Step into the spotlight! Because all business is show business

There’s a lot of noise out there! In today’s overcrowded market, success depends less on having an MBA and more on being a superstar; less on doing well at your job and more on capturing the most precious commodity of all — your market’s interest.

Your prospects are like someone with a remote control, flicking the channels to discover what’s on. You hope that it is you. Sometimes it can feel like you are stuck on channel 632.

The epiphany. I remember the moment it first hit me

I’d worked as a lawyer downtown for ten years. Dean’s List. Black robes. The whole thing. My mother was so proud. Until I decided to abandon it all and follow my dream of becoming a performer. My mother was predictably “supportive”–“Actress, schmactress! “But I did it anyway. The litigation attorney leaves the law to pursue the limelight. Get on a TV sitcom or do stand-up comedy. Release a CD that is on the top radio lists worldwide.

The Suits called me and asked if I would speak at their conference, consult on their marketing and coach them so they could stand out and be noticed. Why me? The ones who had MBAs and corner office jobs were those people. It clicked. I knew something that they didn’t. Here it is: Show business is all business!

Branding is more important than baking the best bagel. It’s all about getting people to queue up at the corner for your bagel. You have to grab and hold your audience’s interest. No business does this better than the show business.

The business of show business is to tell (and sell) stories. Star quality, or the ability to captivate and attract an audience, is the most valuable asset in show business. All these things apply to any business, but not everyone is aware.

Showbiz has a lot to teach business. It would be best to never step on stage with a bad script. How to deliver a spectacular performance. How to get yourself in the paper without robbing any banks. Before thinking about developing box-office appeal, you need to know your role.

Be your casting director

We’d rush to the school to find the cast list in the foyer. We would all rush to the front of the school and push each other to get a glimpse. Then we’d spend the morning asking, “What did you get?” I was thrilled to have been cast as Liesl in The Sound of Music and Yente for Fiddler on the Roof. I was crushed to hear that Anita from West Side Story would be a blonde… Didn’t they realize Anita should be a spunky brunette instead?

You don’t need to wait for the casting list to be released to know your business. You can be your casting director. Choose the role that you want to be in.

It would be best if you chose to stop auditioning in business. Stop molding yourself or your company to a role you believe customers want you to play. Instead, focus on the part that you want to be in.

Consider the following.

Batman or Robin, which would you rather be

You know Robin will never have his show. Stardom isn’t for everyone, but it can be an excellent reward for those willing to take risks. I’m talking “M&Ms-in-the-green-room” great. Why play a small part?

Would you like to be a Hershey’s bar or a truffle

Many businesses often overlook positioning. You’ve got to consider your position in the market. Al Pacino will never be seen sweating to oldies. Richard Simmons is not Gene Simmons. Ben Kingsley won’t ever face Will Ferrell in a casting. Different personas. Different brands.

Not all companies are as focused. You’d never mistake a Lamborghini for a Volvo.

“I am ready for my close up, Mr. DeMille”

Each actor in a film plays a single character. If you go to a Chamber of Commerce Networking Breakfast at 7:30 am, you will hear, “I wear two hats today.” I am a rocket scientist, and I also make gift baskets.

Many businesses do this. Is McDonald’s selling pizza? Would you go to McDonald’s if you wanted pizza? Two hats cannot be worn on the same head.

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