I grew up with Star Wars; my dad is a fan and now my two sons are too. In the down time over the festive break we’ve been watching the six Star Wars films and educating my husband about the ways of the force (he had only seen The Phantom Menace before now).
Jokes aside, there are some lessons for business owners in these iconic films. I’ve watched the first three – A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi – many, many times. My dad had the original VHS copies in their cardboard sleeves and now we are enjoying digitally remastered versions of these films. The second group of three – The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith – have not been watched as often, but they are still treasured items in our DVD collection.
And this brings me to my first lesson: create something that crosses all boundaries (age, religion, culture) and you will have fans for life. Stars Wars is almost 40 and the franchise is still going strong. The seventh film will be released this year and more are planned. If you can find the one thing that means something special to all your customers, then your business will soar. This ‘thing’ might take time to create, test and market, but if it hits the sweet spot, then the time spent will be a wise investment.
Our home contains a LOT of Star Wars products (DVDs, clothing, Lego, dog toys etc), which leads nicely to lesson two: think beyond your core product. Your core product or service should be the main driver in your business, but can you extend your reach with additional products like ebooks or training courses, or partner with another business owner to create something that will appeal to both your customer bases?
I want to move beyond the Star Wars franchise now and into the business lessons from the stories themselves. There are many, but my picks are:
- Everyone needs a mentor (or in Yoda’s words: “A mentor, you need”).
- Theme songs make you stand tall – the Star Wars music by John Williams is one of the most recognised film scores in the world. People take notice when they hear those first few booming bars, just like your body responds when you hear ‘your’ song.
- Your gut knows best – there are many occasions when the Jedis trust ‘The Force’ rather than equipment or advice from others. You know when something is right for you, and when it isn’t. Trust yourself.
The storyteller in me loves all the references to the hero’s journey in Star Wars, but there is plenty in there for the business owner too.
Which fictional stories have taught you important lessons?