Maverick Monday: The 7 Secret Business Lessons from Beyoncé’s Formation Video

7 Brilliant Bey Business Lessons

*Today’s Maverick Monday post is being brought to you by my alter ego, the Principal Attorney of “Creative Counselor at Law,” a Boutique Trademarks law, Branding, and Business law firm for creative entrepreneurs and business visionaries. Yep, The Bubbleista is also a lawyer.*

Bey Formation looking at camera

Unless you live in a cave in the Antarctic; have sequestered yourself from the entirety of civilization and become a hermit; or have gone completely off the grid {like that Little Caesar’s Pizza commercial} then you have at least by now heard of–if not already watched several times–Beyoncé’s “Formation” video that dropped out out nowhere on Saturday.

The spectacularly vivid imagery has already been lauded; criticized; misunderstood; and dissected a bajillion times already by a host of people, and rightfully so because, as Beyoncé herself says, “You know you dat b*itch/When you ’cause all this conversation.”

Well, can’t argue with that.

There are some analyses I agree with and some that I don’t, but what I think everyone can agree on is this: Beyoncé  is one bad *{shut yo’ mouth!}* Boss Business Mogul, and the Formation video is further {as if you needed it} proof positive of that fact. Yep, it’s official:

Beyoncé is my #BusinessBae

Just for good measure, why don’t you watch the video again before I delve into all this entrepreneurial lessons goodness. Be advised that this is the uncut, uncensored version, so if you have super delicate sensibilities don’t say you haven’t been warned.

You've been warned.

You’ve been warned.

That said, go ahead and watch it. No really, it’s fine. I’ll wait.

Don’t you just love a brilliant business minded woman? Me too!  That said, let’s jump into these 7 secret biz lessons Queen Bey is sharing with us through her latest video drop:

1.) Get In Formation

Perfect form.

Perfect form.

APROPOS “FORMATION” BEYISM: “I did not come to play with you h*es. I came to slay.”

Running a business can be fun, but it’s definitely not a game…Bey don’t play.

If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, Bey says stop playing around and get you sh*t together! Time to get your proverbial “ducks in a row” {in formation, no?} and lay the proper foundation to launch your business idea. Don’t know where to start? I’m not going to even rail at you about using that little-known information portal called “the internetsssss;” instead I’m going to make it easy by pointing you to the Pinterest Board “The Entrepreneur Mindset” that is loaded with a TON of articles that will guide you down the path to biz success.

Formation Definition

You say you’ve already launched your business? Excellent! But don’t get too busy patting yourself on the back if you’re operating on “business bootleg” status. You know what I mean: no business bank account; no “Doing Business As” filing; no accurate records and book keeping; no web presence; not operating under the proper business structure; etc.

Beyoncé is clearly about her business, and you should be too. Now’s the time to tie up those loose ends and rectify any shortcomings that can hinder your success. {Need help? Seasoned biz owners can benefit from that aforementoned Pinterest board too, so feel free to click away.}

2.) Get in Formation = Get {In + formation} = Get Information

Reading is fundamental...for your business.

Reading is fundamental…for your business.

APROPOS “FORMATION” BEYISM: “I just might be a Black Bill Gates in the makin’.”

Smart entrepreneurs know, realize, and understand that to stay on top of the game you have to commit to life-long learning. They constantly seek out knowledge about their industry;  stay on top of trends that affect their business; and investigate new technologies and methodologies to formulate strategies that will help advance their business.

When you think about Bill Gates, what adjectives come to mind? Innovator. Creative. Brilliant. Billionaire. Those 1st three descriptors can be directly attributed to learning. The more you learn the more creative, innovative, and brilliant you enable yourself to be. And I bet those 1st three descriptors have a connection to helping you become #4.

The consumption and processing of information is beneficial and pivotal to the life; health; and growth of every business.What happens if you don’t keep learning? You become stagnant; get left behind; and become irrelevant, and–just like in the world of celebrity–in business relevance is everything.

3.) Every next level requires a different you

Looks like the Queen has a brand new team.

Looks like the Queen has a brand new team.

APROPOS “FORMATION” BEYISM: “B*tch I’m back…by popular demand.”

