Getting home, kicking your shoes off, cracking open a bag of cinema-style popcorn and sticking a film on is one of the best tried-and-tested ways of winding down after a busy day at the office. However if you pay closer attention, you will notice that there is actually a lot we can learn from our favourite fictional characters, especially when it comes to running a business.
It was popular primary school practice to sit in front of a children’s film jam-packed with life lessons and valuable morals and we probably do owe a lot to Mr Walt Disney for making us the well-rounded civilians we are today. Even as a fully-fledged adult running your own business, there is still a great deal you can take from your favourite films and we’ve pulled together three great examples to start you on your journey to entrepreneurial enlightenment.
007 (The James Bond series) – Aside from snappy dressing and how to escape a shower of bullets without realigning your bow tie, James Bond can teach us a lot about the need to cultivate a reliable and trustworthy workforce. No great hero is truly complete without a trusty team and the moral of the story here is to know and respect your limits and capitalise on the strengths of others accordingly. Even superheroes have bad days so it’s important that they have someone on their side in case of emergency.
Don’t wait for a state of emergency to enlist the help of outside forces though, business owner. Nobody is an expert in every single field so it’s good to expand your brand’s skillset by recruiting some faithful sidekicks. How many times have M, Q and Miss Moneypenny used their individual cunning to help 007 dodge a bullet? Bond would have been seen off in Goldfinger and Die Another Day would never have come to be, nevermind Skyfall, without the help of his trusty allies.
An honourable team of in-house employees or reliable outsourced bodies will also be on hand to keep your feet firmly planted on the ground. Just like the elusive Bond Girl, running your own business can tempt you into being seduced by the glitz and glamour and forget all about the nitty gritty, day-to-day obligations. Your workforce will be the weight you need to pull you back down to reality.
Mystique (X-Men) – Despite being renowned as an X-Men ‘baddie’ and foe to those fighting for the good, there is still a lot we can learn from this prolific supervillain who was most recently portrayed by Hollywood hot-shot, Jennifer Lawrence (pictured). With bright blue scales and snake-like eyes, you might be wondering where exactly entrepreneurs should be finding their inspiration but bear with us on this one.
This villainous power-woman is best known for her shapeshifting abilities, whereby she can mimic the appearance, voice and mannerisms of any person with pin-point precision. So while we’re not suggesting you take on the persona of a business bad guy or directly copy your competition, we are saying there is a great deal to admire in Mystique’s ability to evolve, reinvent and adapt herself to any given situation.
As a business owner, you should be redeveloping and reinventing your brand all the time in accordance with market advancements and changes in customer demand. You need to provide customers with what they want, take inspiration from what is working well for your competitors and stand out in a highly competitive marketplace so the ability to remould your business effectively is something you must prioritise.
Jordan Belfort (The Wolf of Wall Street) – For those of you who aren’t familiar with this film, the narrative is based on the true rags-to-riches story of a small town New Yorker who landed a job in the stockmarket and went on to built his own multi-million dollar empire from there. However, not quite the simple success story it may first seem, Jordan Belfort’s life of hedonistic debauchery, fuelled by his newfound wealth lead him into a world of crippling debt, pleading guilty to a number of crimes including fraud, and eventually losing it all. The moral of the story here, business owner, is that ‘Wolfy’ might have avoided his crushing demise had he acknowledged the paramount importance of budgeting and financial management.
When running your own business and fully enjoying what you do, it can be easy to lose track of the mundane facts and figures and instead get lost in what you could be mistaking as complete financial freedom. But if you want to make a success of your business then staying on top of your accounts and sticking religiously to a strict budget is absolutely vital. Enlisting the help of a qualified accountant is a great way to ensure you’re managing your finances adequately.
Whether you’re the CEO of a huge firm like Belfort’s Stratton Oakmont or an aspiring entrepreneur kick-starting your own small venture, budgeting is something you simply can’t scrimp on. Effective budgets and accurate bookkeeping allows you to stay in control of important finances such as fixed expenses (rent, wages), variable expenses (utilities, supplies) and one-off costs (business lunches). Doing this will help you gain insight into what you can and can’t afford because contrary to Belfort’s belief, money can’t always be considered as “fun coupons”.
You might also be interested in reading our blog post on how to avoid an envy-inspired killing spree when it comes to designing your business card, with a little help from American Psycho’s self-diagnosed sociopath, Patrick Bateman. Click here to read more on that.