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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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                      Published on March 20, 2019

                      How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

                      How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

                      Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

                      As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

                      While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

                      What is a Mission Statement?

                      Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

                      In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

                      “Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

                      In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

                      Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

                      While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

                      First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

                      While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

                      While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

                      “To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

                      This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

                      What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

                      When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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                      Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

                      When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

                      • What we do?
                      • How we do it?
                      • Whom do we do it for?
                      • What value are we bringing?

                      Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

                      After all, that did check off all the boxes:

                      What we do? Provide widgets.

                      How we do it? Online.

                      Who do we do it for? The consumer.

                      What value we bring? The best widgets.

                      The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

                      Compare that mission statement to this one:

                      “We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

                      What’s the difference?

                      Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

                      Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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                      You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

                      A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

                      Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

                      1. Keep It Brief

                      Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

                      You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

                      2. Have a Purpose

                      A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

                      Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

                      3. Include a “How”

                      Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

                      How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

                      4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

                      This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

                      Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

                      5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

                      It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

                      Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

                      6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

                      Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

                      7. Think Long Term

                      A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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                      8. Get Feedback

                      This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

                      Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

                      9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

                      You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

                      First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

                      And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

                      For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

                      The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

                      It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

                      First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

                      If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

                      Strategic Planning

                      A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

                      Measuring Performance

                      By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

                      Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

                      Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

                      Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

                      As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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                      Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

                      To Hold Management Accountable

                      By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

                      So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

                      If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

                      To Serve as an Example

                      This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

                      After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

                      Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

                      Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

                      Final Thoughts

                      Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

                      Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

                      That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

                      By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

                      More Resources About Achieving Business Success

                      Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      [1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
                      [2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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