What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Shakespeare
William Shakespeare — king-killer, gender-bender, master of pun — ran one of the most lucrative businesses in the British Isles. Playcraft. It is a miracle that he (or she if you believe certain theories) did not wind up hung by the neck for roasting the king on multiple occasions. But he made a pretty penny doing so. To understand Shakespeare’s attitude toward business, you merely have to look into his plays. He wasn’t big on the leadership at the time and he said much about ambition. Yet the overall themes prove quite useful in guiding a young entrepreneur in his path toward success.
1. Don’t Assume You Know All the Facts Before Making a Decision
When you’re young and in love and the world seems to be against you, you’re stupid. You may not realize there is a Friar meddling in the affairs of your family. You may not see his scheme to use you as a pawn.
When you first start out as an entrepreneur, you have all the force of passion found in Romeo and Juliet’s relationship. Instead of a woman, you’re in love with an idea. That idea is success.
Be careful. Your passion may blind you. You may not see those hidden fees attached to funding. You may not fully understand the contract you’re signing.
2. (Mis)Communication is Everything
I know what you’re thinking. Literally, every play in the history of mankind hinges on communication. And you’d be right.
But something about how the Bard crafted his narratives gave them the power to endure for 400 years. And there is much ado about communication in his plays.
In the play, Much Ado About Nothing, the characters understood how to wield (mis)communication effectively. Don John uses miscommunication to (attempt to) undo the marriage of Claudio and Hero. Hero’s father uses miscommunication to shame Claudio after he disgraces Hero. And Don Pedro and company use (mis)communication to convince Beatrice and Benedick they (love)don’t hate each other.
If you’re a wise leader in your newly minted company, you can use both communication and miscommunication to influence others. All truly successful entrepreneurs are masters of communication and influence.
3. Beware Hidden Influences
As you can see, Shakespeare creates characters wise and dumb in the ways of human emotion. Both Beatrice and Benedick in their hatred (love) for each other are mildly dumb in the ways of human emotion and thus easily susceptible to outside, hidden influences.
Don’t be Beatrice and Benedick when it comes to your business. The excitement of a new venture could make you blind to events, factors, or even malicious actors trying to take advantage of your emotions.
4. Always Fix Your Mistakes or Else
Don’t Puck up. But when you do, don’t Puck up again. Fix your mistakes the right way.
Oberon meant the love potion for Demetrius and not Lysander, but Puck couldn’t keep the two straight in his head. Oberon tried to rectify the mistake by giving Demetrius the love potion too and this created a true comedy of errors. Both characters fell in love with Helena and fought.
This is a comedy. Of course, Oberon fully rectifies the situation in the end.
Relying on others is a must in most business situations. Sometimes they will fail you. Perhaps they’ll mess up your SEO. Plan for this or even avoid it completely by hiring a reliable SEO company.
Don’t let other people’s messes become your messes. Plan ahead for eventualities.