Game of Thrones is coming to us with a 6th season, which is a great opportunity to review what we know about the series until now. And more important, what we learned from the series. While most people focus on the murders, I tried to go beyond them and analyze why each character did those outrageous things. And this is how I found Game of Thrones offers a lot of valuable lessons for entrepreneurs!
1. Do not owe anyone, anything
The famous line of the Lannisters is “A Lannister always pays his debts”, which is probably the most valuable tip in this list of lessons for entrepreneurs from Game of Thrones. If Tyrion and his gang used this rule to justify the slaughter, entrepreneurs can use it to make sure their business thrives.
As a businessman your goal is to maximize the profit, but you must always pay your debts! As soon as you leave your debts to gather, you enter a downward road, which is not going to end with a cool breeze from the business market! In fact, not even the most powerful air conditioner will be able to cool down your employees and partners, if you’ve failed to pay them on time. Worse, your business rivals are waiting for this dark scenario to happen, so they can steel your employees and partners, along with your internal secrets.
The take away: always pay your debts, for the safety of your company.
If you do fail, everyone in the market will recognize you as a reliable, serious entrepreneur, so they will be willing to work with you again.
2. Do not fear bad times
Littlefinger’s favorite line is “Chaos is not a pit, but a ladder” and he couldn’t be more right! For an entrepreneur, the best times are bad ones, when you need to struggle and learn a lot of things on the go. During bad times you have to act fast and dare to take bold decisions. If your company manages to survive during tough times, when the storm makes room for bright sun, your company is going to sail in full bloom. One of the best lessons for entrepreneurs you can take away from Game of Thrones is seeing tough times as opportunities, not obstacles.
3. If you need to reinforce your status as a leader, you’re sitting on a thin layer of ice
As an entrepreneur, you have to inspire your employees and partners and gain your status as a boss. Successful entrepreneurs never have to say they are the boss, just like respected people never have to say “respect me”. In Game of Thrones, the Lannisters, (“Any man who must say I am the king is no true king”) act as rulers and they are seen as rulers. In real life, you need to act like a boss, take the right decisions, be objective and never cross the boundaries. If you are a good entrepreneur, power will come to you on the way, as well as respect and profit.
4. Don’t be afraid to speak up
Tyrion Lannister also offers a great lesson for beginner entrepreneurs: he might not be taken seriously at some times, but this doesn’t stop him from speaking out loud. When you are a young entrepreneur, or you’re not even currently holding the status of an entrepreneur, but you wish you could run your own company one day, you need to be bold enough to speak up your mind. Don’t be afraid to step up in front of the line and share your ideas – you might be noticed by someone!
5. Don’t be unfair to your employees or partners
The entire Game of Thrones series is rich in bloody leaders who inspire fear in everyone who dares to look up to them. With one exception: Daenerys. The blonde teen becomes the beloved Khaleesi due to her kindness. When you translate this into business world, you gain important lessons for entrepreneurs: don’t be cruel entrepreneur, employer and partner. Yes, you do want people to respect you and listen to you, but using cruelty is not the way to gain loyalty.
Never try to intimidate others and gamble on your skills to get contracts and grow your business. In the long run, this approach will gain you a lot of friends and trusted partners, which are essential for a successful entrepreneur.
Also, listen to your team! If you fail to do this, you might become a despised leader. Looking at Game of Thrones’ Joffrey Baratheon, you can see the side effects of such a leader. On the business market, being despised is a sure way to kill your company, as your reputation is an important drive for businesses.
6. Never break your word
In businesses, your word is sacred! Once you’ve broken a promise, you’ve lost your word as well as your credibility. Without a valid word, you are going to have a tough life in the business world, where many agreements and contracts start with a discussion at a smoke. Retrieving your credibility is almost impossible, so make sure you never break a promise. Who taught us this from Game of Thrones? Robb Stark, who promised to wed a Frey woman, than completely forgot about it and we all know the bloody consequences of his broken promise.
Lastly, remember the iconic line from Game of Thrones: Winter is coming!
The House of Stark doesn’t want to message us all that it’s time to open the winter coat chests, but they want to say they are always looking forward to make sure they are never caught on a bad foot. Back to business, you have to look in the future and make sure you stay up to date with the latest innovations and technologies. The sooner you do this, the better for you. If you are preparing your “winter coats” in the summer, you are definitely going to win the Game of Businesses!