By the time we sit down with a glass of cheap wine ready to zone out with Netflix, the last thing on the minds of us small business owners is “what lesson can I learn here?”
C’mon. It’s wine-o’clock.
Thankfully, we can multitask! Netflix offers an abundance of (semi-hidden) small business lessons and we’ve compiled this handy-dandy list for you. Here goes:
1. Money Heist – Do Your Due Diligence
Ok, the show is in Spanish. Unless you’re bilingual, you have to read subtitles. It’s soooo worth it.
This thriller, originally called El Casa De Papel, centers around a cryptic leader called simply, “The Professor” who, after spending an entire decade planning, leads his rag-tag team of criminals to pull off the biggest robbery in history. He is intimately involved with every single moving part and preempts each step the police take. Why? Because the man performed his due diligence.
Simply put, do your homework! OK, 10 years seems a bit stiff, but before you plan your next event, workshop, or new service, make sure that you know what you’re up against. Research your competition. Understand the market culture you’re moving in. Know the others in your space well enough to anticipate how your actions will be interpreted.
2. Suits – Differentiate Yourself
Egomaniac Harvey Specter is a bigshot lawyer in NYC. Known as the best closer in the city, he offers more than a handful of inspirational (although often sexist, sarcastic, or otherwise off-color) quotes for every small business owner. Our favorite is “Anyone can do my job, but no one can be me.”
His point is well taken, and even though he’s crude and dismissive, he makes up for it with a sexy factor that’s through the roof. Which, BTW, is true of almost every character on the show, including the flawless Meghan Markle, who we must now address as “Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex.” Well played, Meghan. Well played.
The point is, there are inevitably going to be plenty of others who do what you do. You make cupcakes? So does the supermom down the block. You’re a physical therapist? There are 19 of those in your zip code. What makes you unique?
You’re not only selling your product or service; you’re selling YOU. Make sure that YOU are unique and therefore marketable, whether that’s a matter of emphasizing your personal style, communication method, or in Harvey’s case, wearing tailor-made $3K suits.
3. The Good Place – Don’t Allow Imposter Syndrome to Control You
Eleanor Shellstrop was a bad person. A gossip. A betrayer of friends. A frequent dropper of F-bombs.
She died, and she miraculously ends up in “The Good Place” which she (correctly) figures was a placement mistake. Since heaven is full of good people, which she guesses (again, correctly) she must become in order to avoid reassignment to “The Bad Place”, she makes a commitment to turn herself around.
But she doubts herself constantly. Even as she displays selfless acts and experiences genuine transition, she constantly slips back into insecurity, certain that she’ll never be “good enough” to stay.
All of us are multi-faceted people. We have strengths, which have gotten us to where we are today, but we are often plagued by The Imposter Syndrome, second-guessing ourselves constantly. We’re afraid that someone will discover the “real” us, and become disillusioned or disappointed in us and what we offer.
Avoid this common entrepreneurial mistake, and embrace your success. Live it, breathe it, and project it, even if you’re still in transition.
4. Breaking Bad – Hire to Complement Your Skillset
Walter White is a chemistry teacher turned meth dealer. Although he knows how to concoct the best meth on the market, he is a complete noob on the drug dealing scene. He doesn’t know how to market his product, who to market it to, how to close the transaction without getting hit over the head with a baseball bat, or how to protect his territory.
In comes Jesse Pinkman, who, while he’s a sloppy chemist, knows how the meth world works. He comes armed with the network, the lingo, and the baseball bat.
Walter could have recruited other chemists to join his team, but what would have been the point? He already had those skills. He hired for what he was missing. A complementary skill set, if you will. With Walter making the meth and Jesse distributing it, the two of them proved (temporarily) unstoppable.
Find your Jesse.
5. Better Call Saul – Qualify Your Leads
Better Call Saul, a successful spinoff from Breaking Bad, follows the life of ambulance-chasing attorney Jimmy McGill, who selected “Saul Goodman” as his professional name because, “Duh, all the top lawyers are Jewish. I better sound Jewish.”
Saul left a life of representing slip-and-fall cases to attempt to land more legitimate clients. On his journey, he was lucky enough to get featured on TV as a human-interest story, and his phone line was suddenly flooded with leads.
Lots of leads is what you want, right?
Most of Saul’s leads were time-sucking dead ends which were not appropriate for his business model and were ultimately never going to make him any money.
What you want is qualified leads – those people who you can actually help, who will actually benefit from your product or service, whose deal will close in a reasonable amount of time within a reasonable amount of effort on your part. You don’t want leads who you have to hand-hold for three months with no return on your investment.
Learn from Saul.
Now that we’ve booked your viewing calendar for the next six months, totally setting you up for binge-watching, you can lean back into blissful couch-lock and be entirely guilt-free, knowing that you’re not zoning out. You’re actually learning.