Lessons of Business Success…From the Beastie Boys

As I was driving today, I heard a Beastie Boys song. Now, I’m a huge fan, and have been for a long time. I started to see some parallels between these rappers and small business owners. Here are the lessons I think we can all take from them.

1. Defy the Odds. Three Jewish white guys did not fit in with the hip hop demographic of the early 1980s. They weren’t even tough looking. But they didn’t let that stop them from making seven platinum or better albums over an 18-year period.

For those of you in industries that haven’t yet been saturated by competitors, you’re lucky. Yes, it’s scary, and tiresome to have to explain what it is you do over and over, but you’re a frontiersman. You can lead the future of this new industry, or your new take on an old one. Don’t be afraid to do what hasn’t been done before.

2. If It’s Not Working, Tweak It. The Beastie Boys originally started a punk rock group, but that wasn’t working for them. They experimented with hip hop and, well, the rest is music history.

Sometimes we get bogged down in what we think we should be doing, that we can’t see what we should be doing. That was the case with me and Egg a few years ago when I finally realized we needed to pull out of PR.

3. Once You Find the Magic Formula, Don’t Change It. If you listen to the Beastie Boys’ most recent album, it sounds like it could have been produced 30 years ago — in a good way. While there was a brief country music experiment, the group realized their hard-core fans didn’t want them to dabble in other forms of music. They wanted what they consider classic Beastie Boys.

Many entrepreneurs think we’ve got to constantly tweak what we’re doing to engage new customers. But consider your current customer base. How will you disrupt them if you keep changing the formula? Just look at New Coke as a cautionary tale.

4. Keep it Simple. The Beastie Boys aren’t known for their complex lyrics. A child could master delivery of them. Every line rhymes with the next. It’s simplistic and fans love it.

Why complicate things? I hate menus that have too many choices. Give your customers limited choices and they’ll be glad you’ve made the decision easier for them.

I know, the Beastie Boys are an unlikely source of entrepreneur inspiration, but I find it just about anywhere! Where do you find your inspiration?

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