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More than a cheeseburger in paradise, here’s 3 business lessons from Jimmy Buffett

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(Photo: Viktor_Gladkov/iStock/Getty Images/Getty Images Plus)
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With the passing of Jimmy Buffett, I pondered his life and what it can teach us about the right and wrong way to build a business. Jimmy sings about working as little as humanly possible.

Life should be about beach bumming, drinking whenever and fooling around. And yet, Mr. Buffett passed away a very wealthy man after working exceedingly hard in life.

Here are three surprising business lessons from Jimmy himself:

1. Success is 1 percent inspiration

Surprisingly, Jimmy Buffet had only one Top 10 song.

We all know “Margaritaville”, it peaked at No. 8 in July 1977. But, he had a mind for business.

Buffet saw that he could do better than most musicians if he could control his own supply chain of music, products and spin-offs. He had built up a following (called parrot heads) and he realized that they wanted more than his concerts — they wanted to live his lifestyle.

2. Selling the lifestyle

Jimmy built a business empire selling food, drinks, products, merchandise and experiences all related to that “Margaritaville” lifestyle.

That was his big idea (the 1 percent). The rest was hard work (99 percent perspiration).

Based on the advice of business magnate Warren Buffett (no relation), he built a management team, but he could never let go of the details. He had become so diversified that only he could grasp the level of authenticity needed with every detail. He worked hard to keep it all going, but was that the best way?

3. Work/life balance

The term work/life balance became popular in the 1980s as hard-charging baby boomers recognized the need to slow down to enjoy life. Recently there has been a countertrend.

Today’s experts say there is no work/life balance, but rather work/life integration, where we fluidly go from work to play to work again.

As an entrepreneur, I fully grasp the meaning of a blended life. But it’s not enough. I propose we cycle back to how the early entrepreneurs pursued success.

My very successful grandfather would always implore us to work hard and play hard, but do them separately. I think he got it right. To enjoy your success, find time for the people who matter most, including yourself. But, like Jimmy Buffet, you have to find your own path.

Your challenge

Pick a business strategy that allows you to have a joyful life.

At my Summer Growth Summit, we dove into the inner workings of Mariani Landscape and saw that huge success requires a huge effort. There is no way around it.

The key is to keep your business streamlined enough to scale it and still have a life. Jimmy Buffett built an empire that only he could manage. Was that really the only way? Develop your vision, build your empire — but allow others to help you get there. We will miss you, Jimmy. I hope you find that lost shaker of salt!

More from Jeffrey Scott’s Summer Growth Summit:

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Jeffrey Scott

Jeffrey Scott

Jeffrey Scott, MBA, author, specializes in growth and profit maximization in the Green Industry. His expertise is rooted in personal success, growing his own company into a $10 million enterprise. Now, he facilitates the Leader’s Edge peer group for landscape business owners. To learn more visit GetTheLeadersEdge.com

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