Talent executive Mathew Knowles is widely praised for being the co-creator of one of the biggest living entertainers of our time, Beyoncé. With corporate business experience from working at Xerox and selling medical diagnostic equipment, the Alabama native took his group Destiny’s Child from the suburbs of Houston, Texas to the top of the world through dealings that have earned him a reputation as a tough negotiator.
Although Beyoncé, Kelly and Michelle have since found new management, Knowles is still the driving force in the careers of artists like Le’Andria Johnson, Juanita Bynum, and others.
Knowles just published a best-seller, “The DNA of Achievers: 10 Traits of Highly Successful Professionals” (Music World Publishing, 2015) which explores some of the things he learned about succeeding in the music business and how everyday people can apply that to achieving all of their goals in business and in life. WatchLOUD spoke with him about the book and he distilled some of the finer points into 5 easy to follow lessons.
1. Failure allows you to reorganize and try harder.
In the early 90’s, Knowles was starting to lose interest in selling medical diagnostic equipment. At the same time, Beyoncé and her then-group Girls Tyme lost on the televised talent competition “Star Search.” Knowles said as the girls dried their disappointed tears, host Ed McMahon told him the acts who won the show seemed to disappear. However, it was the people who lost that went home and refocused and retooled their acts to become successful. That conversation inspired Mathew to quit his job and manage the girls full time.
2. Mixing family and business can be profitable, but it is not guaranteed.
You’re probably thinking Knowles is only saying that because he made millions off of his megastar daughter. Hear him out, though. Plenty of successful artists and celebrities in other fields work with either their spouse or parent. Serena Williams is one of the greatest athletes of our time and she was coached by her father. Knowles challenges that notion because he says, “If you look at the percentage of the people who have reached incredible heights, you’d be surprised how many were managed by family. There have been the same amount of failures and successes with people who mixed family and business and the people who didn’t.”
3. Passion and work ethic will take you farther than you can imagine.
“They go hand in hand,” Mathew said of the qualities. “One can’t exist without the other. Showing the passion for your work will make your team work harder for you. They also need to see how hard you’re working towards the greater good of the team.” At one point or another, you’re going to be a part of a team. Make sure you carry your weight and look good doing it. People doing the opposite is why you hated them in college so much.
4. Building relationships is key.
Those who think they can win by doing everything themselves alway get the shock of a lifetime when they realize they’ve wound up in an area they don’t have expertise in. You will have to ask someone for advice, a second pair of eyes, or maybe an introduction to your next business deal. So get out there and get your squad in order. Knowles opines, “Building relationships is the same as building a team. It’s just spread out in different areas to work towards a common goal.”
5. Conventional ideas are boring. Think outside the box.
No great entrepreneur got to be successful by having the same run of the mill ideas. You must research your plan and make sure whatever you’re working on is a win for everybody involved. Mathew, who also teaches a business course at Texas Southern University, said most of his success comes from this philosophy. “I try to make sure any deal I’m working on is a win-win for everyone. As long as you have a plan and execute it accordingly, everything will work out.”