What Star Wars Can Teach You about Succeeding in Business
Another U.S. Memorial Day Weekend means another U.S.-made action-packed blockbuster in the movie theatres. And this year, that blockbuster was the latest flick from the Star Wars franchise!
There’s no denying the makers of Star Wars know how to put on a great space chase. But along with the fantastical feats and narrow escapes of the Millennium Falcon, Star Wars, in every one of its 18 incarnations (that number is the topic of some debate by true Star Wars officianados), also holds many lessons for small business leaders.
So, in honour of the release of Solo (essentially a story about a bro-mance between a man and a Wookie), here are five lessons from Star Wars that can help you succeed in business:
1. Create a winning team. One thing common to all Star Wars movies is the team of mismatched players that inevitably pull together to accomplish the impossible. In business, any effective team needs a diverse set of skills at the table. Whether it’s the talent and vision of the Jedi, the spunk of a princess or the brute strength of a Wookie, team members who have vastly different skills and can also work together will come out on top no matter what the situation. And while you’re at it…
2. Find a good pilot. The latest offering tells the backstory of Han Solo, shining a light on why it’s so important to find and keep the person most capable of steering your ship. Your business’s day-to-day operations may not always include escaping the Death Star, but it’s good to know the person at the helm has the skills (including equal parts courage and cool-headedness) to keep your business moving forward.
3. Don’t tarnish your brand with a poor hiring decision. Jar Jar Binks, we’re looking at you. Not only was Binks a poor choice to represent the planet of Naboo to the Galactic Senate in Star Wars: Episode 1 - Phantom Menace, Binks so annoyed movie viewers that he (it?) almost left a permanent black mark on the entire franchise. A bad hire can have a disproportionate affect on your reputation, especially if your business is quite small or very new. Tools like probation contracts can help you protect your business in the case of a disastrous employee.
4. Be careful who you’re indebted to . While probation contracts can protect you from bad hiring decisions, legal contracts can only go so far in protecting you from debtors who may not be as above board as they should be. Han Solo learned the hard way that doing business with Jabba the Hutt was not a great idea. You can avoid becoming a slave to criminally high interest rates (or fed to monsters) by reading the fine print or, even better, bringing in a legal opinion before you sign anything.
5. Stay top of mind for the long term. When the original Star Wars movie was released in 1977, no one thought that 40 years later it would continue to be a cultural phenomenon. Sure, the original was a big hit, but it could have been relegated to the archives had a new movie not popped up every few years with fresh storylines, additional characters, prequels, sequels, and marketing ideas (Light sabres! Princess Leia lunchboxes! Ewoks! And yes, even Jar Jar Binks dolls!) Star Wars is living on for generations because its makers continue to find new ways to create excitement (and make money.) Don’t be satisfied simply with satisfied customers. Create new ways to stay top of mind and keep your customers (and new customers) coming back for more. Stay relevant – and you will eventually turn your small business into an Empire!