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What They Didn’t Teach You In Business 101

What you do on stage, determines how you do in sales.

Here’s a POV: You’re about to log on to Zoom for the biggest investor/client pitch of your life and you really want to bag this one. It’s everything and more you’ve been working toward – endless whiteboard sessions, aligning on timelines, supply chain strategies, everything. Your objective? To win the business, expand to three more markets, and develop a fully-functional efficient production facility (one that isn’t your apartment). And before you know it, it’s over. You come out feeling skittish, kinda sweaty and anticipative to hear what the opposing side has to say about your work. You think you did just fine, and that you honed all of what you gained during those long hours of listening to podcasts, seminars and self-help books. Now, the investor gets back to you a few weeks later telling you that it’s going to be a no-go from them. 

What went wrong? You had the aptitude up there on the podium, but the grandstand wasn’t applauding. You had the checklist jotted out, but not the mentality. Just then, you recalled what your roommate from business school said one time about Prince – the awe-inspiring superstar whose career spanned 40+ years, and how he was booed off-stage when he opened for The Rolling Stones. So what do the long-maned, leopard print, bedazzled stars teach us about conducting a business? 

  1. Make, Manifest, Re-make. 

You’ve heard of the band called The Pectoralz? Probably not. What if we told you they’re better known as Coldplay today, led by frontman Chris Martin? Yep, they went through multiple rebranding phases too. Most startups today are unaware of what truly makes them unique, but moreover, in identifying that something isn’t just working out for them. There’s risk in every trade-off, but change is indeed salient in its own way. In order to show people your startup’s unique difference, you need to embrace the fact that not everyone will like it. It’s not rejection that’s the bane of every start-up, it is actually the indifference that kills. Indifference equates to being invisible, because it puts you in the same race as every other business. 

  1. Don’t let failures alter what you stand for. 

Imagine being Prince, opening for The Rolling Stones at the L.A colosseum in 1981, only to find out you’re booed on stage by a bunch of regressive, belligerent audience members while you stand there solemnly in your knee high, thigh-high boots and a see-through jacket. What followed after this awkward moment was the process of owning the eccentricity, making his career last longer. He didn’t crumble because he fell under the headliner’s shadow (“Up next, The Rolling Stones!”). He built what he already made, to last four long decades of blessing the world with great music. Stay rebellious, and stay on course with your eccentricities. Different is, and will always be cool. 

  1. Focus on your rhythm and beat. 

Most naturally, it is the music that finally speaks for itself. Your focus should be to create perfect harmony across all avenues of your organisation. Collaboration is to entrepreneurship what harmony is to Rock n’ Roll. When Freddie Mercury of Queen first pitched “We Will Rock You” to his band, his intention was to have the audience immersed, clap their thighs, hands and sing along. While some partnerships are four-member harmonies and some two, music still remains music. So no matter how small or large your lead management is, harmony happens when one takes care of the rhythm, and the other, the beat. It happens when different people’s skill sets work together to create something that surpasses individual abilities and expectations. 

Here at Kodo, we LOVE rebel startups. We love it when business owners go beyond to break the status quo. We love it when organizations are built to last. We love it when a Zoom call becomes a golden mic. We love when startups get on stage, and put on one hell of a show.



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