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10 Movies Every Entrepreneur Should Watch

10 Movies Every Entrepreneur Should Watch

Have you ever walked into the movies and come out inspired and feeling like a different person?

If you are an entrepreneur or preparing yourself to become one, you must watch these unforgettable movies to understand what I mean.

1.   Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)

pirates-of-silicon-valley-original

    “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” – Steve Jobs.

    This is a classic film that shows the beginnings of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates as they built their technology empires in the 1980s. It highlights their rivalry, trials and triumphs, and the different ways the tech founding fathers operated. You will see how a 20-year-old took on a huge corporation like IBM and learn the value of believing in your dream and following through with it no matter what. It doesn’t matter if someone copies your idea. What matters is the execution and how well you do it. Nobody can copy that. And when you’re just starting out, a little competition never hurt anyone.

    2.   The Social Network (2010)

    The Social Network

      “We lived on farms, then we lived in cities, and now we’re going to live on the internet!” – Sean Parker.

      This is another great movie that every entrepreneur should watch. It shows the meteoric rise of the world’s youngest billionaire and his Harvard dorm-room startup – Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg took a simple idea and turned it into one of the most profitable businesses to date. You’ll see how he did it and the challenges he faced along the way, including rifts with his co-founders. Apart from learning from Zuckerberg’s experience, you’ll also enjoy some deft storytelling and brilliant background score.

      3.   Boiler Room (2000)

      boiler-room-large-picture

        “What do you mean, you’re gonna pass. Alan, the only people making money passing are NFL quarterbacks and I don’t see a number on your back.” – Seth Davis

        Every entrepreneur in business faces moral dilemmas at some point in their career. This movie is about a 19 year old college dropout, Seth Davis, who is faced with a dire moral issue. Seth rises to become one of the top brokers at brokerage firm J.T. Marlin, but something at the firm seems suspicious. What does he do when faced with the dilemma of money and greed versus morals and legality? What would you do? This movie will sensitize you to the very real struggle between right and wrong, money and greed and morality and legality in business.

        4.   The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

        pursuit-of-happyness5

          “Don’t ever let someone tell you, you can’t do something. Not even me. You got a dream, you got to protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you you can’t do it. You want something, go get it. Period. All right?” – Chris Gardner

          This is an inspiring story of a struggling salesman, Chris Gardner (Will Smith), who losses everything, including his wife, house and money. Instead of wallowing in self-pity and defeat, Chris picks himself up, works harder and smarter than the competition to make life better for himself and his son. It’s a powerful motivational movie based on a true story that will give you goosebumps and help you see the value of having a good attitude and strong work ethic in the pursuit of happiness and a better life.

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          5.   Flash of Genius (2008)

          flash of genious

            “Whatever happened to this little thing called justice we talked about?” – Bob Kearns

            Anyone who’s an entrepreneur must watch this movie to understand why it’s important to protect your ideas from being stolen. Robert Kearns (Greg Kinnear), a college professor, invents the windshield wiper that is embraced by all the auto giants of the 1960s, becoming a standard device on all cars. However, the automakers do not give Kearns the credit he is due. It might be heartbreaking to watch as Kearns fights powerful corporations for his credit, but therein lies an important lesson for all entrepreneurs to learn.

            6.   The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

            The Wolf Of Wall Street

              “I’ve got the guts to die. What I want to know is, have you got the guts to live?” – Jordan Belfort

              This controversial movie might not have won Leonardo Di Caprio (playing Jordan Belfort) an Academy Award, but it sure can teach you valuable lessons about success, fame, fortune, greed and respect for law. As Belfort says, “The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.” However, with achieved goals, money, power, fame, women and drugs comes many temptations that can jeopardize your success. Discipline and awareness is critical to retain any success you achieve.

              7.   Office Space (1999)

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              office_space_peter

                “Let me ask you something. When you come in on Monday and you’re not feeling real well, does anyone ever say to you, “Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays?” – Peter Gibbons

                This hilarious film is for anyone who hates their 9-to-5 office job and is itching to plunge into entrepreneurship. It revolves around Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston), who discovers how much he hates sitting inside a cubicle every weekday, taking orders from his creepy boss Bill Lumbergh (Gary Cole). If there’s ever a film that will make you laugh, give you a refreshing new outlook on life, motivate you to get out of a desk job you hate and fire you up to pursue a venture that you truly love, then this is it!

