Musician and actor Alan Doyle had a simple message for St. John's Board of Trade members at their monthly luncheon Friday: always be ready.

"I learned the whole concept of readiness from a few people, like Russell Crowe," said Doyle. "The best actors in the world are the ones that are most prepared and I think that's true for most athletes and businesses."

Doyle said he and the other actors who played the Merry Men in Crowe's Hollywood blockbuster Robin Hood a few years back, got a chance to sing a shanty in the movie because he had a song prepared and ready to go as a scene was being shot. 

Doyle, the frontman for Great Big Sea, has become a frequent collaborator on music and acting projects with the Academy Award-winning actor. The two met during one of the band's gigs in Toronto several years back.

Great Big Sea recently celebrated 20 years in the music industry.

Played music at university

Doyle, along with Sean McCann, Bob Hallett and former bandmate Darrell Power, were friends who started playing music together while they were students at Memorial University.

Their energetic blend of traditional Newfoundland and pop music landed them a record deal in the early 1990s. They remain a popular concert draw across North America and Europe.

"Something I learned from Sean [McCann] and Bob [Hallett], you do whatever it takes," said Doyle.

These days, he has his hand in several areas of the entertainment industry.

"I am about 80 per cent finished writing a book and I filmed a movie called Winter's Tale, just before Christmas [2012]."

'You only work with people.' — Alan Doyle, musician and actor

Doyle said he's learned a lot about how to build a successful business. 

"Nobody works for you and you don't work for anybody," said Doyle. "You only work with people."

"It's one of the greatest lessons I have ever learned."