7 Entrepreneurship Lessons from Music Mavens
The Bottom Line... Entrepreneurs can learn a ton from musicians.
Musicians are learning to tap into their skills to become better entrepreneurs. This is the message from Panos Panay who is heading up the newly created Berklee Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship. This is an initiative from the world famed Berklee College of Music.
Rise of the Creative Entrepreneurs
Creative entrepreneurs are on the rise. Last year Apple sold its 25 billionth song. Think about that for a moment. That is just the legal stuff. Music is now everywhere and available at all times. The challenge to date has been that most people engaged in the music world have yet to fully tap into their entrepreneurial skills. Panos, who built a company that booked nearly a million gigs is determined to unleash their full potential and to have other professions tap into their creative talent as well.
The 7 Lessons:
1. Good Listeners
As you can imagine, musicians are great listeners. To be a successful entrepreneur you need to be able to deeply listen to the needs of your clients and stakeholders. That’s how you get to the real deal.
2. Connect with Your Audience
The best musicians co-create with their audience. The know this is a shared experience. They create opportunities to wow their audience and their audiences’s passion for their music drives them to be ever better creatives and performers. The Lean Start-up culture understands this mindset. They embrace co-creating with their audience till they find the right product or service. Then they zero in on improving their work.
3. Failure is a Daily Routine
It’s Called Practice. Virtuosos are rarely born. They emerge by refining their raw talent through grinding practice. Day in and day out; they commit to work through new ideas and arrangements. Entrepreneurship calls for the same daily grind to get it right. Only then can great ideas turn into great performances.
Technical difficulties, bad weather or catching a cold. All of these can derail you. The best musicians are able to improvise. They know the show must go on.
In fact, they improvise in good as well as bad times. They take simple arrangements and build on them real time. The key is that they sync up with their partners and advance rain or shine. Entrepreneurs should do likewise. Sometimes you encounter what Art Gensler, the founder of the world’s largest design firm, calls an unanticipated opportunity in the most unlikely of places. Be prepared to go for it and improvise a possibility.
Musicians are always looking for ways to make their efforts original. Some build off old traditions, while others smash them to pieces and create entire new genres. This is the power of creativity. Entrepreneurship is about finding ways to constantly create new value. You might remix an old idea like Five Guys did with the burger joint or you might disrupt it all together with a place like Veggie Grill. The key is to apply creativity and to make something worthy of your audiences’s attention.
6. Story Telling
Music makes everything better. Just think about your experience at the movies, shops and even while playing video games. Music is part and parcel of the story telling. As an entrepreneur you must master the art of storytelling. You need to paint a compelling and vivid picture to investors, potential clients and employees to get their commitment and buy-in.
7. Embrace the Struggle
Horowitz calls it the Hard Thing about Hard Things. Making it in music is hard. I mean really hard. Well, the same is true for entrepreneurs. It takes tremendous grit and resilience to build a venture. You have to hustle constantly to get the next gig. Many times its not sexy, but it gets the product out there, it keeps the lights on and it enables you to find, nurture and eventually build you fan base.
In the true spirit of collaborating, Panos is opening up the doors and forging partnerships with some of the leading institutions in Boston. He is in discussions with his neighbors at MIT and Harvard.