Five business lessons from Kanye West

So with that in mind, let us come to five great lessons in business from Mr West - and a little expansion on each of them, courtesy of us.

1."one of the keys to leadership is doing what YOU believe is right ... for those who follow you"

Leadership doesn't work without self-belief - it's as simple as that. Yes, you need to listen to the opinions of those around you, but you also need to always present yourself as having utter confidence in what you're saying and doing. After all, if you don't seem sure about what you're doing, who else is going to put their faith in you? And that applies to staff as much as customers.

You also need to accommodate what your 'followers' want - that means employees as well as clients again. Keeping both of them happy makes for the smooth, efficient running of a business.


Right again. You can have all the orders in the world, but if you don't have the cash ready to fulfil them, you'll go out of business faster than you can say 'but the future looked good!'

Talk to your bank manager early on to negotiate an overdraft that will always be big enough to act as a buffer in cashflow crises, and watch this video on getting a bank loan as a start-up.

3."Make sure your accounts receivable are faster than your accounts payable"

This is again part of cashflow management. Enforce it by incentivising your customers to pay early (perhaps with small discounts), and chasing invoices diligently and doggedly (calling every couple of days is fair, and if they're late paying, calling a couple of times a day is fair).

On the flip side, pay your own invoices as late as possible. Yes, this is massively hypocritical, but if it protects your cashflow and therefore your survival, you need to swallow your principles and get on with it.

4."most businesses don't make it out of their first year"

Cold hard news, but also sadly accurate. In fact, five in six UK businesses fail in their first five years. At the risk of sounding more repetitive than a Kanye West background loop, bad cashflow management accounts for 40% of those failures. So heed the advice above to avoid it.

The other lesson here is that failure isn't rare - it's actually the norm. So if your business does fall down for whatever reason, don't give up trying. The mark of a great entrepreneur is being unphased by failure - they embrace it, learn from it, and move onto the next project without it letting their confidence drop. In fact, we're hard pushed to think of a single entrepreneur we know who hasn't had at least one failed business somewhere along the line. Try, try and try again.

5."My past arrogance has caused the failure of my past businesses .... be humble in your decision makin"

Well, this is completely true, albeit a little hard to believe from the mouth (or fingertips) of the man who but a day earlier tweeted 'it's good to be King lol!!' Lol indeed, Mr West, lol indeed.

However, hypocrisy aside, it is good to be humble. Business is not a solid thing - it's a constant flux of peaks and troughs, and if you get arrogant, you can bet your bottom dollar you'll be reminded of it on the way down. Humility is an attractive trait.

That doesn't mean underplay your achievements - you still need to blow your own trumpet and be confident to lure in good contacts. Just don't go around thinking you're the, er, king.



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