I actually read that {brilliant} statement from friend of a friend on a Facebook post {heeeyyyy Jasmine Tran!}, and dang did its realness ring SUCH truth when it comes to business. In case you weren’t aware, Bey fired her entire management team recently–the team that had been with her for years. While some may look at it as a harsh thing to do, the truth of the matter is that no one ever said that being an entrepreneur would be all sprinkles, kittens, and rainbows–it’s a hard endeavor and many times the decisions that have to be made are too.

This team had a good run with her–a great one, in fact–but sometimes in order to ascend to higher levels of success you have to align yourself with people that have deeper, different, or more refined skills sets to help get you there. Now before you go on a tangent about loyalty, I’m almost certain they were not only well taken care of but also given handsome severance packages that will easily allot for taking a multi-month relaxing sabbatical without concern. Besides, when you have “I worked for Beyoncé” on your curriculum vitae, I’m sure you’ll have no issues with securing your next employment gig.

She’s got a new team in place now–one that includes the JPMorgan Chase marketing exec responsible for helping navigate the hugely successful  “On the Run” tour–and it’s this new team iteration that will be credited with pulling off  “Formation,” as well as the exponential next levels of ascension that Bey is surely plotting with her career.  I predict that she is about to take us on one helluva ride when it comes to what she’ll do next. Buckle up.

4.) Dream It, Work It, Own It

No matter how fanciful, imaginative, or outlandish your vision may be Bey says to go for it.

No matter how fanciful, imaginative, or outlandish your vision may be Bey says to go for it.

APROPOS “FORMATION” BEYISM: “I dream it, I work hard ’til I own it.”

You know that crazy idea that you’ve been ruminating over for a long time…the one that just won’t leave your mind alone…that bit of brilliance that keeps you up at night writing down plans for it…the one that everybody thinks is crazy…the one that nobody thinks will actually be successful?

Bey says you should totally go do it. Like right now.

“I dream it/I work hard ’til I own it” is one of my most favorite lines of lyrics from Formation. Mrs. Carter is telling us all to not limit the dreams we have for ourselves–and to not be afraid to dream out of the stratosphere!

Then, once we give ourselves permission to dream boldly and unapologetically, those same lyrics then tell us that we can accomplish whatever brilliance our mind conjures up. All we have to do is:

(1) put in the hard work and sweat equity [“I work hard“]


(2) persevere [“until“] despite what may seem like insurmountable challenges and obstacles


(3) to not stop at just achieving the dream but rather go the extra mile and push for the ultimate prize of fully owning what we create [“I own it“].

When Queen Bey sees something and wants it, she goes after it–and she goes hard, too. It’s spectacular behavior to emulate when you want to be a success in business.

5.) Southwest Airlines vs Red Lobster: Always Be Ready for Your Big Moment to Shine

Bey Formation tweet Collage

APROPOS “FORMATION” BEYISM: “Slay trick or you get eliminated.”

Red Lobster had the opportunity of a lifetime: an Internationally loved and renown entertainer actually gave them a huge shout out, mentioning them clearly and specifically by name, in the lyrics of a song  that was capturing the attention of M-I-L-L-I-O-N-S of human beings around the globe.

That one mention also had the capacity to generate millions of dollars worth of marketing  value, too. All they had to do was capitalize on it. So what did they do?

Fell flat on their face.

On the other hand Southwest Airlines, who was actually NOT specifically mentioned in the same song, was brilliant enough to recognize an ingenious opportunity to insert themselves into the spotlight that was being generated by the song’s popularity with the following lyric: “I got hot sauce in my bag. Swag.” Even better is that SWA jumped into the fray quickly, deftly, and with great tongue-in-cheek wit that showed them to be ahead of the curve when it comes to being current with pop culture.

The Twitterverse then began waiting excitedly for what they were sure would be an equally epic tweet from Red Lobster. And they waited…and waited…and waited. When Red Lobster fiiiinally did make commentary via a Tweet several hours later, they did so using a play on words quip that the Twitterverse had already been bouncing around for several hours prior to that–NO ORIGINALITY of their own. They promptly followed that tweet up with a 2nd, equally lame one to try to cover for making the 1st one. #EpicFail

Wait a minute…what’s that I hear? Oh, it’s the deafening silence in Red Lobster’s social media department as their business savvy cache plummets from a monumental missed opportunity.

Southwest Airlines–1      Red Lobster–0

There comes a time when we entrepreneurs have to make the shift from “getting ready” status to operating in a constant state of “being ready” because we never know when a profound, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shine may be dropped in our lap.

