so I take care of that first thing. And so the yoga and meditation kind of centers me and kind of levels me out.

So I’m ready for whatever the day throws at me. So by the time I do get to the office and walk through the front door, you know, I’m, I’m in good spirits. That way I can. And a good place for my employees and our clients and [00:05:00] everybody else we work with. So every single day I do that 

[00:05:05] Julie Bee: was there. Or has there been times in the business though when you have experienced burnout?

[00:05:12] Brandon Crumpton: Yeah, I mean, I think I’m, I think I’m going through it right now and I’ll, and I’ll honestly, I mean, I’m one of the businesses that did not shut down for the past two years, kept all of our employees thinking that that was the best thing to do at the time and pivoting and coming up with different strategies in terms of marketing and sales and figuring out what our clients needed, you know, over the past two years, and probably worked harder for the least amount of money in 2020, in 2021.

And now that. Fire hose of, of, of business has, you know, come at us. You know, I think I’m experiencing burnout because I never stopped working. Mm-hmm , [00:06:00] you know, a lot of folks got a little bit of a break. I never stopped working. My team never stopped working. And so now we’re having, we’re doing more business than we’ve ever done, and didn’t ever get a chance to rest.

And so, yeah, I think I’m, I think I’m going through it. 

[00:06:17] Julie Bee: And yeah, I mean, there are times one thing that I find really interesting with business owners that have been in business for, I would say usually it’s at about the five year mark. Most of us do have some type of personal care, whether it’s yoga, meditation, exercise, reading, whatever it is that we have stuff that we do to take care of ourselves.

But there are times when that isn’t enough. And you know, there are, there are additional things you have to start doing in order to, to deal with the burnout. And I just think it’s interesting that you, I mean, you have the thing, you know, you wake up every morning and you do yoga and meditation and there are times when even that’s, [00:07:00] that’s not enough.

[00:07:01] Brandon Crumpton: Yeah. I mean, every day is a new day and every day it’s you versus. It’s not you versus anybody else or any external factors, it’s you versus you every single day. And sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, but every day you get another shot at it. And that’s kind of what I’m doing, you know, with my routine.

Yeah. It doesn’t work every single time. But for the most part, it keeps me pretty healthy. Every business owner needs a support network when asked most business owners will reference their support network as what gets them through the tough times. There are three characteristics to consider when documenting who is in your support network.

And Julie has a free guide to help walk you through each of them. Download your free copy. now@bjulieb.com. 

[00:07:51] Julie Bee: Hey, this is Julie B and you’re listening to, they don’t teach this in business school. And I’m here today with Brandon Crumpton, the president of key [00:08:00] signature entertainment. Brandon, you just said something that really struck me every day is you versus you.

And that’s an everyday thing. Talk to me about some of the times where you feel like you really won that day. Tell me some about some of those experiences, 

[00:08:19] Brandon Crumpton: lessons are repeated right in your life, in business, in your personal life. Things will keep happening to you until you learn from them. And I recognize my wins when I respond to something differently than I would have five or 10 years ago, I recognize the growth of myself and I go.

You know what I finally learned that lesson. And so, and I’m better off for it cause I know how I would’ve responded, but I’m better at, at dealing with it now. I mean, I, I tell my employees, you know, life doesn’t get easier, you just get better at handling it or at least some of us do. So. Yeah. I don’t think anything in terms of what life throws at you changes.

It’s just how you respond to, [00:09:00] 

[00:09:00] Julie Bee: that’s such an interesting, that kind of gave me goosebumps because what I tell. Business owners, especially newer business owners. There’s this thinking? The, the frame of mind that happens, that when I get to X things will be easier. Or when I get to Y things will be easy.

yeah. You and I can laugh, cuz we’ve been doing this a while. 

[00:09:21] Brandon Crumpton: Yeah, no, no, you just, you just get a better handle. You’ve seen that before. Mm-hmm and if you’ve learned from. Then you handle it better the next time and the next time. But if you don’t learn from it, then actually it does seem like it kind of gets harder.

[00:09:38] Julie Bee: Yeah. And what I find is that I have a greater capacity to handle bigger challenges. Let’s just call ’em that, you know, something that has happened today. If it had happened. 10 years ago, I probably would’ve ran the other way and gotten a corporate job and have [00:10:00] would’ve been done with it, you know? And so that’s the interesting thing.

That’s the double edged sword is that I think the challenges get harder, but your capacity to handle it, know, you know, you can do it. That also grows as you grow as a business owner. 

[00:10:15] Brandon Crumpton: At least ideally you would hope that that’s what happens. I 

[00:10:18] Julie Bee: think it has to happen cuz I think if it doest happen. Yeah. It, it, it would be hard to be a business owner that doesn’t have that expanding capacity.

