Their business really is a Circus.

Who doesn’t love a little Cirque du Soleil?

I remember the first time I saw “O” in Vegas (and yep, I said first time, because I’ve seen in multiple times).  I spent most of the evening with my mouth wide open, wondering how the $#&@ they came up with this stuff.  (I was actually lucky enough to dine with “O” Director Franco Dragone in Belgium a few years later and heard some of the amazing stories about how he did come up with that stuff – and it was one of the most inspiring dinners I’ve ever had).

Since then, Cirque has dominated the live entertainment world, and made more money than you can fit in a clown car.

Until recently.

In January, Cirque announced that they were laying off 400 people and closing 4 of their 19 productions around the world.

What happened?

Super rapid expansion, ballooning budgets, no/little outside investment, attempting to do shows outside of their sweet spot (Banana Shpeel anyone?) and a weak Canadian Dollar, etc. are just a few of the excuses I’ve heard about why Cirque has stumbled.

At the end of the day, they’re going to be just fine.  They still have their tentpole productions, and the quality of their product is still thrilling.

But there is no question they made some missteps.

So what can we learn from it?

Running a business ain’t just about launching a business.  Anyone can get something started.  But to get it to remain consistent over the long haul is the hard part.  They call it running a business for a reason.  It’s not walking a business.  You’ve got to run.

But to use another analogy . . . think of your business or your show like a marriage.  It’s actually easy to get married, right?  Two people.  City Hall.  And you’re done.

But if you want your marriage to work year after year after year, it’s going to take a heck of a lot of work . . . and a whole lot of love.


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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.