Eight Business Lessons from the Beatles on John Lennon’s 70th Birthday

On what would have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday, I wanted to pay homage to the Beatles today.

Anyone who knows me is well aware that I’ve loved the Beatles since I was a little girl. I know the lyrics to most every Beatles song, still spin their albums (yes vinyl LPs), and consider them a true inspiration. Of all the Beatles, I could relate most to John Lennon. I think you can learn a lot about people by asking if they were more into Paul or John. As much as I also love Paul McCartney, John holds a special place in my heart. He was the intellectual, the artist, and the one who was more interested in pushing boundaries than just making hit music. Whether or not that’s the reality, I’ll never know. But, this is my hunch.

Anyway, since I’m a business owner, and this blog is often about business-related topic, I thought that I would share how the Beatles inspire me in business. Yep, they really do. Here’s how:

Find Something You Love and Do It Better
The Beatles didn’t invent rock and roll. But, they were inspired by American rock legends like Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry. They took the music from these pioneers and put their own Liverpudlian spin on it. The outcome? It was an entirely new take on a genre which no one was expecting.

It’s hard to create a completely unique business concept, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be unique. Consider what you do, what you’re good at, what you like and then create a new idea from it that’s utterly different and reflective of you.

Have a Global Perspective
I don’t think John, Paul, George, and Ringo would have been content playing weddings and parties in Liverpool. They branched out early to London and Hamburg, Germany and then obviously worldwide while they were still in the early 20s. From there, they traveled to India and integrated the country’s musical influences into many songs, and still, to this day, maintain a worldwide fan base. They were amongst the earliest adopters of global perspective. Thank goodness they did, or we may have never heard of them!

Are you focused only on your local community? Why not reach out to other areas? Perhaps, you’ll be just as popular, or not more so, when you increase your exposure. And, the influences of others who are not in your immediate circle may change your perspective and challenge your thought processes enough to enable you to grow as a business owner.

Define Your Style
From their earliest days, the Beatles understood the value of presenting a unique image. From mop-top haircuts and lapel-less suits in the early years to Nehru jackets and beyond, they pushed the envelope when it came to their appearance, and it contributed to their overall success.

 Like it or not, we are all influenced or swayed by the visual appearance of others. While there arguably might have been better looking rock and roll bands than the Beatles, there were none that presented a more complete marketing package with both visuals and music.

Focus on Quality
The Beatles didn’t produce crap. They were always focused on creating good music, and it still sounds fresh 45 years later. While they had hits, I truly believe that their main objective was to always make songs that they felt were quality. In business, your goal should always be to create something you’re proud of, as well as something that pleases your customer.

It’s striking to hear the evolution of the Beatles from She Loves You to The Long and Winding Road – while taking all of the songs along the way into consideration. It’s even more striking to realize that all of these songs were created in a mere six year span of time. They never stuck to one recipe for making music. They grew as their fans did – and continued to be relevant throughout.

When you dismiss social media or say that you’re not interested in learning the technology that everyone is raving about, ask yourself if you’re evolving to keep up with the times. If you’re not, just remember how the Beatles adapted to change and became the most successful rock and roll band of all time by doing so.

Collaborate with Talented People
From George Martin and Brian Epstein to Ravi Shankar, Billy Preston, and even Phil Spector, the Beatles were never adverse to collaborating with other talented individuals. They had a knack for partnering with others who were talented and knew that there was power in working together.

Keep Working
The Beatles must have been incredible workaholics while together. They knew they were on a roll and kept churning out incredible hits until they broke up in 1970. Even after they split, they all continued to make great music. Work ethic is always the fundamental component of success. Whether you’re a musician or a software developer, you have to keep working no matter what.

Create the Unexpected
I particularly love listening to the White Album. The diversity in this album is absolutely incredible. From the beautiful melodies of Julia and Blackbird to the pounding beats of Helter Skelter and Revolution, it is truly unexpected. Your audience or customers are craving the unexpected – give it to them. They want to be wowed. Why not come up with some “out of the box” ideas like Revolution #9 and give them a little clue about the depth of your uniqueness.

And now, on to my favorite Beatles’ song that I think represents John Lennon the best – Tomorrow Never Knows. 


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2 responses to “Eight Business Lessons from the Beatles on John Lennon’s 70th Birthday

  1. Randy

    Great post about John, Paul, George, and Ringo!
    Tommorow Never Knows is #18 on the Rolling Stone Top 100 Beatles Songs. Great song.


  2. Great post Julie. I also love the Beatles and it’s exciting to see you take so many of their core attributes and show us how they can help to guide us professionally. Some people like to say that luck plays the major part in the success of many of our most iconic rock stars. Bah humbug I say. It is hard work, perseverance, unabashed talent and everything else you listed above.

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