I think that would be really hard to, to maintain probably just in general for people, but definitely 

[00:10:32] Brandon Crumpton: business owners. There are folks walking around yeah. Wondering why things happen in the way they are. Mm-hmm not recognizing that, you know, it’s, it’s not the. It’s you mm-hmm and sometimes people gotta gotta self-reflect and just figure out what’s the lesson in that everything doesn’t necessarily have to be negative or bad.

You know, you just find a lesson in that, learn from it and move on. 

[00:10:55] Julie Bee: It was really interesting. I was responding to a, like a [00:11:00] written interview request the other day. And there was a question that was, that was really digging into talking about failures. And I finally got to the point where I just said, if you learn a lesson from.

And you’re better for it. Was it really a failure? Yeah, like I just asked the question back, cuz I was, I was kind of tired of talking about failures and not success, but yeah. I wonder if you have that, do you have that mentality of, you know, if you learn a lesson from it, it’s, it’s actually. , you know, it’s not a failure, it’s something that you learned from, and it was a good thing.

Well, I mean, I mean, yeah, 


[00:11:33] Brandon Crumpton: joke around about being a business owner. Like it’s, you know, it’s just failing forward. Mm-hmm , you know, or it’s finding very creative ways to lose money. They’re just, again, they’re, they’re just all lessons in that. Mm-hmm , you know, I know we joke around and, and a lot of people say things like that, but, you know, so, you know, on the surface, it is true.

You know, none of us come out and none of us start this thing with a 100% map on exactly how to get it. Right. You know, we went, you [00:12:00] win some, you lose some, you make some mistakes and some things you just absolutely get. Right. And you just recognize when you could have done better and then be better. 

[00:12:09] Julie Bee: Does it?

You’re listening to, they don’t teach this in business school. And I’m the host, Julie B I’m here today with Brandon Crumpton, the president of key signature entertainment. Brandon, you were just talking about how to be better for, for business owners. And it’s, it’s so true that sometimes you just have to realize the problem as you.

And that’s, that’s a, that is a hard realization sometimes. Do, do you have any examples that you would be willing to share in your own business where you realize that and, and how you move forward from it? I think 

[00:12:44] Brandon Crumpton: I, I realized somewhere along the line that I was too honest and too trans. You’re the people in your business don’t need to know everything because honestly the only person assuming all the risk with the business is me.

Mm-hmm so honestly, by sharing some things, it kind of freaks them out and you know, [00:13:00] it, it, some I realize it’s not necessary, but some things I do need to just keep, you know, keep to myself and even in terms of decision making, you know, I, I, I do believe that if you. Bring your coworkers or your employees into the fold and making decisions.

It helps them believe in whatever it is you’re trying to do, but on the other side, if it goes wrong, it’s my problem, not theirs. And so recognizing the difference in that, that transparency, honesty thing that cohesive that, bringing everybody into the fold. But when it goes. It becomes my problem. So doing a better job of finding that balance for myself.

So that’s kind of, that was a epiphany 

[00:13:42] Julie Bee: for me. And that makes sense. I’ve, I’ve had that same experience. There, there is a line of. Well, I’ll say, I don’t know, maybe five years ago, there’s, there’s, there’s always this undercurrent of transparent leadership and being transparent and, and transparency, but [00:14:00] that does not mean you tell everybody everything.

And that does not mean you tell even your, even your leadership team, even you’re in key employee, every single thing you’re thinking about doing, and every single thing that you, you know, that you are worried about because they might freak out and that’s a hard lesson to learn. 

[00:14:18] Brandon Crumpton: Yeah. And not everybody is in a place to receive certain information.

Mm-hmm . And as the business owners, we don’t have a choice in the matter, in terms of what information we receive, whether we’re ready for it or not, we’ve gotta deal with it. But, but those that work with you and for you, they, they may not 

[00:14:39] Julie Bee: be. and that kind of leads me Brandon to another question. One thing you hear a lot.

And I, I mean, I think most business owners have experienced this is that it’s lonely at the top. And as a business owner, especially if you’re a business owner that doesn’t have a business partner, even sometimes then though, how do you, because if you’re not [00:15:00] talking to your key employees about everything and, and there’s only so much, you can.

Lean on your significant other for some things. Right. So how have you dealt with that loneliness at the top feeling? How have you found what what’s been the best way that you found to 

[00:15:13] Brandon Crumpton: deal with that I’ve been lucky enough to participate in different networking and education opportunities to find my tribe.

You know, to find other business owners that have the exact same issues that I do, even if we are doing different things in terms of services and products and that kind of thing, the issues are still the same. If you don’t mind, I’d like to share a story with you. Yeah, go ahead. So back in 2018, this program called the emerging leaders program with CPCC and SBA.

And finished the program about seven months ago and graduated from it. And then they invited me to come and evaluate the next class. And so during the presentation, this young lady business owner gave the presentation. We gave her some [00:16:00] feedback on, you know, what we thought was great about it and things that she should work on.