That means we need to have our media kits ready to send when requested; have our sites fresh and updated; be well-versed, knowledgeable {see lesson #2 above}, and au currant about our industries; make efforts to be innovative & creative in our industries; and be in tuned in to current events and pop culture. You never know when that call to do an interview; write a story; be a featured speaker at an event; lead a high-profile project; or be called on for your input as a tastemaker and authority will come your way.

In short, the best rule is a page taken out of the Boy Scouts’ manual: “Be prepared.”

6.) Beyonce is on “Mogul-Status” Level When it Comes Having A Trademark 

Bey Formation braids and car

Effortlessly combining high-end style + urban sensibilities has created the quintessential, trademark “Luxe from-the-neighborhood chick” flavor that Bey is known for.

APROPOS “FORMATION” BEYISM: “I go hard. Take what’s mine. I’m a star.”

You may be thinking that I’m talking about stuff like having a trademark style of doing things; a trademark look in attire; or a trademark walk even {you know Mrs. Carter has a certain strut that you can identify her by}, but what I’m really talking about something even more valuable: trademarks when it comes to intellectual property.

Beyoncé understands that having a trademark when it comes to business is invaluable because it allows you to control and mange your business (and subsequently influences your profits) but it’s also a means of wielding and leveraging business power.

Here’s the perfect example: did you notice that teeny tiny notification at the end of the video that read “Parkwood Entertainment.®?” That little, seemingly insignificant R inside the circle means that she has federally registered the name “Parkwood Entertainment” with the U S Patent & Trademark Office. But I’ll get back to that in a minute.

What’s important to note is that Parkwood Entertainment is the sole credit at the end. No major record labels {such as Columbia with her previous project}. No sponsors. No other corporate entities. Just her company, Parkwood Entertainment. With the act of forming and registering her company, she is sending a clear signal that she intends to be in full and complete control of her own business, career, and destiny.

Case in point: I bet whenever you see Parkwood Entertainment from now on you will immediately know that it is a Beyoncé production, and chances are high that you’ll be curious at the very least and possibly ecstatic at best to see what it is. That’s called business leverage, and she owes that in part to trademarking.

So let’s get back to this federal registration stuff. By federally registering a trademark for the name of her company, she is making sure that no one else can can capitalize on the brand that she is building. Even more interesting is that she not only registered the name for music-related services, but also for books; downloadable information; and television shows. Oh, and did I mention that she actually has an entire trademark portfolio comprised of dozens of trademarks for endeavors that she is connected to? The woman is building an empire, and you can too.

Want to know why trademarks are crucial to small businesses, too? Check this article out from a group of #bossbabes I admire, the crew behind lifestyle site The Everygirl. I used to be a Trademark Attorney with the US Patent & Trademark Office, so I love to see creatives and entrepreneurs give life to their visions and make that money while doing it.

Speaking of money…

7.) “Always Stay Gracious; Best Revenge is Yo’ Paper”

Focus on gettin' yo' money: the sweetest revenge is financial success.

Focus on gettin’ yo’ money: the sweetest revenge is financial success.

APROPOS “FORMATION” BEYISM: “I twirl on my haters.”

Bey said she ain’t remotely worried ’bout what none of y’all who don’t understand her vision got to say ’bout what she doin’ {a little bit of my own Texas Bama dialect for you there}.

In other words, you will always have detractors whenever you have a dream. ALWAYS. But so what? We have to accept early on in the entrepreneurial journey that not everybody is going to understand the dreams and goals you have for yourself because not everybody is supposed to take the journey to success with you. Some folks need to have their tickets revoked and be kicked off your train.

Mrs. Carter getting her "hater's twirl" on point.

Mrs. Carter getting her “hater’s twirl” on point.

You know the saying “Let your haters be your motivators?” Pfssshh, forget that! Bey says why waste any time or head space being concerned about your haters at. all. Focus that energy on building your business and building your bank account instead, and let the numbers {$$$$$$} do the talking for you.

Now who’s ready to get a new bag to put their hot sauce in?



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    This is so great! I especially love the comparison between Southwest’s and Red Lobster’s reactions. It really speaks to the importance of having a well trained AND PREPARED social media arm. Companies that are writing it off as a fad are truly missing out.

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