Tag-Archive for ◊ entrepreneurs ◊

• Monday, December 16th, 2013

Five Valuable Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Beyoncé

Beyoncé's surprise CD release holds 5 valuable lessons for entrepreneurs. Photo Credit: Invision for Parkwood Entertainment

Whether or not you like Beyoncé or her music, she has proven, yet again, that she is at the top of her game and a stellar marketing magnate.  The singer stunned music industry insiders and her fans alike with her surprise fifth studio CD release with no fanfare last Friday, and in the process, has taught entrepreneurs five valuable lessons they can employ, whether they run empires, or are just getting started. The singer’s self-titled compilation enjoyed the highest sales of a debut on iTunes in the company’s history, with more than 600,000 units sold within three days of the release.

Innovation is key

Mrs. Carter has shown us how innovation – approaching situations, projects, and challenges with a fresh eye and a bit of creativity – can help unleash ideas
that, if they are good ones implemented at the right time, can propel businesses and brands to the next level of success, or awareness.

Being stagnant is no fun for those in charge of running a business. Ideas don’t flow, and frustration ensues. What we can learn from Beyoncé in her evolutionary approach to her career is that innovation never goes stale, no matter how established you are in your industry.

Know and Respect Your Brand

If you followed comments in the Twitterverse about Beyoncé’s CD release, many people – including her colleagues in entertainment – opined that she is the only established artist who could take such a nontraditional, yet aggressive, risk and succeed.

A huge part of the decision to use iTunes as the conduit for her new music, I assume, was greatly influenced by Beyoncé knowing and respecting her own brand. When you know that your product or service is one that appeals to your target audience, and your brand is appealing to your followers, customers, or constituency, it gives you latitude to explore creative ways to share new products or services. As the adage goes, confidence is key. If you are confident about your brand, others will often take you
seriously, even if your company is relatively unknown.

Risk Can Be Gratifying

Most of us are averse to extreme risk in growing or expanding business opportunities, or in some cases, decrease or redefine products or services offered. Taking a risk, after all, can mean lost revenue, staff reduction, or unfavorable feedback from customers or strategic alliances. As in financial investment, a certain level of risk is a necessary element in eventually reaping a big reward.

Even for an established artist like Beyoncé, a surprise CD release in a unique format was a very risky move, but she  has proven that taking chances, research, preparation, and a stellar work ethic combined are the hallmarks of a successful entrepreneur. Whether or not the the end result is a roaring success, such as getting your product in a store that typically wouldn’t carry it, or launching a social media campaign that nets thousands of loyal customers, risk can help reduce the fear that keeps business owners and company decision-makers from evolving.

Plus, taking a risk and assessing its impact can be helpful in determining if timing, resources, or staffing influenced the outcome. Then, use that data to
retool the risk and try again, hopefully, with more success if it doesn’t go according to plan the first time.

Don’t Be Consumed By Public Opinion

In an age where people can berate you on social media, it takes a tough person to ignore the comments, harsh criticism, and opinions and get on with it. Without uttering a word, Beyoncé has let the recording industry and the world know that she is not consumed by what critics, or even her own record label, think of her music, and ultimately, the songstress’ strategy for how she wanted to distribute her music.

Great ideas or novel concepts aren’t always understood or appreciated, even though our guts, research, or soft promotions have told us otherwise. Hearing objections to our ideas, or being criticized because the time isn’t right, people don’t get the concept, or the idea has never been done before by the company, can influence our courage to boldly make the move anyway.

Feedback is essential from customers, strategic alliances, and collaborators; however, if harsh criticism is the sole consideration in deciding whether or not to move forward with an idea, you may need to ignore the contrarians and implement it anyway. Who knows? It could be the next Facebook, Amazon.com, or Trader Joe’s.


Keep Your Mouth Shut

I can only imagine how hard it was for Beyoncé to keep this historic entertainment move a secret. Confidentiality agreements aside, this is probably my favorite lesson from the songstress.

How many entrepreneurs have had ideas hijacked by people because they talked too much about their plans before all of the details were
in place and established in a way that no other person could lay claim to the concept?

While Beyoncé may not have worried about competition as the primary reason for keeping mum about the visual concept CD, great ideas
implemented at the right time can mean a financial bonanza, or priceless media coverage. She will undoubtedly enjoy both as the momentum continues.

I am sure that other entertainers are taking notes and learning from Beyoncé’s innovative and creative approach to her career, which may
influence how digital music as a primary CD release platform is used in the future. Ultimately, Beyoncé’s fearless – and lucrative – move is a lesson for
all business owners to take notice of and create their own unique ways of promoting their brand, services, and products.


