Huffington Post Business blogger Tricia Fox posted a think-piece on the death of Amy Winehouse. Fox makes it clear from the start that she has no intention of "judging" Winehouse or "picking apart her chosen lifestyle." (Pro tip: You need an open mind to get ahead in the business world.) Rather, Fox's only intention is to highlight what you, the small business owner, can learn from her tragic demise at age 27.
[W]hether you are a pop star, a plumber or a business consultant, the same rules still apply: you are the product. [...]
But, like every fledgling, fast growing business, Amy lost control. Her "brand" became driven by her record company. Her "image" was tinkered with, and her relationship with the media resembled more of a cat and mouse game (where Amy was the mouse), than a strategically managed campaign. [...]
At first, she was talented enough to get by. Live performances, although slightly edgy, were strong enough to forgive the fact that she'd obviously had a few before she went on stage. But eventually, even this all proved too much for her adoring fans and just a few months ago, the quality of her performance was so poor she was booed off stage in Serbia.
What an astute and accurate interpretation of exactly what went wrong with the product called Amy Winehouse! They should just slap a cover on that paragraph and call it The Amy Winehouse Story: An Unauthorized Biography of a Small Business by Tricia Fox.
I'm sure it's extraordinarily clear to you at this point what lessons Winehouse's death has to teach us about running a small business, but for those among you who have a harder time grasping abstract concepts, keep reading:
There are so many parallels here in business. A young business starts well, and gets busy. The business owner frequently ignores their own health, swapping trips to the gym for an extra couple of hours in the office, eating takeaway dinners instead of healthy home cooked food, scrimping on sleep and generally running themselves into the ground.