When you think of Kanye West, business acumen is probably not the first thing that springs to mind but with 21 million albums sold and over 100 million digital downloads, you will be forgiven for questioning if there is anything you can learn from Kanye West that can be applied to starting up your business.
1. Believe in yourself and your product
One of the fundamental rules of business is believing in your products and services. If you don’t, how can you expect a potential client will invest money and possibly time in you at the start? Kanye has been very vocal across his career about individuals and companies who doubted his ability and the music he was producing. Despite being turned down for a recording deal by Capitol Records at the early stage of his career, Kanye continued to believe in himself and the music he was producing.
“Now I could let these dream killers kill my self-esteem or use my arrogance as the steam to power my dreams” Last Call – Kanye West
2. Become a salesperson
Many view Kanye West as a good rapper and great producer but if there is one thing that no one else in the world can beat him at… selling shares of Kanye. Kanye West as a brand might not be your cup of tea but like Tetley, you know exactly what he and his brand is about.
When it comes to your brand during the early days when the phone never rings, you need to take the West route and shout it from the roof tops.
3. Network Network Network
Since releasing ‘The College Drop Out”, Kanye has worked with the widest range of musicians and artists who he could call upon at the drop of a hat. Putting aside Hip-Hop’s current heavyweights, Kanye has worked with Daft Punk, Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Mr Hudson, indie-folk band Bon Iver and probably the biggest musician alive, Sir Paul McCartney to name a few.
4. Learn from your mistakes
Known for the occasional faux pas, Kanye often shoots from the hip and it has landed him in trouble. This is something that you really want to avoid when facing tough decisions. Do not let emotions ruin any opportunities and when you make the odd mistake – there will be a few – take the opportunity to learn from them.
5. No risk, no reward
Yeezus, Red Octobers, G.O.O.D Music…. Love him or hate him, it’s hard to deny that West is one of the most influential names in the world right now. His journey from college dropout to business magnate highlights the old adage, no risk no reward. While there were highs, there was also 808s and Heartbreak, arguments with two presidents and that Taylor Swift moment.