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• Friday, April 27th, 2012


Show sponsor: Career Connect USA

The Strategy Sessions Radio Show on Tuesday, May 1, 2012 11:00 a.m. ET

The Strategy Sessions is pleased to welcome guests Julie Kantor, NFTE, and Thurman Jones, Patriots Technology Training Center on May 1, 2012 to discuss what their organizations are doing to create opportunities for youth in the Washington, DC area.

Julie Kantor, NFTE

Julie Kantor, Executive Director of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship in Washington, DC, talks about the organization’s upcoming Dare to Dream Gala, which will recognize two youth honorees Khaled Khalifa and Jordan Brooks; veteran entrepreneur and CEO of iStrategyLabs Peter Corbett, and DC Teacher of the Year Maureen Naughton of Wakefield High School. Event supporters include E*TRADE, Microsoft: Geek to Chic, and Capital One Bank.

The show’s second guest, Thurman Jones, is the founder of Patriots Technology Training Center in Prince George’s County, MD, which will host their 15th Annual Youth Summit at Bowie State University. Jones will discuss the upcoming event, anticipated to draw almost 1,000 young people interested in STEM careers and sponsors such as Pepco, BAE Systems, and the United States Department of Defense.


Connect with The Strategy Sessions Radio Show

CALL-IN with questions: (347) 539-5143
EMAIL questions to talkback@ksgsc.com
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Click here to LISTEN LIVE TO THE SHOW ONLINE on Tuesday, 5/1 at 11:00 a.m. ET

Thurman Jones, Patriots

ABOUT THE STRATEGY SESSIONS Featuring industry leaders and notables who share tips and strategies on business, careers, travel, health, and more, The Strategy Sessions radio show airs live on the first and third Tuesdays of the month at 11am ET. Guests have included Robin Richards, CEO of Internships.com; Millicent West, Director of the DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency; Glen MacDonnell of AAA; David Sheppard, Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS; and, Dr. Valerie Wilson, Vice President of the National Urban League Policy Institute. Visit the site to download previous shows/podcasts on iTunes.

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• Friday, April 08th, 2011

Join us for The premiere networking event in DC!

Saturday, April 16, 2011
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.


M Street Bar and Grill
2033 M Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036
Get directions by car    Take METRO


Washington, DC business owners, networking mavens, federal government agency representatives, business
decision makers, nonprofit organization leaders, and YOU! 

$42.00 (includes registration, appetizer, main course, dessert, unlimited Champagne or Mimosas, tax, and gratuity)

To foster an intimate environment and maximize conversation, limited spaces are available.

Registration for this event is closed. 


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• Thursday, February 17th, 2011

The Hitachi Foundation Seeks Young Entrepreneurs Creating Opportunity for Low-wealth Individuals

The Hitachi Foundation reignited its search for young entrepreneurs whose business enterprises are creating economic opportunities for low-wealth individuals in America. The Foundation opened the application process for The Hitachi Foundation’s Yoshiyama Young Entrepreneurs Program, seeking to identify five entrepreneurs, awarding each $40,000 over two years, and providing technical resources to strengthen their business.

“Now in its second year, the Yoshiyama Young Entrepreneurs Program is a business competition with an important twist: we are looking for young entrepreneurs, wherever they may be, whatever their business may be, who have put social sustainability on par with financial sustainability,” said Dr. Bruce MacLaury, Chair of the Foundation. “The program allows us to learn from innovative, young business leaders about how to build and run a financially sustainable business that improves the lives of low-wealth individuals in this country.”

Eligible applicants must currently be at least 18 years old and no more than 29 years old when they launched their business. Businesses must be 1-5 years old, and have been generating revenue for at least the past 12 months. The award is open to businesses organized as either for profit or nonprofit, with an earned-income revenue model. Their enterprise must create jobs, supply goods or services, or use internal management practices that offer low-wealth individuals in America an opportunity to improve their economic mobility.

The first round application deadline is March 14, 2011.

In addition to the cash prize of $40,000 over two years, Yoshiyama Young Entrepreneurs will benefit from a partnership with Investors’ Circle (IC) (http://www.investorscircle.net) — a nonprofit membership organization whose mission is to catalyze the flow of investment to support entrepreneurs that address major social and environmental issues. Investors’ Circle will match an IC member mentor with each of the Yoshiyama Young Entrepreneurs, creating relationships based on entrepreneur needs and mentor expertise.

To learn more, get application materials, or view a short video featuring last year’s Yoshiyama Young Entrepreneurs, visit http://www.hitachifoundation.org or e-mail yoshiprogram@hitachifoundation.org with any questions.

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