“I’m not a businessman. I’m a business, man.” - Jay-Z
In an industry where the shelf-life of singers is limited, Jay-Z has outdone most of his peers and has become a case-study. In the last two decades, he has accumulated wealth worth more than $450 million through his music and allied businesses.
Here are some key business lessons one can learn from Jay-Z
Dumb it down: Keep it simple
Communication, design, processes or a business proposition should be simple. The simpler your brand communication, the easier your audience will find your brand relatable.
Post his first album release (Reasonable Doubt), he realised that it attracted only a few true-blue hip-hop fans. In order to go mainstream, he had to dumb down his music, which was a turning point in his music career.
Multiply: Open up multiple revenue streams
Early on in his career, Jay-Z recognised the true potential of diversification. Although he didn’t attend any business school, he knew: more revenue streams = more money.
Jay-Z owned businesses: Roc-a-Fella Records, Rocawear, LiveNation.com, New Jersey Nets, 40/40 Club, The Spotted Pig, Carol’s Daughter, Decoded and brand partnerships with Budweiser, Coke, HP and Reebok.
Make it happen: Don’t wait for things to happen
Stop waiting on a VC to invest in your business or engineers to build your tech free of charge. Master the skill if that is all it takes. Don’t rely on other people’s nod or validation.
When top music labels denied Jay-Z, he started his own label.
Be bold: Don’t feel afraid to ‘ask’
If you’re afraid to ask, you probably won’t get ahead. Ask for advice, ask for collaborations, ask for leverage if you want to make money.
Go with your gut: Don’t rely on trends
Following a trend may not necessarily be a good long-term strategy.
At a time when auto-tune was in vogue and T-Pain (Rapper) was delivering hits, Jay-Z didn’t succumb to the pressure. He delivered a Grammy-winning album that was anything but auto-tuned and named it D.O.A. (Death Of Auto-Tune).
Accomplishing big dream starts with a vision. Without goals and vision, you won’t get far. Once you know where you want to reach, pursue your goals until you accomplish them. It’s that easy!
Jay-Z is not only one of the greatest musicians but one of the greatest entrepreneurs of his era.