                8.   Limitless (2011)

                limitless

                  “I had come this close to making an impact on the world. And now the only thing I was going to make an impact on was the sidewalk.” – Eddie Morra

                  This thrilling film about a struggling writer, Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) will teach you something about taking shortcuts, quick fixes and the easy path to success. Eddie is sure he has no future as he is faced with unemployment and his girlfriend’s rejection. However, that all changes when an old friend gives him a mysterious pill that allows him to access 100% of his brain abilities. Stoked on the untested drug, Eddie rises to the top of the financial world, but terrible side-effects and a dwindling supply threatens to collapse his house of cards. Quick and easy fixes aren’t so easy after all, or are they?.

                  9.   Wall Street (1987)

                  Wall Street (1987

                    “The point is ladies and gentlemen that greed, for lack of a better word, is good.” – Gordon Gekko

                    This is arguably one of the best entrepreneurial movies of all time. It follows an ambitious young stockbroker, Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen), who will do just about anything it takes to succeed as he is guided by the nebulous motto “Greed is good.” Suddenly, everything comes to a head when Fox is asked to help do something not only illegal, but morally reprehensible. The movie will teach you not to sell yourself out for the sake of money. Being an entrepreneur isn’t just about being rich and famous.

                    10.  The Godfather (1972)

                    godfather-111

                      “Great men are not born great, they grow great . . .”  – Mario Puzo

                      Another strong contender for the all-time greatest piece of cinema for entrepreneurs. It follows the story of the Godfather and his son Michael Corleone who oversee the growth of a small family business into what eventually becomes the largest organized crime family in New York. Although we don’t recommend taking the illegal route, this is a must-see for all entrepreneurs who want to learn what it takes to get to the top, and more importantly what it takes to stay there.

                      I’m sure we’ve left out a few. Tell us in the comments below; what movie would you add that every entrepreneur has to watch?

                      Featured photo credit: Pink Cow Photography via flickr.com

                      More by this author

                      David K. William

                      David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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                      Last Updated on May 28, 2020

                      How to Succeed in Business: 10 Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs

                      How to Succeed in Business: 10 Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs

                      Learning how to succeed in business used to be a case of being really good at one skill or area and milking it for all its value. Today, we are fast becoming a “skills economy”[1], driving trends in employment and even the way we approach entrepreneurship.

                      To succeed in today’s business landscape, business owners and executives need to possess a mix of skills that enable them to stay ahead and adapt to change.

                      1. Digital Savviness

                      As the adage goes: “If you’re not online, you don’t exist.” Today’s entrepreneurs need to take to the internet to increase their presence and to remain relevant in an evolving business landscape.

                      Companies like Amazon, Netflix, Airbnb and more are a testament to the disruptive impact of technology and the new image of what it means to be a skilled, successful professional. Think about today’s Mark Zuckerberg versus a banker from the 90s.

                      Being able to quickly adapt to new technology, like cloud applications and collaborating remotely across the internet, is fast becoming the expected norm for executives.

                      For businesses, discoverability on the web is becoming a quick litmus test for credibility. Potential customers and investors bank on the first page of Google to make up half their minds about making further transactions with a business. GE Capital Retail Bank found that 81% of retail shoppers conduct online research before buying[2].

                      How to Develop This Skill

                      For a start, begin by hosting your website and reserving all of your brand’s handles across social media platforms. While hiring a web developer might sound like the next step, consider first hosting your company’s site on more user and budget-friendly options like Squarespace, Wix, or WordPress.

                      From here, you can start on some simple search engine optimization techniques that will increase your discoverability over time. Through keyword research, organic content creation, and external back-links, your site will, eventually, slowly but surely garner more traffic.

                      Note, however, that an increase in search traffic does not immediately imply an increase in revenue. But it’s a start for delving into customer conversion rates in the future.

                      2. Financial Forecasting

                      Let’s face it, many business owners feel that time could be better spent on developing and running the business instead of planning for it financially. However, a financial forecast serves as a roadmap for shaping any kind of business and is not just reserved for the likes of listed companies providing financial guidance to shareholders.

                      Largely, forecasting and planning your financial goals will give you a clearer idea of resources required and ways to measure success. It can also provide assurance to investors as a testament to the thorough research and planning you have done when included in business plans.

