Business Is Art

Make a point of thinking like an artist to propel your business into the future
Javi at Contraste, Milan
August 1, 2023
Successful artists have always been disruptive. They’ve used their art to change the way we see, think and experience our world. I Won’t dance around but get straight to the point. There is no point in denying it, to thrive in today’s business realm, it is crucial for entrepreneurs to embrace this same artistic mentality and disruptive approach. As technological advancements create perpetual unpredictability, it is critical to take creative risks, question and challenge established norms, and courageously pursue changes that will make our world more pleasing, more honest, more beautiful, and less pointless.

The secret sauce for the entrepreneurs of today is to run their business as if it were art and as if they were artists

Art has the power to transform something utilitarian into a vessel of profound engagement, the same way Andy Warhol revolutionized the Campbell soup can. To this point, the essence of art can essentially serve as a catalyst in elevating an ordinary commodity to the status of a coveted gem.

Embracing the mindset of a “business artist” entails the ability to take a product or service and morph it into a more immersive experience that captivates consumers, turning them into lifelong enthusiasts and loyal patrons. This occurs when consumers are not only attracted to the product or service itself, but also to the emotions it invokes.

Points of inquiry include: How does our product or service make our customer feel? What sentiments do we aim to kindle in our customers? What emotions do we wish to avoid eliciting? The key for entrepreneurs is to first grasp and then wield a profound impact of creativity and emotion in every aspect of their brand. Their mission is to learn how to craft experiences, messages, narratives, and systems that embody the very essence of their artistic vision (and fundamental point).

Embrace disruption and transformation

“People often say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”
-Andy Warhol

Although regarded foremost as an artist, Warhol had a keen point in mind. He was a brilliant businessman. His disruptive approach was purposeful and crafted to change how we perceive, experience, and acquire art. Similarly, if entrepreneurs continuously explore ways to see and experience life through the lens of their product or service, they can cultivate a studio-like environment in which to breed innovations and visions capable of propelling their business into the future.

I’ll explain. Presently, Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Can is regarded as a multimillion-dollar masterpiece. When it was initially created, however, it was deemed an affront to the art world, and Warhol was seen as a charlatan. Undeterred though by the criticism, Warhol remained steadfastly confident in his ability to effect positive change. He pointedly persevered with his vision because he felt he was offering an idea—a point of view—through something society hadn’t yet realized it desired. He also intuited that, at some point, appreciation for it would grow immensely, and thus drive its price up significantly.

Customers today are co-collaborators of a company

“In the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”
-Andy Warhol

Last point. As anticipated by Warhol, virtually everyone has become a brand, possessing a voice and access to social media. Given this reality, entrepreneurial visionaries can acknowledge that consumers have evolved from mere product users to creators of content. An entrepreneur can tap into this collective creative desire to strengthen meaningful connections between their team and their customers. But this we (ought to) all know.

My point is, to point this out. Entrepreneurs of today, you must see yourselves as artists. You must make a point of crafting a captivating immersive canvas that entices consumers to repeatedly return, relish in and engage with your company’s feel-good message. It’s a simple mind-switch, from thinking like a businessman to thinking like an artist.

Unless you’re an actual artist, in which case you might think that “Making money is art, and working is art – and good business is the best art.” -Andy Warhol

May your inner Warhol shine through
Andy Warhol on TV by Carl Fischer, New York, 1976

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