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5 Things Any Small Business Owner Can Learn From Prince

PRINCE, POP ICON AND SMALL BUSINESS OWNER – When Prince’s death was confirmed this afternoon, the country took to social media to mourn the passing of a visionary musician, artist and pop culture icon. And much like David Bowie, who passed earlier this year, Prince was also a shrewd independent business owner.

Prince’s career holds lessons for any small business owner, not just those in the music industry. Here are five things you can learn from Prince’s success in music and in business.

 

He Did It All

Not only did Prince play every instrument on his first five albums, he produced his own records. He sang, he danced, he wrote, he directed and acted. He ran a music studio and launched several record labels. He defined his own brand and used the internet to distribute his music directly to fans long before that became common. As a small business owner, you’re used to being a multitasker—you’re not just the boss and your own best employee, when needed you’re also a marketing director, sales manager and chief financial officer.

He Had An Ear for Talent

Talent burned bright around the Purple One. He discovered and nurtured artists from Apollonia and Vanity to Sheila E. and Carmen Electra. Talent is vital to the success of your small business as well. By nurturing talented employeesand developing relationships with peers and collaborators your business can benefit from new ideas and fresh perspectives.

He Was a Perfectionist

Prince scrapped entire albums because they didn’t meet his high standards or realize his creative vision. The Black Album was famously withdrawn (and physically recalled from record shops) a week before its scheduled release. As a small business owner, you’re the last line of defense for maintaining the high standards you set for yourself. Don’t compromise your vision when your reputation is on the line.

He Was An Independent Operator

Prince followed his intuition, redefining his career according to his creative impulses and his drive for commercial independence. He famously changed his name in 1993 in a contract dispute with Warner Bros. In the last years of his career, he kept pace with technology, using it to connect with and distribute his music directly to loyal fans and a younger generation of internet users. Your small business succeeds on similar terms. Without the backing of a major corporation, you need to find your own solutions, invent your own tactics and connect directly with your customers.

He Knew When to Reinvent Himself

Seemingly with each new album, Prince unveiled a new look and new sound, from the baroque fashion and funky rock of Purple Rain to the space-age R&B of Art Official Age. He even invented a new name—or rather, an unpronounceable symbol—for himself. You want customers to be able to pronounce the name of your business, but you can still learn from Prince’s ability to evolve with the times. You should periodically evaluate your product and service offerings, branding and marketing tactics to ensure that your business is up-to-date with trends in your industry.

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