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                      However, inaccurate forecasts can lead to livid investors and mismanagement of expenses, which could potentially result in financial teething problems. When creating a detailed financial forecast, a rule of thumb is to always start with your expenses.

                      How to Develop This Skill

                      Generally, it is easier to calculate and predict your expenses compared to your revenue, so noting down your expenses is a starting point to benchmark how much you might need to generate in sales to turn a profit. It is a good habit to regularly update and evaluate how adjacent your operations are to what you have forecasted.

                      Building a precise set of growth forecasting will take time, but, remember, you are an investor in your own business. You must have confidence in the validity of your business concept.

                      3. Video Production Skills

                      The rise of visual mediums and the dopamine boosts it gives to users has long been researched and proven as providing an unfair advantage to businesses that leverage it[3].

                      If you’re a heavy user of social platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and even YouTube, you’ll know that it’s pretty hard to stop once you get started on a binge-watching session.

                      In fact, video marketing is seeing a non-stop rise in popularity and effectiveness when used in conjunction with social media to drive traffic and boost conversions[4]. According to research, by 2019, 80% of global Internet consumption will be video content[5]. With video marketing becoming more ubiquitous, businesses that fail to leverage the power of video are almost certain to lose out.

                      How to Develop This Skill

                      Some ways to get started with using videos for your business would be:

                      • Creating a series of educational videos that cover useful information for your audiences
                      • Live videos interacting with your community at large (these can be shot on your smart phone)
                      • Using videos on landing pages to boost your customer conversions

                      4. Benchmarking Personal Goals to Business Performance

                      As far as you get into achieving endeavours on your business bucket list, it’s important to remember that being an entrepreneur is just one facet of your identity. Don’t forget why you started in the first place.

                      Ambition usually stems from some lifestyle goals you’ve always wanted for yourself and the people you might be providing for today or in the future. Working 24/7 is a surefire route to burnout and may manifest in an unhealthy interaction between partners and employees as well.

                      How to Develop This Skill

                      Money can’t be your only motivation, but look into the positives of how having more financial freedom and time can impact your life. In the short term, involving your interests in your businesses can make everyday tasks feel less like mundane errands. In the long run, your business may also bring you fruitful rewards, including personal fulfilment.

                      Set realistic income goals to manage expectations for your performance and your company’s revenue, especially during its earlier stages. See how projected growth can align with your personal goals and make adjustments accordingly to maintain a balance between growth and your personal values.

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                      5. Leveraging Healthy Competition

                      Some of the best athletes who have spent their careers neck-and-neck with each other have changed the standards in their respective sports. The notion of healthy competition applies to the business world more than it may seem on the surface.

                      Innovation has always been a key driver in free markets, which were intended to boost economies and provide customers with more choices. Just like the biggest sporting rivals that build on each others’ game, you can use your biggest competitors to hone your strategies.

                      How to Develop This Skill

                      Turn a competitive market landscape into an advantageous one by leveraging on long-established systems your business proposes an alternative to. Learn from the mistakes of predecessors once you discover their product or service loopholes.

                      For example, the Dollar Shave Club’s viral video[6] became a big hit because it hit the right buttons of consumers being tired of purchasing expensive but low quality shavers from incumbent retail giants. Going in second meant they could fill a gap competitors might not even have been aware of.

                      Apart from lifting off from what could have been your second-mover advantage, solidify your place with your business’ own first-mover advantage — whether you’re tapping into a new geographical region, unexplored market sector, or introducing a business model that proves more viable than others. There’s always room for improvement in business from mature markets to newly emerging ones.

                      6. Honing Pitches to Investors

                      Stand out in a broad mix of budding entrepreneurs by mastering the art and science behind a solid investor pitch that can determine the acceleration of growth for your business. Get comfortable talking about your ideas and receiving feedback or questions from peers, partners, and advisors before setting out to make a good impression on potential customers and eventually investors.

                      The phrase “If you can’t convince them, confuse them,” will certainly never get your business funded, especially in front of seasoned venture capitalists who have seen thousands of startup pitches. You should be able to deliver a quick elevator pitch that summarizes your unique proposition and its market viability for casual meet-ups[7] because you sometimes only have a few minutes to make a good impression and move on to another meeting.

