What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Artists
It is an interesting mix that most people don’t realize exists; art and businesses have a lot in common. In fact, some authors have even declared that good business is the best form of art. Most business leaders have now realized the linkages that exist between successful artists and successful businessmen, and are now working backwards to try and identify the traits and characteristics that make some entrepreneurs succeed in business. A keen look at the cross-section of these traits offers some very interesting revelations.
1. An artist generally thrives on invention and to a large extent, re-invention. An artist creates things. Most, if not all, successful artists have a keen eye for finding something that is totally new in their environment and making something out of it, or otherwise, they tend to look at things differently; artists simply see dots and connections in places that other people don’t. Entrepreneurs also have to learn how to continuously re-invent their products, services or themselves so as not to be swept away by the competition. They must also be able to see opportunities where others see zilch.
2. An artist is generally described as being humane. They have a relatively sharp and discerning eye that they can use to detect and get in touch with human feelings like emotion, desires, needs, and wants. These are the cornerstones of a startup business. An entrepreneur should be able to bring to the market a product that satisfies the aforementioned requirements, and do so with a genuine human touch and concern so as to succeed in business.
3. Artists generally seek solutions to problems. They tend to offer these solutions in the best way they know how; either by painting, carving, drawing, singing, etc. They are thus active participants in the solution that they provide. As much as they may themselves take the backstage and let their art do the talking; they usually lead from the front when suggesting or implementing a solution. Entrepreneurs must also learn on how to work actively on their ideas, since having an idea alone will not let you succeed at anything.
4. Most artists will tell you that they are consistently learning. This is generally true for whatever form of art they may represent. Artists never stop learning, questioning and attempting to better a project, theme or item. A shrewd entrepreneur building a startup business is well advised to always keep an open mind and be ready to learn; either from bad or good experiences. Learning never stops, it only makes us better.
5. Artists are generally very gutsy individuals. They are highly intuitive and believe strongly in their instincts. These traits, if used well, can help one overcome insurmountable obstacles and instill very high levels of self-belief and confidence in an individual. Anyone striving to be an entrepreneur must strongly believe in the path they are pursuing, as it is usually dotted with a myriad of challenges and stumbling blocks.
6. Every artist thrives on visualizing their work. They create images and build the customary castles in the air. Artists visualize themselves succeeding, and usually take the path less trodden; they are highly driven individuals who stay very true to their vision. An entrepreneur must have a clear vision of what he wants to accomplish. It doesn’t necessarily mean that one has to know how exactly to get there; but the destination must be clearly identified.
7. Collaboration amongst artists is a key ingredient for success. A choir master, the lead of an orchestra, a lead architect, etc. cannot work alone and succeed. They must be able to work together and bring their cumulative skills to bear on a certain task or project, so as to ensure success. A good entrepreneur will quickly recognize the need to work together – either with employees or with partners so as to ensure that the business continues to grow.
8. Thriving on the unknown is another trait that the artists carry. The ability to wade through ambiguities and stand their ground usually keeps artists in good stead. Most artists in fact love scenarios or set ups that offer them a multiplicity of options, and which are closely intertwined and thus difficult to decipher; that’s why every piece of art can be read and translated differently. A startup business that has just been founded, irrespective of the amount of time and money spent on development and market research, is usually a step towards the unknown. An entrepreneur should be able to take that leap of faith, make decisive choices, and be ready for any outcome that would follow.
Photo Source: K. HUANG