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Lessons From the Bard: How Shakespeare Would Run a Business

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Today Shakespeare is most well-known for his plays that spanned from comedies to tragedies including famous works like As You Like It, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hamlet, Macbeth and of course, Romeo & Juliet, yet he was also a businessman.

Shakespeare was a part of a London theater company, Lord Chamberlain's Men (later renamed the King's Men), which had the exclusive rights to perform his plays. The group later built its own theater, the renowned Globe Theatre, of which Shakespeare was also a part owner. With standing room close to the stage and stadium seating, the circular theater was said to hold several thousand and was arranged to be accessible to patrons of all classes.

Patrons grew to look forward to days when the plays would be performed. From advertising via color-coded flags to promotions to the trumpet sounding as the play was to begin, performance days were seen as a big event, experts say.

Entrepreneurs can take a page from the theater's book by doing anything and everything to get their product or service noticed. Today, that means making sure your business is prominent on social media sites, including Twitter, Facebook and Google+. It also means taking an active role in your local community (go ahead and sponsor that soccer team) and pitching your business story to local media.

>>>5 Best Business Lessons From Warren Buffett

Learn from failure

Another central theme running through Shakespeare's plays is learning from failure, says Jennifer Lee Magas, vice president of Magas Media Consultants and adjunct professor at Fairfield University, who teaches various professional and business writing courses.

"There are more failures than successes in the outcomes of Shakespeare's leaders mainly because we learn better from watching the struggles and defeats of others," Magas writes in an email.

Business owners can learn a lot from their failures, which hopefully inspire people to get it right the second (or third or fourth) time. "Consider how human beings learn through trial and error," she writes. "No one wants to befriend failure, but if we do, we certainly don't forget its visit anytime soon."
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