Have you ever watched a magic show and thought to yourself ‘there’s no way that’s possible.’ Then before your very eyes the impossible is made possible time after time. Have you ever seen a magician wave his hand and say “This is where the magic is happening” whereas, the real trick is happening somewhere else? Misdirection.
It’s a lot like what great entrepreneurs do on a recurring basis. Harry Houdini was once lowered head first into a glass tank filled with water with his feet manacled. After dropping into the water via pulleys, the top of the tank was secured, a drape thrown over the glass, and Houdini had two minutes to escape. Just as in 1903, people doubted Wilbur and Orville Wright would get more than foot off the ground in their pursuit of flight. In the end the Wright brothers did the ‘impossible’ and flew, and Houdini ‘escaped’. Commonly, magicians and great entrepreneurs are expected to make the impossible happen.
IT DOESN’T MATTER WHERE YOU START
Harry Houdini – arguably the most famous name in the world of magic launched his career from a tent in 1894 and was met with little success. He finally gained notoriety for his feats of escape in 1899 (5 years later) when his act caught the attention of Martin Beck, an entertainment manager who got him booked at some of the best Vaudeville venues in the country, followed by a tour of Europe. Houdini’s feats would involve the local police, who would strip search him, place him in shackles and lock him in their jails. The show was a huge sensation and he soon became the highest-paid performer in American Vaudeville and today his name is synonymous with the word magic.
Most entrepreneurs will tell you that the easiest but
scariest part of entrepreneurship is starting out – rattled by the fear of failure.
Great entrepreneurs push past it, not worrying how long it takes to reach ‘success’.
Great entrepreneurs understand that it’s better to try and fail than not to
have tried at all.
-Trust the wait. Embrace the uncertainty. Enjoy the beauty of becoming Mandy Hale
THINGS DON’T ALWAYS GO TO PLAN
While your ideas may not always pan out like you planned, don’t let this deter you from your goal, consider the story of out magician – Houdini. A small town in the British Isles built a new jail cell. They were quite proud of the quality of this particular jail cell. ‘Come give us a try,’ they said to Houdini, and he agreed. He walked into the prison cell, his chest brimming with confidence – after all, he had done this hundreds of times.
Houdini had secretly hid inside his belt a special lock pick he had designed. Once the cell was closed, Houdini took off his coat and began to work with his secret lock pick. But he discovered something was unusual about this particular lock. For 30 minutes he worked diligently and got nowhere. His confident expression soon disappeared. An hour passed and still, he had not been able to open the door. By now he was bathed in sweat and panting in exasperation, but he still could not pick the lock. After two hours of tireless work he literally collapsed against the door in exhaustion. The door then swung open, and to his astonishment he discovered it had never been locked in the first place! It was locked only in his mind.
This story resonates with every entrepreneur. Just as Houdini threw everything he had at trying to open the door, entrepreneurs do the same thing with a product and its target audience.
Entrepreneurs spin their wheels trying to find new channels to unlock explosive growth. It’s typically the most challenging and frustrating things to solve for. Sometimes you don’t need to reinvent the wheel, the solution is usually less complicated than think it is – and it might just change your plans. Unlike Houdini who literally collapsed in exhaustion trying to find a way to unlock the door with his pick, consider other solutions.
– no matter what you’re doing when things don’t go as planned you need to persevere –
A MAGICIAN EMBRACES INNOVATION
A cheap trick brought at a local magic shop can become
a miracle if a magician puts his personal, innovative touch on it. Thanks to popular
talent oriented TV shows we have the chance to see some of the most breath-taking
Nothing new in particular, but still breath-taking, why?
Because they’ve taken a cheap magic trick and made it awesome by adding an
innovative and personal touch to it.
Entrepreneurs have to embrace this mindset too, they need to constantly think about the future. Great entrepreneurs think about the next big product, they don’t just copy the most popular idea at the time. Do you think the iPad was the first tablet ever? No, it was the first time a company executed on how to give people a functional and easy to use tablet. By prioritising what users wanted, Apple was able to dominate the tablet market. The crucial aspect is prioritising the endless list of features and other things you have to maximiSe the effectiveness of what you’re doing. Staying ahead of the curve means nothing unless you’re doing things that will actually have positive impact.
-It’s not impossible just highly improbable-
A MAGICIAN ALWAYS PUTS THEIR AUDIENCE FIRST
Your customers are your priority. A magician’s goal it to entertain their audience while bringing about a sense of wonder. The means for accomplishing this goal involves the use of any combination of some tools including misdirection, psychology, sleight of hand and storytelling. They know that the only true measure of their performance is how loud the crowd cheers. If a magician does their job properly, the audience doesn’t feel tricked – they welcome the spectacle.
This same principle applies to entrepreneurs. Great
entrepreneurs always put their customers first, even if it’s not the most
profitable decision. It’s all about addressing their needs and making them happy.
– if you’re not making your audience or customer happy, then you simply won’t have one –
Drawing parallels between magicians and entrepreneurs
is not a hard thing to do. If you want to step up your entrepreneurship game, put
on a great show but also solve a problem.
A MAGICIAN PRACTICES AND MAKES PERFECT
-beginners practice until they can do it right once, professionals practice until they can’t do it wrong anymore –
This is true for magicians but not completely for
entrepreneurs – even with the different metrics, the idea is still the same. It’s
okay to make mistakes once in a while, many entrepreneurs attribute their
success to learning from failure. Failure isn’t your enemy – don’t let it stop
you. Failure builds character. If and when you fail remember to be mindful of
your customers and their reactions. Keep tabs on the feedback you receive – customers provide valuable and actionable insights.
– Failure is success in progress –
Great entrepreneurs and magicians are the same in a multitude of ways aside from making the impossible happen on a consistent basis. It’s their goal to create something to benefit their audience in some way.
A magician embraces showmanship and creativity in telling their stories. They stay multiple steps ahead of their audience, to deliver spectacular performances.
Entrepreneurs work hard to find a great product- market fit, they emphasise stories through their products, they choose their steps carefully based on data and they put their customers ahead.
In the end both magicians and great entrepreneurs make the world a uniquely better place.