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What Successful Business Ideas Can We Learn from Hamilton?

The recent success of the Broadway show “Hamilton” has even those who aren’t versed in the arts abuzz with excitement. The bio-musical about the founding fathers has won 11 Tony Awards, a Pulitzer Prize for drama, and a Grammy. Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda has created a show that is not only unique and entertaining, but he also applies several successful business ideas in his work. Want to employ effective leadership? Consider these smart business lessons from the creation of “Hamilton.”

The Value of Fresh Ideas

Too many people view history as dry and boring. Miranda took a story over two centuries old and breathed fresh life into it by relating it to some of the common struggles that Americans continue to face today. As a businessperson, just because an idea has been used before doesn’t mean that it can’t be re-invented and made successful once again. We’ve all seen how trends are cyclical and business ideas that don’t work with an audience at one point in time may be the perfect match with a few tweaks at a later date.

Speak to Your Audience

Aside from making history cool again, “Hamilton” is a roaring success because of the way that the story is told. Miranda has made a point of relating to his audience by speaking to them on several levels. Most of the musical is in hip-hop and R&B-inspired music. History is being told to a contemporary audience in a language that they immediately relate to. Also, the cast is very racially diverse, being made up almost entirely of minority performers. Again, Miranda writing a show about a nation of immigrants and casting the parts in an America as it appears today.

One of the most successful business ideas that can be taken away from this aspect of “Hamilton” is the notion of both identifying and speaking to your audience. It’s the ability to do this sort of thing that is one of the reasons that Miranda earned the “Genius Grant” from the MacArthur Foundation. An effective leader will take the time to understand and speak to their audience, guaranteeing the strongest connection.

Don’t be Afraid to Take Risks

Some of the most successful business ideas involve a level of risk-taking and “Hamilton” is no different. Let’s face it – Broadway is risky! In fact, as many as 75 to 80 percent of shows that hit Broadway lose money. Yet, there is no shortage of artists who are willing to take that risk to be the next “Hamilton”, “Wicked” or “The Lion King.” The same is true with some of the most successful business ideas of our time. Without some level of risk, where would we be — without solar power, personal computers, air travel, and yes – Facebook?

“Hamilton” isn’t your average musical because it wasn’t created by your average writer. Miranda employed some unique elements to his show that have proven to be a winning formula. Right now the show is sold out well into 2017, with tickets on the re-sale market bringing in upwards of $1,000 apiece. Any leader that understands the value of fresh ideas, relating to an audience, and taking risks can also realize incredible success in a business environment.