But Would Anyone Buy a Ticket?

Jackie Battenfield, 
Crabapple Blossom, 2018, 48 x 210in. 
Laminated Glass
MTA Arts & Transit, Avenue P, Brooklyn, New York, Permanent installation

When I was raising money for Broadway shows, I was approached by a LOT of creatives who would ask me to consider raising money for their project.

In many of these instances, these individuals would spend most of the meeting explaining to me how their show was a “surefire” hit and how if they just had more support they’d break through.

Now in some cases, they really did have something great, but more often than not, they had something that they thought was amazing and when I read it or saw it, I felt differently.

After a time I noticed an interesting pattern.

The people whose shows didn’t work for me were the ones who tried to sell me on their show the hardest and the people whose shows did work were the ones who didn’t try to sell me at all.

They were creating something that was bigger than them and answered the most important question for me:

Would anyone buy a ticket?

And in the world of entrepreneurship, we are challenged with the same question.

But just like most of those writers, I find that the wrong question is being answered.

I see so many entrepreneurs trying to sell people on what they do rather than just explaining what they do FOR their clients.

It’s a subtle distinction, but in my opinion, one that completely changes the game.

Just like those writers had to make a decision if they are making a show for themselves or for the audience, as entrepreneurs we have to face the question are we starting a business for us or for the people we plan to serve?

In short, it’s important to ask the question, “Would anyone buy a ticket if my business was a show?”

If the answer is No, then it’s time to reevaluate.

So take some time look at your work and ask if you’ve answered the question.

Because when you make your work about the audience, rather than about yourself, that’s when people come back again and again.


Artwork © Jackie Battenfield

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