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Entrepreneurial Business Growth? Start a Band


black and white photograph of rock band instruments
Photo by Caleb George on Unsplash

The Rolling Stones (Mick Jagger/Keith Richards) may be unlikely models for entrepreneurial business archetypes, but those who understand that creativity is a strategy will perk up and queue, “Start Me Up” and “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking?”


While driving to and from the airport, a provocative story was teased: Creative business advice from a rock band? As a prompt, creativity is the ability to hold two unrelated ideas at the same time and find an intersection. Senior economics contributor and resident Rolling Stones superfan Chris Farrell, made the case on NPR’s Marketplace,

“So like most talented people with a shared passion who get together to start a business, a software company, a media company, they had no idea how big it was going to get. During his interview, Richards says, you know, the Stones wanted to be the best blues band in London. Jagger says no, pop band.”

By finding the intersection between Jagger’s creative inclinations and Richards' passions, the Rolling Stones became the most successful band of all time. Over almost seven decades Jagger and Richards have owned their roles and stood true to their original entrepreneurial passions. Jagger stepped into driving the global brand and representing the interests of the band, and Richards never let the band lose sight of their musical footing or their “secret sauce.” One is the business enterprise driver and the other is the heart and soul of why the Stones exist. Rabid fandom happened when both enterprise and authentic heart/soul met. In my TAPE Framework we find that in the growth type called Activator: Audacious + Authentic.


As a Creativity and Growth executive coach, I ask often ask leaders and businesses the following questions:

  • So if your start-up, business, or enterprise was a band, what band would you be?

  • Who is your lead singer(s)?

  • Who keeps the beat and drives the tempo?

  • And who drives the melody and deserves a solo?

  • How do you use harmony?

  • How do you use disruption and/or minor keys?

  • Who are your fans?

  • What does "going platinum" mean to you?

  • How will you not be a "one-hit wonder"?

Even if you are a solo artist, you can’t do it all yourself. You need back up, post production, distribution, and promotion. Creatively, you need archetypes (contractors, vendors, etc.) that represent different skill sets that when brought together with yours, something happens that is bigger and better than you could do alone. And frankly, Jagger and Richards are only half of the story. There’s Charlie Watson and Ronnie Wood, reminding us that center stage isn’t all the stage.


You can learn more about all the founding members of the Rolling Stones in a new four-part documentary, “My Life as a Rolling Stone,” by the television network Epix.


And you can learn more about me and how I help leaders and businesses here.


Break the Tape Leadership helps leaders unleash creativity and potential in themselves and the organizations they lead to generate meaningful momentum.

© 2022 Break the Tape LLC


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