How To Build A Business Like Oprah
Nearly 5,000 shows aired, Oprah Winfrey has made an exit at the right time closing the set down with an array of celebrities to end her final show to move on to even bigger and better things! She is one of the most successful women in daytime Television helping thousands in person and inspiring millions all over the world.
Having the utmost respect from world class celebrities such as President Obama, Tom Hanks, Beyonce’, Jamie Foxx, Will Smith and dozens more, you’d say Oprah knows her way around the business and entertainment world.
Here’s a few takeaways tips you can learn from Oprah’s international success.
1. Give back to your fans. Like any great brand, Oprah has made her fans feel valued. In her “Oprah’s Favorite Things” segment, Winfrey has given away everything from camcorders, to croissants, to cars. A good lesson to businesses that an unexpected surprise for your customers can go a long way to gaining loyalty.
2. Take risks and get attention. In 1988, Winfrey invited a group of neo-Nazis from California to Chicago to appear on her show. Although Winfrey later said she regretted the controversial decision, the move vaunted her into the national spotlight and showed her viewers that she was not afraid to take risks.
3. Find your calling. Oprah said in her final show that every day she walked on stage she felt that she was exactly where she was supposed to be. If you have no life plan, you are most likely following someone else’s agenda for your life. Live on purpose! Don’t be one of these entrepreneurs with an endless to do list, exhausted at the end of day– getting nowhere fast and not making any money. Oprah urged us to follow our own truth. God speaks to us though visions and dreams. Pay attention to what he is showing you about your destiny and build a business around that.
4. Explore new verticals. Winfrey started her career in 1983 with a gig hosting Chicago’s low-rated WLS-TV’s half-hour morning talk show, AM Chicago. Since then, Oprah has scaled her business into new media verticals including her eponymous TV show, O: The Oprah Magazine (which launched in 2000), the OWN television network (founded in 2011), as well as apps for both her magazine and TV show.
5. Know that you are worthy of success. Often times we know what we deserve, but the thing that keeps us from truly capturing it is internalizing that we are worthy of all God has for us in our lives and businesses.
6. Reveal your personal story. Some companies put up a shield to hide the entrepreneur from the brand: not Oprah. The talk show host has made a number of very personal revelations, most notably that she was sexually assaulted when she was nine. Though not every entrepreneur needs to share their entire life story, the message is clear: transparency between you and your business offers a sense of trust to your customers.
7. People show you who they are the first time. If a prospective customer approaches you, acting like an impossible nightmare, that is exactly who they are and how they will behave if you move forward in business. Do not allow your need for money or a contract force you to tolerate someone who does not value your professional expertise. You will never be paid enough money to make it worth it.
8. Get celebrities on your side. Besides the Oscars, few events have generated the number of celebrity appearances than Oprah’s surprise farewell. Part of Oprah’s ability to generate support from celebrities has been her tell-it-like-is style of interviewing on her show. “You have given me love, support, wisdom and, most of all, the truth,” Maria Shriver told Oprah during the farewell episode.
9. Oprah owned a broad niche. Oprah targeted a demographic that was women of all ages and income levels. She developed shows that would appeal to career women, working moms, stay-at-home mothers, grandmothers, retirees, high school and college students. And her audience was loyal because she helped them be better, live better, and find a correct fitting bra.
10. Become an influencer. Time magazine talked with Craig Garthwaite, a professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and a bona fide Oprah expert, about Oprah’s success at marketing. And just how big is her influence? “For example, the novel Anna Karenina sold 11,648 units in the 12 weeks before inclusion in the Book Club,” Garthwaite says. “In the 12 weeks following inclusion, Anna Karenina sold 643,122 units—a staggering increase of 5,421 percent.”
11. Know when to quit. After 25 years, Oprah finally decided it was time to call it quits to focus on her television network, OWN. The message is clear enough for entrepreneurs: don’t be afraid to end on a high note.
12. OWN your mistakes. In the wake of disappointing ratings at OWN, The Oprah Winfrey Network, Oprah’s latest venture in partnership with Discovery Networks, Oprah made a change at the top. Network head Christina Norman, abruptly left the 4-month-old cable channel at the beginning of May. How many of us wait until it’s too late to make changes in our businesses? Evaluate what is going on in your business and do not be afraid to change course if you need to.
13. Be willing to do what it takes. Oprah never missed a day of taping on her show in 25 years. She knew that showing up was the most important element in her success equation. Are you willing to do all that it takes to make your business a success? There is no such thing as overnight success.