As I rummaged through my files, I found a copy of a chapter titled "Definitions and Directions of the Theatre" from the book Theater in Cyberspace: Issues of Teaching, Acting, and Directing. The chapter provided a basic understanding of theater's evolution over the centuries. As I read the chapter, I couldn't help but think of comparing a theater production company with a startup company.
A theater company needs to find its audience, or it will fold. Similarly, a startup company needs a customer base to pay for its product or service, or else it will fold. This article does not define theater, far from it. Instead, this article will provide three things that startup founders can learn from a theater production company that can help their startup succeed.
It takes a Team
In theater, you can't run a successful production with just one person running the entire show. For the production to be successful, you, the playwright, the director, the technical designers, the actors, and most importantly, the audience. Similarly, the startup founder must have a team to make the startup successful.
The founder must have the numbers person, the salesperson, the IT/Developer person, the marketing person, and an assistant to help the company run. No legit investor will invest their money in a solopreneur; it's too risky, and who wants to bet on a one-person show? And the most critical thing the founder must have are customers for its' product or service.
Identify your Customers
When it comes to theater production, you can have the best actors and actresses in the world, but if you don't have an audience willing to come out and pay, the theater company will fold. Similarly, the startup will fold if it doesn’t not have a customer base to which to sell its products.
The startup company must identify its customers, exploit that particular market base, become its dominant solutions provider, and create its identity. A startup company must identify its customers.
Customers will Pay
Theater faces enormous challenges in getting people to attend productions. However, successful theaters know how much to charge because they have identified how their art addresses the issues and interests of their particular audience.
Similarly, a founder needs to understand the pains and needs their customer base is willing to pay for out of their wallet. The more in touch a founder is with the customer base, the more likely they are to charge a price that the customer is willing to pay, given that it solves a pain or a need.
Running a theater production company is not an easy task, nor is launching a startup. However, a startup founder can learn from a theater production company that it takes a team to run the show; you need to identify the customer base, and solving the customer's pains and needs will get them to open their wallets.
How will your startup begin its opening act?
Jay Fulgencio, Ph.D.
Entrepreneurship, Innovation , Creativity. www.jayphd18.com