Business Lessons From FOX’s Empire For Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Fox’s hit drama, Empire, tells the story hip-hop artist and CEO of Empire Entertainment, Lucious Lyon, who has always ruled unchallenged. A medical diagnosis predicts he will be incapacitated in three years, which prompts the sharks to circle. Without further damaging his family, he must decide which of his three sons will take over. His favorite, young Hakeem, is a gifted musician but values fame over hard work. Middle son, Jamal, is talented and shy but gay — embarrassing to Lyon. The oldest, Andre, is business-minded but lacks charisma. 

EMPIRE: Lucious (Terrence Howard) toasts his family in the "Devil Quotes Scripture" episode airing Wednesday, Jan. 21 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. Pictured L-R: Jussie Smollett, Serayah McNeill, Taraji P. Henson, Bryshere Gray, Grace Gealey, Terrence Howard, Trai Byers and Kaitlin Doubleday.  ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Chuck Hodes/FOX
EMPIRE: Lucious (Terrence Howard) toasts his family in the “Devil Quotes Scripture” episode.

This exciting drama got renewed for Season 2 only in its 2nd episode and is the 1st TV soundtrack to debut at No. 1 on Billboard 200 chart since 2010.

1) Dont Make Misleading Promises

Really dad? Reaaaally?

Lucious Lyon kept his oldest son Andre Lyon under the impression that he, one day would take over the company. Using this as motivation Andre worked hard trying to prove his worth as future CEO of the company only to find out later Lucious only wants an ‘artist’ to take over the company. Andre is no singer or rapper, making him least suitable candidate in Lucious eyes. Andre feels betrayed and soon his feelings of resentment affect Empire. Same goes for Lucious’ treatment of his friend Bunkie and his ex-wife Cookie.

Make sure you don’t over promise your employees and partners just to get the better deal or make them work harder. They will figure out everything sooner or later and you will be in trouble.

2) Dont Take Success As A Given

Careful what you say on camera Hakeem!

As Hakeem Lyon does most of the series. As Lucious Lyon’s youngest and most talented son he was by default the ambassador of Empire. He was already a star even before he got officially launched and is the apple of his father’s eye. However his rash and irresponsible actions put his and Empire’s reputation on the line.

Always remember, your company will be judged by your actions and words in public and act accordingly. Choose employees and partners who are concerned and aware of their public image as well.

3) Embrace Diversity

Lucious Lyon wears shades after judging hoping it will save him from peoples's judging looks :P
The prejudiced Lucious Lyon wears shades hoping it will save him from peoples’s judging looks :P

Lucious’s homophobia results in him consciously overlooking one of his sons. He is too concerned that his community will never accept Jamaal for his sexuality and also reject his company when they find out. As a result he overlooks of the most level headed and musically in tune candidate as his successor.

Dont let your prejudices get in the way of your decision making. Reward and retain relevant talented people.

4) Take Immediate Action In A Crisis But Dont Let It Define You Or Your Company


Caught in the a middle of viral negative publicity Lucious Lyon immediately agrees to an interview on national news channel to clear the mess. He makes an apology where its due but takes the reign in the interview to make sure the incident does not define Empire.

In case of a crisis, think things through with a level head before making a public statement. Apologize where its due but don’t let yourself drown in the negative publicity. Know when and what to own up for.

5) Assign Appropriate People To The Appropriate Task


Though reluctant at first Lucious eventually chooses Cookie to handle certain clients based on her tenacity and personality, over the more polished and academically qualified Anita. However he fails to keep his personal grievances with Cookie out of business on certain occasions, leading to disasters later.

When assigning tasks consider whether the candidates have the right personality and mental preparedness for the job. Also don’t let your personal grudges get in the way of assigning the right job to the right employee.

Check out the trailer for Empire Season 1 below:


Mustafizur Rahman Khan