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Sunday, January 23, 2011

How "Despicable Me" Is Like Running A Business

Despicable Me (Four-Disc Combo: Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray / DVD / Digital Copy)I finally got around to watching Despicable Me on blu-ray this morning. I couldn't help but notice how close Gru's experiences are like how I am working on starting and running a business. Here are 7 examples of how Despicable Me is like running a business.

1) You Need A Good Team

    • The minions were cute, sure, but they also helped Gru build his evil empire. Without that team, there would have been no success.  This is important in the business world, because, just as Gru had his weaknesses, there will be things in your own business that you will not be as good at.  Not good at record-keeping? Then you will need someone on your team that is strong in that area.   Not a good communicator? You'll need someone who can get the message across.
2) You Need A Plan
    • Gru didn't simply launch into his evil plot. He researched, he planned, and most important, he wrote it all down.  The greatest disservice a business owner can do it simply walk in blindly. You need to know who your market is. You need to know where you want to go, and how you will get there. You need an exit strategy. Write a BUSINESS PLAN. It doesn't matter if you are doing your business part time or full. You need to have a plan.       
3) You May Fail/Make Mistakes At First, But It's All Valuable Experience
    • Two attempts at stealing the Shrink Ray didn't stop Gru from trying again.  He learned what would work, and what didn't. He actually looked back at his failures and made necessary changes (which in this case, included adoption).  Your business venture may not go as planned. We all make mistakes. The true test of a leader is what is learned from those mistakes. For example, my own first attempt at an Etsy shop was miserable. I knew nothing about the climate, and I didn't even know how to advertise. But this time I am remembering who my clients are and what they need. I learned to advertise. I am making it better this time.
4) Competition is Fierce, So What Makes You Special?
    • Vector was the bane of Gru's existence for the whole movie.  Evil villains all trying to make their mark. I'm sure you've got plenty of people who are out there doing the same thing you are.  What you need to figure out is what makes you special, and how will you use that to attract your customers? Hundreds of companies make computer parts. But Intel was able to differentiate themselves by marketing their innovations. They were new and always improving, and that's what made them stick out from the crowd.
5) You'll Need To Relax Once In A While
    • You may be tempted to eat, sleep, and breathe your business. But the most productive time for Gru was when he was taking time to do things other than work, like play with the girls. To prevent burn out, you're going to need to turn off the business brain and do something fun. When you come back to the business, you will be much more productive and better able to deal with the myriad of issues that will arise as part of being a businessman.
6) You'll Need To Be Resourceful
    • Gru got turned down by the Bank of Evil to fund his idea. Instead, his minions pitched in, and they built the rocket out of whatever was handy.  You'll need to do the same thing. Look around you. I'm sure there is something in your general vicinity that would be useful for your business. Things won't just jump out at you. You'll need to look, but they are there. 
7) The Biggest Dreams Require Work And Patience
    • From his childhood, Gru wanted to go to the moon. He built prototypes and drew pictures. You are an entrepreneur. You are a visionary. Don't let anyone tell you differently. You must be willing to work hard in order to make your business a reality. You are the heart and soul of your business. Make sure that you know the work required to make it a reality, and be patient with yourself. You didn't become an adult overnight. And some of the biggest names in business spent years building their brand identity. You can do this.

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