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Prof Manzoor Iqbal Awan-S11-BU-BBA VII C-Comparative Management-Student Projects-23 May 11

Prof Manzoor Iqbal Awan-S11-BU-BBA VII C-Comparative Management-Student Projects-23 May 11

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Published by: Manzoor Awan on Jun 09, 2011
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DIED: APRIL 7, 1891







This is a success story of P. T. Barnum which will analyze in detail the business strategies in

different professions to lead at peak. His management style in every business to gather

people and earn his name. He started the grand traveling museum business which was a

circus business and he innovate this business and it’s now common in all over the world. This

study also show that what efforts have made by P. T. Barnum throughout his life to teach

people about different arts including acting, standup, music, autobiography and different

ways of amusement. This study also shows that what lesson we can learn from the business

life of P. T. Barnum and it also include the short conclusion that what we get from his life.


His business life is full of many professions which are discussed as follow:

Early Life & Career:

In his teen age, he started as a store keeper and he learned haggling to make sale. He was

involved with the first lottery mania in the United States. At the age of 19 he was running a

general store, a book auctioning trade and state wide lottery network. He also started a

weekly paper in 1829, The Herald of Freedom, in Danbury, Connecticut. In 1834 his lotteries

were banned in Connecticut and he sold his store and moved to New York City. In 1835 he

began as a showman there because emerging new ideas, strategic position and life style of

New York City.

Business Strategies:

After spending difficult three years he purchased Scudder’s American museum in 1841. He

applied his business strategies on his museum. Barnum changed the name “Barnum’s

American Museum” and he renovated the building. He created the attention of people by

adding light house lamp. He placed the flag along the roof’s edge to attract in day time. He

placed different paintings in windows of first floor. He added series of live acts including

albinos, giants, fat boys, jugglers, magician and famous battles were added to the exhibition.

In 1842, he introduced mermaid in his business named, “Feejee” to use as advertisement for

museum. Then he introduced the character “General Tomb Thumb” who was 4 year and the

boy was taught to intimate different people like Hercules to Napoleon. As a showman he


toured Europe especially in England. He and Tomb Thumb acted in front of Queen Victoria

and pleased them. He also visited Czar of Russia and acquired dozen’s of attraction. After

returning to New York he bought other museums. By the end of 1846, Barnum’s museum

was drawing 400,000 visitors a year.

In 1850, he engaged Jenny Lind “Swedish nightingale” to sing in America at $1000 a night

for 150 nights. The tour began with a concert at Castle Garden on September 11, 1850 and

was a major success. It four time increased his investment. After using Lind tour’s profits, he

changed the concept of theater and made it middle class entertainment. He built the city’s

largest and modern theater named “Modern Lecture Room”. He followed with historical

dramas, melodramas and watered down the Shakespeare plays. To promote family

entertainment he organized flower shows, beauty contests, dog shows and baby shows. In

1853, he started pictorial weekly newspaper Illustrated News. In 1868 he retired from

museum business.

Barnum did not enter the circus business until he was 61. In1871 he established "P. T.

Barnum's Grand Traveling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan & Hippodrome", a traveling circus,

menagerie and museum of "freaks", which by 1872 was billing itself as "The Greatest Show

on Earth”. Despite more fires, train disasters, and other setbacks, Barnum plowed ahead,

aided by circus professionals who ran the daily operations. He and Bailey split up again in

1885, but came back together in 1888 with the "Barnum & Bailey Greatest Show on Earth",

later “Barnum & Bailey Circus", which toured the world.

Barnum wrote several books for self promotions. It included Life of P. T. Barnum (1854),

The Humbugs of the World (1865), Struggles and Triumphs (1869), and The Art of Money-

Getting (1880). (Wikipedia)

Barnum served two terms in the Connecticut legislature in 1865 as a Republicanfor Fairfield.

With the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution over

slavery and African-American suffrage, Barnum spoke before the legislature and said, "A

human soul is not to be trifled with. It may inhabit the body of a Chinaman, a Turk, an Arab

or a Hottentots - it is still an immortal spirit!”(Wikipedia) As mayor of Bridgeport,

Connecticut he worked to improve the water supply, bring gas lighting to streets, and to

enforce liquor and prostitution laws. Barnum was instrumental in starting Bridgeport

Hospital, founded in 1878, and was its first president.


Barnum focused on your work what were you doing. This study showed the quotation of

Barnum from his book, “The Art of Money-Getting”. He said that “When a man’s undivided

attention is centered on one object,” he said, “his mind will constantly be suggesting

improvements of value, which would escape him if his brain were occupied by a dozen

different subjects at once.” (Peter Kass)


We should learn lesson from his life. First lesson is that promotion is your company’s best

punch. He just get promoted and become a best showman ever. He used to say that give

people more than their money’s worth. It was for this reason that people stayed loyal to him,

keeping his business afloat when others were sinking around him. He also gives this lesson

that invests your best capital in your customers. Barnum was a master promoter, but he knew

there was no advertising as valuable as word of mouth recommendations.


Benton, Joel. The Life of Phineas T. Barnum

Peter Krass. The Book of Business Wisdom: Classic Writings by the Legends of Commerce

and Industry




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