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When it comes to being an entrepreneur, a lot of your influencers may be people who you've never met. Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk etc. Here are 5 people who's advice you should be taking - and they're not even real.
1. Harvey Specter: Suits
You always have more than two options:
Harvey: "What are your choices when someone puts a gun to your head?
Mike: What are you talking about? You do what they say or they shoot you.
Harvey: WRONG. You take the gun, or you pull out a bigger one. Or, you call their bluff. Or, you do any one of a hundred and forty six other things.”
Don't ever think your options are simply A or B. In business it can be easy to think that you have no other options other than the ones presented to you. If you think outside the box you can always find another way to do something. Let's say you need to buy some software for your business. The supplier says your budget is not high enough. Do you think your only options are to offer more money or walk away? Absolutely not, you can call their bluff and pretend to leave, you can offer their business a discount at yours, you can change the package you're buying. There's always more options.
Always have a back-up plan:
Batman has come up with a back-up plan to take down every member of the Justice League if they ever turned against them.
When starting your own business it can be difficult to always have a back-up plan. If you're a team of 1 or 2 what happens if someone is out sick on the day of a big meeting? What happens if there's no projector at the office where you're delivering the big pitch you've been creating on powerpoint for the last month? What do I do if I don't sell as many units as anticipated this year? These are the situations that you need to prepare for.
3. Don Draper: Mad Men
Customer retention is tough:
"The Day You Sign A Client Is The Day You Start Losing Them" - Don Draper.
Every business has customers. Whether you're selling a once off product, a subscription based service or anything else you're going to have to work to keep those customers. Many businesses focus on getting new and more customers rather than keeping the ones that they have happy. Think about a gym for example. They put out a lot of campaigns in January to get people to come join but they can't forget to make sure their current customers are happy. It actually takes a lot less work and will have more benefits in the long run.
4. Ian Malcolm: Jurrassic Park
Just because you can do it, doesn't mean you should.
"Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should" - Ian Malcolm
Let's say you've decided on a product that you want to sell. You find a supplier online for a good deal so you're ready to start selling. Stop, just because you can get this product doesn't mean you should. Do some market research first and figure out if anyone is actually interested in buying this product.
5. David Brent: The Office
People will make or break your business:
"What is the single most important thing for a company? Is it the building? Is it the stock? Is it the turnover? It's the people, investment in people" - David Brent
Shockingly, David Brent was actually speaking some sense on this one. At the end of the day the most important thing to your business is your staff. If you hire the wrong people, this can destory your business very quickly. Pick good people, keep them happy and you'll never have to worry. Invest in their development and help them grow so that they can help your business grow. One of the hardest things to accept can be when someone is not a good fit for your business and needs to be let go. If you find yourself in this situation maybe it's time to bite the bullet.
Who are some of your fictional or real inspirations? Let me know in the comments section below.