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10+ Lessons from Vegas

7 min read

This month I attended the Accelerate Live Workshops in Las Vegas. We stayed at the Stratosphere Hotel where I learned I have no desire to jump from 855 feet, even with safety lines. I was also reminded that spending several days with other business owners exchanging ideas and discussing solutions to struggles is a great motivator and a fabulous networking opportunity.

One of the trip highlights was an evening at the Bellagio Hotel, where Tamara and I watched Cirque Du Soleil’s show “O”. It’s a spectacle that mixes humor, imagination, feats of physical strength and flexibility with music. Performances that began centuries ago on a circus stage, playing back up to animal tricks, were repurposed, re-imagined and rebuilt into a show that took my breath away. I was in awe that someone saw the potential in circus acts and developed them into something grander and more worthy of the training that was involved in their craft.

It led me to think about life and business. Are we being creative enough? Should we consider performing on a grander scale?

10 Lessons learned from Cirque Du Soleil:

  1. Create interesting packages. Package goods & services in ways that will thrill your buyers. Part of the allure of Cirque du Soleil’s show is the set design. It’s the same circus balancing and contortionist act repackaged in a visually stimulating environment. The set, costumes and masks are equally important to the performance.
  2. You’ll find the right staff/team. Set clear expectations and train specific skills if necessary.It’s difficult to find good people who have the skills required in your business. Cirque du Soleil’s staff has unusual and specific skills that involve precision timing and disciplined physical prowess, yet they’ve managed to fill not one but 1300 artist positions.
  3. Overcome hurdles. No matter how high the bar, creative thinking and a positive attitude will lead to a solution. The water performances in O create unique challenges. The costumes are replaced every 3-12 months because of the wear and tear by the chlorine. Every performer has a diving license and regulators are placed underwater allowing performers to breathe.
  4. Don’t be afraid of originality. Stop spending time trying to replicate others success, create your own interpretation.How did O’s designer decide to use a body of water in a theatrical performance? Not only is the show unique because fluid is a part of every scene but the water is a performer as well. As a matter of fact, it changes more often than the artists. The logistics of working with liquid, instilled constant awe in observation.
  5. Quality. Showmanship is not enough, deliver more than your customers expect.From the set, to costumes, to the caliber of performers, the entire O experience exuded quality. Judging by it’s long term run customers appreciate it and flock to experience the event.
  6. Justify Cost. Quality and uniqueness justify charging higher fees and there will be a willingness to pay if the buyer sees the value.
  7. Take the Time You Need. Take time to think things through before execution. It will save money, time and possible hardship in the future.With technology changing at light speed, it seems many have adopted the same timeline in all areas of life. Even though the show is visually fast paced, the executions are planned with precision and allow time to set up the physical feats.
  8. Be Safe. Expect the best but plan for the worst.The performance constantly takes the audiences breath away, right from the beginning when synchronized swimmers perform for long periods under water or when the trapeze artist is flying high above the stage. If you look closely, you realize there are air regulators under the water and safety lines or nets for the trapeze artists.
  9. Business & Pleasure. Do mix well. Cirque Du Soleil has made entertainment a 880 million dollar industry (annually) with 19 shows in over 271 cities. Mixing business with pleasure in Vegas at the Accelerate Live conference strengthened team and industry partnerships.
  10. Think big. Don’t limit yourself. Dream on a grand scale.
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