2 business lessons we learn from Raven Symone

I do not watch much TV.  So, my memory of Raven Symone is of her playing the toddler Olivia on the Cosby show.  Yes, I am old enough to remember way back then.  But, she crossed my mind recently. Last month she was in the news quite a bit over whether she was gay or straight.  I thought – who cares?  I am more fascinated with her business savvy.

Raven Symone via Google Images c/o fanpop.com

via Google Images c/o fanpop.com

A few years ago, she was on the Mo’ Nique show and discussed her business enterprises.  She was only 24 years old and reportedly worth $400 Million.  Now, she is 27 years of age and there have been reports that she is worth about $40Million and Disney has earned $400 Million on merchandise carrying her image.  Very impressive!

Lesson #1

First, Raven Symone has nailed product and service diversification.  Raven’s enterprise has included:

  • Disney merchandise
  • TV shows
  • Movies
  • Cartoons
  • Songs
  • Clothes
  • Dolls
  • Pedigree Dog Sales
  • Public appearances

I’m sure there’s more…

All business owners can create multiple income streams by converting their products into services – eg training programs.  We can convert our services into products – eg lesson books.  We can put inspirational messages on Café Press store items and sell them.  We can also easily enter into radio and TV online with YouTube, Podcasts, and BlogTalk Radio.  We can also get on stage with speaking engagements.  We can become celebrities in our own, special way with very little expenditure.

Diversification can become overwhelming and get real messy, really fast.  The key is to be true to your brand and (1) roll out one new product or service at a time; (2) get market penetration; and then (3) roll out the next.

Lesson #2

When on the Mo’ Nique Show three years ago, Raven attributed her success to investing in a great team of professionals. This is the second business lesson we can learn from Raven.  She referred to her Business Manager, Lawyers, Strategists, and Stylists.

Well, all business owners can do this.  Right?

All too often, we work solo and try to wear all the hats.  Many small business owners convince themselves that they cannot afford to hire good help.  But, in fact, where there is a will, there is a way!

All business owners can surround themselves with a great team of supporters.  We can first look to our existing network of trusted friends and family members and hand pick people with business management, legal, business strategy, and image savvy.  We can then turn to these individuals for advice and assistance.  When it comes to compensation, we need to get creative.  Perhaps we can barter products and/or services.  Perhaps there are folks that are willing to volunteer.  There are also small business resource centers with staff that get paid by the federal and state government to assist small businesses.  There are also corporate and government mentor protégé programs in which you can tap into the professional expertise of your mentor firm.  The help is out there!

So, what more will you do in your business to (1) increase the diversity of products and services you offer?; and (2) surround yourself with the best professional support?


By Clovia Hamilton, President

Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.

Planning. Educational Support. Business Development. Community Outreach.



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Written by

Clovia Hamilton is an entrepreneur with 30 years of professional work experience as an adjunct biz law & ethics professor, university technology transfer specialist, engineer and planner. Clovia is a licensed patent attorney and completed an Executive MBA at Wesleyan College. Her next pursuit is a Phd in Mangt and she supports The Phd Project, American Association of University Women (AAUW), and Women in Public Policy (WIPP)! Clovia has trained hundreds of business owners since 1999 when she began to assist the Univ of IL in Champaign with faculty high tech start ups. She has also assisted hundreds of small biz owners by training them on how to get government grants and contracts.

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