Top-Shelf Tip No. 241:

"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life."

Prince, "Let’s Go Crazy"

Three Business Lessons From Prince

Throughout his life, singer-songwriter Prince was referred to as a "musical genius." He recorded 40 Billboard Hot 100 hits and penned hits for numerous other artists, including Stevie Nicks, Madonna and Alicia Keys. He released 40 albums, won seven Grammy Awards and two Academy Awards. In addition to being musically gifted, Prince was also a shrewd businessman, credited with a net worth of $300 million when he died.

Black Star Fund CEO Kwame Anku had the privilege to work with Prince, having spent time discussing life and business with him. Anku recently discussed the three most important business lessons that Prince taught him, which we'll share in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

Be prepared for plan A to be outrageously successful. We all create contingency plans to be prepared when things don't work out, but few plan for when things go well. As a contingency planner, Anku found this advice to be puzzling at first, but later, he said it was liberating. Anku stated, "Prince taught me that the mindset of someone preparing for great success differs from someone focusing largely on contingency plans." Instead of thinking to yourself, "If plan A doesn't work out, at least I'll have plan B," start thinking, "Plan A is going to be successful," and move forward from there.

Opportunity is always where people are afraid to go. Prince didn't take the path of least resistance. He once told Anku, after an intense discussion about direction in a music video, that when he works with new collaborators, he likes to put them in a tough situation to see how they handle it. Anku acknowledges the value in putting yourself in these positions. He said, "When you start off in the deep waters, in almost impossible conditions, it forces you to tap into a deep part of yourself-the part where your real power is."

Tech comes second. Prince believed that people hide behind technology instead of using it as a tool. This is a ubiquitous problem in America, and can be seen by the sheer amount of people texting while in class, driving, at work, out to dinner, during get-togethers, etc. At times, it can seem like people are glued to their devices. Anku says he has drawn from this lesson in seeking tech solutions that enhance the human experience instead of just replacing human function that claim to make our lives easier. Anku encapsulates Prince's belief by saying, "Technology should help us solve problems human can't solve instead of simply making things we already know how to do easier."

Source: Kwame Anku is the chairman and CEO of Black Star Fund, an early-stage innovation fund, a strategic growth advisor for Color Farm Media, an international speaker and one of Prince's self-proclaimed, biggest fans.

Compiled by Cassandra Johnson

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