Earlier this year Netflix and Hulu release a documentary on the Fyre Festival which was to take place in 2017 on a exotic island in the Bahamas. Fyre media founders Billy McFarland and Ja-Rule decided to have a lavish festival to launch their new app Fyre. In short the festival turned out to be a big disaster and was highlighted on social media and various news outlets. In watching the Netflix documentary Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened I found so many takeaways that any Entrepreneur can learn from. Here are my 10 Business lessons we can learn:
Have the right partnerships: Not every partnership is meant to be. You want to partner with the right person in business or for a project. You should choose wisely who you want to work with or do business with. Its best to screen and interview them as best as possible. Nothing is a guarantee but it’s best to do your due diligence. I truly feel Ja-Rule didn’t know the type of person he was getting into business with.
Under promise & Over deliver : Fyre Festival was pitched to be a dream destination with high end foods, villas etc and the event turned out to be nothing of the sorts. In business, if we give a customer more than what they asked for without sacrificing our bottom line, that customer will be grateful and find value in your business. Recently in using a restaurant to host a private event they provided a dessert spread I wasn’t expecting and utilization of the room for an additional hour.
Have the right people in the right role with the right authority to be successful: The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) for Fyre Festival had no experience with festivals. There was an employee of Fyre Media in charge of booking talent but has never done so before. The Production team hired had no control of the production. As you build your team, it’s important that you put people in the right positions and provide them with the tools and authority to be successful. Perhaps you don’t want to make someone cosigner on your business account, but provide them with purchasing power with your prior approval.
Power of celebrity: Influencers, maybe you have $250,000 to pay Kendall Jenner for an Instagram post but if not, who in your circle would be willing to make a post or speak on your business for free or for a small gift? Your circle of friends are your celebrity and influencers in their own right. All you have to do is ask.
Create Your Launch Strategy: Fyre Festival utilized influencers, celebrities, athletes, etc to post their curated Burnt Orange tile by 400 people around the world at the same time. Utilizing their hashtag #fyrefestival. This was genius. Going back to my Power of celebrity lesson, can you create a similar launch strategy with your business or product? Create a curated post. Ask 25-50 people from your celebrity circle and be ready for the influx.
Are you listening: On numerous occasions fellow organizers of Fyre Festival expressed issues on different concerns to Billy. He clearly didn’t listen and proceeded to move forward. Many times we hear things but we aren’t truly listening to our customers, client, business associates, etc. One consultant Keith specifically shared his concerns with living arrangements and bodily waste but was quickly phased out afterwards. It is important that when we hear things, listen, and know how to take in the information and ACT on it accordingly. We may not like everything we hear but it’s important to listen nonetheless.
Don’t promise what you can’t deliver: Fyre Festival promised those “Influencers” Free Private Villas to stay in. One only problem. They didn’t actually have these locations secured to provide. Sometimes in business we shake our heads yes to things so that we satisfy a customer. You should not agree to provide something you can not. Its better to be upfront and honest than to have a dissatisfied customer.
Have your go to person– Your team should have a rock star, a go to person, someone that will go above and beyond. Andy King was that person for Billy McFarland. Billy asked Andy the unquestionable of him in order to get cases of water released. You don’t need someone as dedicated as Andy but you get the picture. Someone who will give 110% will be a valuable asset to your business. In having a go to person you will feel more comfortable after delegation of a task that end result will be satisfying to your needs.
False advertising is Fraud: That is that. Period
Don’t mix personal and business expenses– One of they Fyre employees accumulated $150,000 in debt on his personal AMEX card utilizing it for Fyre expenses. As business owners you should set up completely separate business accounts and never have any employee utilize their personal credit cards for your business expenses.
Work with integrity: In business we should always operate on the up and up. The last thing you want to do is be a dishonest business owner. It will likely catch up to you in the end.
About Orane Williams
Orane Williams is an avid Entrepreneur, Speaker, Traveler, and Youth Advocate with a relentless entrepreneurial spirit. His ultimate vision is to empower, uplift, and educate our youth, whether it’s through finance education or motivating them to chase after their dreams unapologetically. Currently, he is the proud Founder of BrandU Motivations, LLC. He is also the co-author of the motivational book “Boys to Men: The Guide for African American Boys.” Most recently, Orane served as the opening speaker at the 2018 NABA Southern Regional Student Conference.
To learn more visit www.oranewilliams.com