Star Wars: 10 Lessons for Small Business Owners
Have a great idea, secure capital to pursue, devote enough resources to marketing, and expand internationally.
By Rohit Arora, December 2015
As expected, the new Star Wars film, Star Wars: Episode VII--The Force Awakens proved to be big business at the box office. While the film series has been around for nearly 40 years and is a multi-million franchise, there are many lessons that small business owners can learn from it. Here are eight of them.
1. Have a Great Idea
George Lucas created a futuristic world that included knights, evil war lords, princesses and other Medieval themes. Star Wars introduced us to colorful characters that have endured for nearly four decades.
2. Embrace Technology
The use of visual effects in the original Star Wars film was groundbreaking. With each successive film in the series, the filmmaking became even more high tech. Embracing technology and continuing to innovate helped build a billion dollar franchise.
3. Learn from Mentors
Just as Luke Skywalker learned the ways of the Jedi from Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda, entrepreneurs should seek out older and wiser mentors who can lead them to a successful path.
4. Fathers and Sons May Clash in Family-Owned Businesses
Luke Skywalker and his father, Darth Vader, clashed throughout the original Star Wars films. Ultimately, they did not see eye-to-eye. Unless members of a family-owned business can get along, a rough ending could occur.
5. Spread into New Worlds
Encounter people from other lands and go into new markets. Staying domestic limits potential international (and intergalactic) growth. The new Star Wars film will reap big returns both here in the U.S. and in global movie markets.
6. Continue the Battle vs. Tough Competitors
The Star Wars rebels (the Jedi Warriors) did not fold in the face of a formidable foe (Darth Vader). At times, it may look like the odds are stacked against small business owners. Believing in their power within can help entrepreneurs overcome even the toughest competition.
7. Train Your Staff
Small business owners must invest in their staff and train them so that they are ready to battle against competitors. Leading by example is the best way to instill the values that make a company great. Incentivize them. The film producers offered a percentage of the box office take to entice Harrison Ford to reprise his role as Han Solo.
8. Marketing and Promotion Are Critical to Success
The trailer for Star Wars: Episode VII--The Force Awakens debuted months ago. Further, toys, T-shirts, Lego sets and other Star Wars-related became available on "Force Friday" during the summer. The hype machine has been non-stop for weeks, and now the key players (Harrison Ford and others) are doing interviews and pushing the film to members of the media eager to get a scoop on what could possibly be the biggest film of all time.
9. Secure Enough Funding
The Force Awakens reportedly cost more than $200 million to make, and that figure does not include advertising costs. However, the investment paid off big, as the film sold an estimated $100 million in advance tickets and set a weekend box office record of $238 million. The film will turn a profit within a month. Small business owners must realize that they have to spend money to make money. Making a $200 million is a big financial risk, but one that already seems to have paid off well.
10. Be Ready for a Sequel
Based on the success of the first Star Wars movie, which during its day became the top grossing film of all time, a series of record-setting sequels came to be. The same holds true for small businesses. If a first location proves to be successful, branch out elsewhere. Grow your business into the future!