What Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Songwriters

One of my favorite new shows is Songland, which is a competition for songwriters to present their word for a famous star. There are three others, who have all written songs for major stars, such as Beyonce; the mentors work with them to make the songs better and then the star chooses the one they will sing and put on their next album.

Last night’s show featured Will.i.am. Watching the process was really phenomenal, as he – like other singers – give their input on the presented songs. But I saw some things that I see can relate to entrepreneurs and their business.

1. Just like any business, it starts with an idea and each songwriter’s song did the same; their stories were personal and related to the words and melody they wrote. Entrepreneurs need to start with an idea, that relates to their reasons for leaving a job and going out on their own – their ‘why.

2. Each of last night’s songwriters were young – one was 28 and the other three were 18 -21; each of their reasons was to change the world and make a difference. Entrepreneurs, from my experience, want to make a difference in the world, as well – it starts with a problem they want to solve and solutions to do so.  Being clear on their purpose, as these songwriters were, will lead to developing the programs and services that will solve a problem and change the lives of others.

3. Each of the songwriters knew that they were going to be presenting before Will.i.am – they knew their target and wrote their songs knowing the style he, and the Black Eyed Peas, sing so their songs reflected this, which definitely resonated with him. Entrepreneurs who know their target market, and their pain points, will have more success as they will be able to speak directly to them; they will be able to attract their ideal clients with little effort.

4. The creative process is so interesting to see unfold; while each of the writer’s songs were good, Will.i.am had ideas that morphed them into greater songs. Each songwriter worked with a mentor, who helped them rework their songs; each was very open to the feedback they received and doing what was needed to make their songs so good that it was chosen. Likewise, the idea that an entrepreneur has may change and grow over time. They recognize that they can’t do everything on their own, so hiring a team to help, as well as getting a coach or mentor, will help them grow their business faster.

I mentioned that there were four songwriters but only three were worked with; one will have Will.i.am record with him, as he liked that song so much. What was really spectacular was the end – Will.i.am decided to take three songs off of the album he was producing and add all of the songs to the new one. One of the songs was titled, “Be Nice,” which he released last night – check it out (the video  is great).

The next time you listen to a song, think of the person who wrote it and how their process can relate to you – it will make you appreciate the work you do and how you do it. (and check out the show – so good!).


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