And she started to cry. And so thus us doing the evaluation was like, oh, I’m sorry. If we said something that might have, you know, hurt your feelings or rubbed you the wrong way. And she said, no, these are tears of joy. And we were like, well, explain. And she says, she’s always felt lonely in her business.

And that this was the first time she felt heard because she was on. A call with like, you know, a zoom call with folks that genuinely understood what she was going through. And it, it really hit her. And, and that, that experience hit me as well, because she was absolutely right when you are a business owner.

And then it depends on how long you’ve been in business. Mm-hmm , you know, you try to share things with folks that are, that, that are close to you and they just really don’t. They don’t. They just really don’t get it. And you really, really try to get them to understand, but unless they’re in your shoes, they really just don’t get it.

So you really do have to find others [00:17:00] that are, that are like you. And it’s not like you just go outside and ask around. It doesn’t work like that. So you gotta find those organizations and those educational opportunities surrounding yourself. And so like you Julie, with the 10 KSB program, that’s a huge. Network that we’re now in of folks that we can go, Hey, you know what, we need some re I need some resources.

This is what I’m going through. And there’s like 30 people who’ve already been through who can give you some advice and just kind of ease, ease your 

[00:17:27] Julie Bee: mind. Yeah. And it takes a lot of. Effort to find the right group. You know, there are a lot of groups and the right group for you may not be the right group for me.

And I think that once you find that group, you really hang onto it. Cuz that loneliness that you get as a business owner, it just, comes from exactly what you said. People just don’t unless they they’re in your shoes, they do not understand mm-hmm and. Your shoe, your shoe size changes too. You know, your struggles from year [00:18:00] one to three are different than your struggles from year, you know, five to 10 and so on and so forth.

So you have to. It’s awesome. When you can find a group or multiple groups of people who you can plug into and go and, and be vulnerable enough to ask for help when you need it. Yeah. I think the vulnerability part of that is key. You have to be willing to ask for help. Yeah. That’s, that’s tough 

[00:18:22] Brandon Crumpton: for us, isn’t it?

I mean, it takes a certain mindset to start your own business to begin with and it’s that independence and it’s sometimes that independence and some of us had to have that stubbornness. I am definitely one of them and we get it in our own. And we don’t, we don’t ask for the help that we need. I have done better at recognizing my strengths when I’m good at.

And then when I’m not, and then finding the folks that are good at those things, I 

[00:18:45] Julie Bee: think I realized when I got to that point, when I was able to, to answer questions, honestly, with, I actually, I don’t know the answer to that question. One, something that somebody probably expected me to know the answer to.

Now I have the expertise to go out [00:19:00] and figure out the. There was a time. I think business owners, a lot of business owners go through a time where they have to fake it till they make it kind of thing. Oh yeah. And that forces you to not be vulnerable. That’s almost, I mean, that’s the opposite of being vulnerable, but when you get to the point where you can be vulnerable, that’s really.

That’s a good, that’s a good, good feeling because then you can really get the help that you need. Mm-hmm well, listen, Brandon, man, I I’ve really enjoyed this conversation and I, I wanna ask you one more question. If you were to teach a class about being a business owner. To potential, you know, future business owners and or entrepreneurs.

What’s the one thing that you would really want them to learn from that class being, 

[00:19:42] Brandon Crumpton: recognizing the difference between how you feel and what’s actually happening. That’s something that you’re not gonna read in the book that’s gonna come from experience, but a lot of times we can get. So caught up in how we feel about a certain situation that we don’t strip down the [00:20:00] drama that may be associated with it, and look at the actual what’s actually happening.

And sometimes it’s not as bad as you think it is. And we tell ourselves stories to either reinforce what we feel or talk ourselves out of something. So, yeah, that’s what I would want. Some, somebody in a class that I was teaching to become away with that skill, being able to. Differentiate between their vision and reality, and then figuring out how far that gap 

[00:20:24] Julie Bee: is, and then figuring out how to close the gap.

[00:20:28] Brandon Crumpton: probably yep. That’s the next step. Yeah. Yeah. And if it’s, if it’s, hopefully it’s not that wide, but if it is, you’ve got some work to do. 

[00:20:35] Julie Bee: That is a very, very good, that’s a great piece of advice. I’m like, how, how do I need to do that? I’m already thinking about how I need to do that in my own head, because there are some things that I’ve told myself stories about this year.

that’s not reality. So I need to some of my own work there. Yeah, it was branded me. I’ve really enjoyed this conversation and I know that our listeners will as well. I just wanna thank you again for being on the show today. [00:21:00] Thanks for having. That’s it for this episode, but stay tuned because I’ll be back soon with more lessons learned on the business owners journey.

I’m Julie B and they don’t teach this in business school.