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Love him or hate him, Tyler Perry is not just a Black man; he’s a household name who has created an international brand in less than 20 years. A little over a week ago, I attended the White House’s Atlanta Urban Entrepreneurship Forum where the actor, producer, playwright and media mogul delivered the opening speech to a sea of would-be black and brown entrepreneurs, giving a candid account of his rise to success and journey from being virtually unknown to visibly renown. Between the Forum and Ebony magazine’s amazing cover story on the “$350 Million Dollar Man,” let’s just say Tyler Perry is my new inspiration.

Here are 5 business lessons I recently learned from my new mentor . . .in my head, that is.

1. Focus on one thing. We’re all blessed with unique, gifts, talents and abilities. You may be blessed with ten. The thing is you can’t focus on all ten at the same time and 1) Expect success or 2) Expect us to buy it. Perry encouraged one bewildered entrepreneur during the Q & A session to simply narrow her focus and master one thing, allowing that to become her feeder for future opportunities. He shared that television and the big screen were always a goal of his, but he created his niche and built his following around plays first. Let’s be real; No one trusts the woman who’s business card states that she’s a match-making relationship coach who sells real estate and braids hair on the weekends. Even if you can do all of those things, choose what you want to be known for and roll with it. Let all of your other hidden talents come out once a relationship is built – not on your business card. We, the general public, won’t take you or your business sensibilities seriously.

2. Learn the gift of good-bye. Know up front that people will come and go on the journey to success and that is their job. Perry calls them boosters. Some people are only there to help get your rocket off the ground. Once you’ve launched, it may be time for a few folk to fall off. Everyone can’t handle where God is taking you and that’s okay. You just have to be willing to accept that some people come into our lives for a reason and a season. When their time is up, we have to be content with letting them go. If they are leaving to pursue their own thing, let them go and wish them the best of luck. If you have to kick them to the curb for being underhanded, let them go and wish them the best of luck. Either way it goes, understand the gift of good-bye and just let them go. Business will thrive once you do.


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