Jazz Musicians Can Teach Entrepreneurs and Startups Some Lessons When Managing Finances


Because I’m involved in both the jazz and entrepreneur communities, I’ve noticed a lot of similarities between the two cultures. The following are some fundamental principles acquired by jazz musicians that may be applied to entrepreneurship and startup culture (and pretty much everything else!). If you think you need more money to finance your music business you can always visit Bridge Payday and see their loan offers.

It is the responsibility of each player to make their fellow musicians appear good. 

I was watching this amazing discussion between Bret Primack (Jazz Video Guy) and Jeff Garlin (renowned comedian) (from Curb Your Enthusiasm). They emphasized that each person’s job in jazz and improv comedy is to make their teammates appear fantastic. 

This is a powerful concept that, when applied to teams in any situation, has the potential actually to energize the greater total. Business environments are typically competitive, but the overall result is substantially stronger when each team member focuses on making the team seem reasonable.

It is critical to learn from the masters. 

There is a strong emphasis on learning from the greats who came before us in jazz — their approaches, tones, and problems. Similarly, you can often find biographies, educational, and lifestyle books written by or about some of the best brains in business on an entrepreneur’s valued bookcase. There is no replacement for studying the masters. The jazz community is a perfect example of this, and it is something that everyone can learn from.

Learn from your mistakes and keep moving forward. 

It’s difficult to hit the ideal notes or riffs when practicing 100 percent of the time. Similarly, one of the main foundations of corporate creativity is to make mistakes without fear. With the rise of startup culture came the concept that it’s okay to fail because every failure leads to the discovery of something new that does. Instead of breaking down in self-loathing and becoming unable to move forward when you play a mistake note, you learn from it and move on.

Experimentation leads to tremendous breakthroughs. 

With so much emphasis on teaching improvisation in jazz culture and education, I think it’s crucial to emphasize the importance of trying boldly in business. Understanding how important it is to attempt new things and innovate can assist the corporate community. 

This is one of the most crucial lessons to remember, especially as new products and services are praised in the marketplace, and futurist agencies have grown in prominence recently. 

This concept is prevalent in design thinking and user experience design domains, including the creation, testing, and improvement of prototypes (or samples). But I sincerely hope that this biased-towards-action mentality pervades all aspects of a business.

Everyone can be creative. 

Creative Confidence, by recognized entrepreneurs David and Tom Kelley, is one of the most empowering business books of 2015. They note how often they hear individuals declare that creativity is “not for them” and that creative thinking is reserved for graphic designers and other creative departments. Businesspeople are hesitant to engage in creative activities for fear of failing miserably. 

I like the idea of improvisation being fostered early and often in jazz. You don’t have to be a pro or ask permission to express yourself creatively, and you shouldn’t have to in business. At its best, creativity may assist a company in disrupting the marketplace and solving challenges in novel and long-term ways. At the very least, your job becomes a lot more enjoyable.

Mentorship is essential. 

Jazz’s “pay it forward” ethos is eerily similar to the corporate mentorship approach. 

Entrepreneurs encourage one another to locate mentors and make time and effort to teach others a priority. Last year, the film “Keep on Keepin’ on” pays tribute to Clark Terry’s mentoring of young musicians and the joy it offered to everyone involved. There is no substitute for the example set by someone at the top of their game, and getting their time and counsel is truly a gift.

Everyone should take turns demonstrating their greatest skills. 

When everyone has a turn soloing on their instrument, it’s my favorite part of a jazz show. 

As a strong believer in strength-based leadership, I believe this is one of the essential lessons jazz can teach corporate teams. Giving each member the chance to do what they do best strengthens the team, and audiences and customers alike can recognize and appreciate when a team is working to its strengths.

Jazz, like entrepreneurship, comes in a variety of forms. 

There are as many diverse entrepreneurship styles as there are different styles of jazz (swing, standards, bebop, ballad, funk, and so on). Becoming a solopreneur, launching an internet business, being an intrapreneur (innovating within an existing firm), and founding a startup are all ways to be empowered and enter the creative business world. It’s crucial to pick the one that best resonates with you, and don’t be hesitant to experiment with different alternatives.


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