3 Entrepreneurial Lessons from People You Hate to Love
Entrepreneur's New Year’s Guide
Kimye (Kim Kardashian and Kanye West), Justin Bieber and Donald Trump. What do these four people have in common? Whether you hate to love them or love to hate them, there’s no denying these celebrities are great at what they do and can teach us a thing or two about running a successful brand or business.
Here are three lessons learned from four people we can’t help but love:
1. Kim and Kayne make Kimye.
It seemed only fair to lump Kim Kardashian and Kanye West into one; they are, after all, a couple -- a couple we hate to love. Love them or hate them, Kim and Kanye are a power couple for a reason.
Individually, they are huge entrepreneurial successes, from clothing lines to multi-platinum albums. Together, they’re pretty much unstoppable.
Lesson learned: Combine and conquer. Kim and Kanye are a great example of what happens when two individually successful brands merge. When it comes to starting and running a business, know when to go it alone and when to partner with other brands. Some of the most sustainable startup successes are a result of strong partnerships.
Take Disney and Sphero, for example. In order to create the BB-8 droid we all know and love, Disney had to look outside of the company for help. That help was found in robotics startup Sphero. The two companies partnered to create BB-8 for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Disney got the droid they were looking for (see what I did there?), and Sphero received an investment of $120,000.
Not only do partnerships between companies, brands and people open an extraordinary amount of doors, they combine the strengths of both parties to breed innovation. The key here is to know when the company needs help and who can best provide that help. And, like Kim and Kanye, you have to stay true to the original brand.
2. There's nothing like the Bieb.
I love a good Justin Bieber song. But you don’t have to be a “Belieber” to know that the 22-year-old singer-songwriter is the definition of business success. Not only does everything he touch turn to multi-platinum, Bieber’s net worth is currently a whopping $200 million.
His run-ins with the law aside, Bieber knows what it takes to keep a brand and business alive and kicking. From his “Baby” days to his fourth studio album, Purpose, Bieber’s brand has grown and evolved as much as he has. And that kind of success doesn’t come naturally to a 13-year-old boy without the backing of an all-star team.
Lesson learned: Build the right team. While there’s no doubting Bieber’s talent and work ethic, he wouldn’t be where he is without the help of his team -- a team so great that Kanye West is entrusting his music career and clothing line to Scott "Scooter" Braun, the man responsible for Bieber's rise and return to fame.
The great thing about being an entrepreneur is you get to choose your team -- much in the same way that Braun chose to pursue Bieber after seeing a video of him singing on YouTube. Like Braun, use social media to find and connect with potential employees who embody the company’s mission and vision. After all, behind every great man or woman’s success is a team that won’t quit.
3. Then there's Donald Trump.
I love Donald Trump, so much so that I’m still hoping to have my picture taken with him even after getting dumped to the ground by Trump security once before.
Trump can do things no one else can. He can claim he’s going to build the great wall of Mexico, discuss the size of his appendages and trash talk the appearance of his female competitors better than any real housewife. Yet, he’s had a surprisingly successful presidential campaign so far.
Trump knows how to be his unadulterated self, and that’s a priceless skill in business. So how can entrepreneurs follow his lead, set their personalities free and run successful businesses?
Related: 5 Ways to Use the 'Trump Effect'
Lesson learned: Forget the haters. From fellow candidates and politicians to political analysts, celebrities and thought leaders, everyone loves to dish out some Trump hate -- and he ignores it all. But, by ignoring the haters, Trump’s created a loyal following. He doesn’t try to change the minds of those who condemn him. He knows he’s attracted a group of like-minded people, and that’s where he focuses his attention.
When business leaders and companies represent strong personalities and viewpoints, they will inevitably alienate some people. But, at the same time, they will attract similar people -- and this group should be a company’s target market and where they focus their attention.
Like Trump, don’t hold back out of fear of retribution. And don’t delay taking a product to market because it may not please everyone as is. It will never please everyone. Instead, stay true to the company’s brand and the values, personalities and goals it was built on, and let those things drive the company instead.