Several years ago, I was flying to LA and, to pass time, had Forbes magazine to amuse me. There was this article about the top 100 entertainers that caught my attention. How much they earn, what they do to earn, and so on.

Do you know Siegfried and Roy? It’s a famous duo – two guys and a tiger – doing shows in Las Vegas. Anyway, Siegfried and Roy were on the list with $35 million. They were doing 8 shows a week, 42 weeks per year. When I read that, I thought, wow, that’s a lot of money, but it’s also a lot of work. A lot of doing the same thing over and over!

Then, further up on the list was the Blue Man Group. I forgot their ranking, but they were doing $69 million. Interestingly, they had 11 concurrent shows running in Las Vegas, Chicago, New York, Toronto, and Paris… all at once. And get this: the original guys who started the group didn’t even perform anymore! They had an army of blue men doing the shows while the founders were free to do whatever they wanted.

Completely different situation than Siegfried and Roy, right?

And it occurred to me that when you go to see Siegfried and Roy, you expect to see Siegfried and Roy. You don’t want to see two random guys and a tiger. You’d be disappointed if Siegfried and Roy weren’t there. But when you see the Blue Man Group, you don’t think about the guys behind blue masks. You know you’ll see an amazing show, and that’s all you care about.

Then, literally two months after I read that Forbes article, Roy of “Siegfried and Roy” got mauled by the tiger and… that was the end of it. Siegfried and Roy stopped performing. That got me thinking about the concept of “rich vs famous”. You see, the problem with Siegfried and Roy was that they weren’t scalable. They couldn’t just train somebody else and go on with the shows.

And you know why?

Because Siegfried and Roy were famous. Yes, they were rich too, but they’ve built their whole business around their brand, and, without them actively performing, they had nothing. On the other hand, the Blue Man Group founders are rich… and nobody knows who they are. They’ve built a SYSTEM around their business instead of a brand. And that system sets them free.

The Blue Man Group founders can “retire” and still have 11 (or more!) concurrent shows happening worldwide. Moreover, if a tiger decides to maul either of them, the business will survive.

Now, think about that for a moment…

When it comes to your business, you always have the choice of being rich vs being famous. You can certainly build your team around your personality and put all your efforts into your brand. But that comes with a price…

Forcing yourself to be the center of attention limits your ability to grow and expand. In other words, when you’re the face of it, the brand of it, the everything of it… you have to watch out for the tiger.

So, tell me…

What would happen to your business if you were mauled by a tiger tomorrow? 😉

For more on tiger-proofing your business, head over to the podcast.