                      How to Develop This Skill

                      Develop your investor pitch deck by highlighting your business’ strongest points, which will vary for every funding round. Create your deck with the investors’ interests in mind, balancing technical jargon and buzzwords.

                      You can also introduce your diverse team of experts, some proven traction, or the current state of the market to demonstrate profitability and the attractiveness of the opportunity to investors.

                      Ensure each slide flows into the other to develop a persuasive narrative, utilizing consistent and intelligent design principles to support your content.

                      7. Developing a Strong Brand Identity

                      In a world of saturated content and numerous emerging businesses that offer similar service lines, developing a unique brand identity will help you cut through the noise and stand out from your competition. From aesthetics to the body of clients you’re associated with, these contribute to how you’re perceived by prospects looking to buy.

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                      Evaluating your brand identity is linked to identifying your target customers, your business goals, a proposed promised land your solution achieves, and identifying values that are aligned to these components. Brand identity serves as a guide to maintaining consistency and creating an image you want your business to be associated with.

                      How to Develop This Skill

                      Efforts to strengthen your brand identity are closely tied to giving marketing strategies a direction. By knowing what makes your target customers tick, their values, ideals, and behavior, you will be able to elevate your business from simply being a service or product to be utilized into a projected brand customers and partners would be happy to identify with.

                      8. Automating to Your Advantage

                      The need for efficiency is often the general problem new businesses aim to resolve across all markets and industries. Assure that your proposed solution is more efficient than what’s readily available in the market to instill the need for it.

                      Efficiency is often achieved nowadays through digitalization and new technologies. While your product or service may not necessarily be the most innovative out there, you can apply the same automation concept across your business’ daily operations.

                      How to Develop This Skill

                      Shorten turnaround times and conversion rates by investing in small tools for automation where you deem fit. While it may come out of your pocket in the early stages, evaluate the holistic advantages and benefits of automating certain processes. At our office, we’ve tried using collaborative apps like Workplace by Facebook, Slack, Asana and a few other popular apps to reduce human error and friction.

                      9. Managing Millennials

                      Your team plays an integral part in whether your business will accelerate at breakneck speeds or be dragged down by dead weight. Hence, it is imperative to be selective and strategic when choosing your team.

                      In leaner small business teams, the addition of every new teammate can impact how your organization culture evolves.

                      Today, learning to manage millennials has become an increasingly sought after skill as well due to the increasing proportion of them in the workforce[8]. Some brand them as strawberries that are easily bruised and others loath their need for “meaning” and wearing t-shirts to work.

                      How to Develop This Skill

                      Naturally, there are many misconceptions surrounding millennials, and various businesses would do well to leverage their unique skills.

                      A couple of ways to manage a millennial team include:

                      Encourage a Flat Team Structure With Open Communication

                      Maintain clear professional lines between supervisors and subordinates but keep communication channels open to ensure no negativity festers.

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                      Offer Constructive Feedback

                      Baby boomers are well known for their straightforward approach to delivering feedback. Millennials, on the other hand, don’t always take feedback in a form that could be construed as deep criticism.

                      Being constructive with feedback ensures that we don’t coddle millennial workers but also tell them the things they need to hear.

                      10. Maintaining a Network of Connectivity

                      Instead of proposing a business that’s ambitiously and entirely disruptive to the supply or process chain in a respective industry, foster connections with other companies that cater to the same target customers as long as they provide a different service.

                      By creating partnerships, both you and other businesses thrive simultaneously through creative avenues for customers to utilize your products and services for a holistically improved user experience.

                      Sole market disruption isn’t always the best strategy to take. Not everybody has the opportunity, bandwidth, or financial capacity to dominate and monopolize a marketplace. See your potential for integration into other businesses and services as a good opportunity for co-collaborative marketing efforts with shared campaigns, split costs, and a strengthened customer database for everyone to tap into.

                      How to Develop This Skill

                      Regardless of the stage your business is in, never stop looking for ways to expand your network. Keep in contact with mentors you can look to for valuable industry advice that can help you avoid pitfalls and costly mistakes. Strengthen brand awareness by attending cross-industry events and casual meet-ups to open your business to reinvention and innovation.

                      As the African proverb goes:

                      “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

                      Collaborating will get you where you want to go quicker and gear you up for further growth.

                      More Tips on How to Succeed in Business

                      Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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