“I’m as helpless as can be
I become a puppet on a string”
From Elvis Presley’s Song “Puppet on a String”
Last month it was 40 years since the death of the “King of Rock-n-Roll” Elvis Presley.
What has this to do with business?
Elvis died of a heart attack at the relatively young age of 42. Exemplified by his estate at Graceland, Elvis became known for a life of excess and luxury, owning three pink Cadillacs to a private jet. This lifestyle finally caught up with him. Combined with years of substance abuse and poor dietary habits which resulted in multiple ailments including glaucoma, high blood pressure, liver damage, and an enlarged colon, he went from a 1950-1960s sex symbol to an overweight unhealthy man who died a premature death almost bankrupt.
It is a sad story of decline through excess and poor choices and could parallel a business failing for similar reasons. For example, Kodak grew fat on a film based processing business model and despite inventing the digital camera filed for bankruptcy in 2012. However, there is another more positive lesson from the Elvis Presley story.
When Elvis died in 1977 he had less than a million dollars in his bank account and probably would have been bankrupt within a few years had he lived. However, in 2016 his estate earnt more than $US27 million ($A34 million) with total record sales heading towards 1.5 billion!
Was what is the lesson or message here?
Businesses must be able to continue to prosper and grow without the owner or CEO having to be working in the business. Like the words of the Elvis song “I became a puppet on a string’, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj3TrdM2ivQ) businesses should not be reliant only the owner or CEO.
The Elvis Presley business continued to grow significantly after his death.
What is the takeaway message of what I call the Elvis Business Model?
Have a business that can operate without you working in the business on a day to day basis. In other words, a business continuity plan.
What are you, as a business owner doing about creating a business that can operate without you on a daily basis?