I am pleased to have the opportunity to serve on the American Film Institute as a member of the national council. Everyone loves a good movie, and great business advice is hiding in some of our favorite movies. A few years ago, the Washington Post asked entrepreneurs which famous lines from the silver screen offer the greatest insight and advice for running a small business.
Here are a few key insights.
Bull Durham (1988) “This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains.”
Wisdom: “You have to be ready for the peaks and valleys, the wins and the losses, but you also have to keep your mind nimble and ready to react to the unexpected,” sadi TJ Jackson, president and chief executive of Buffalo Supply Inc. “There is always something ready to roll over the horizon. It could be clear skies or stormy weather, but you have to be ready either way.”
A League of Their Own (1992) “There’s no crying in baseball.”
Wisdom: “The same is true here – there’s no crying in small business,” said Chris Holman, chairman of the National Small Business Association and chief executive of the Michigan Business Network. “There are good lessons and bad lessons, but they’re all lessons. I always like to say that I’ve never had a bad day in 39 years – I’ve had bad things happen, but I’ve always learned something from it.”
Forrest Gump (1994) “My momma always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.'”
Wisdom: “Entrepreneurship is similar to that box of chocolates; you never know how it’s going to turn out but always hoping you get the best piece possible,” said Ben Lang, founder of EpicLaunch.
The Matrix (1999) “You take the blue pill — the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill — you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”
“All small business owners have big decisions to make,” said Rochelle Balch, owner of RB Balch & Associates. “Many can have a huge impact, and many need to be made quickly. Be prepared: Plan in advance (update your business plan and budget every year, even if you’re the only one who looks at it). The ‘red pill’ may be the easy way out, but the ‘blue pill’ could have huge returns.”
Back to the Future (1985) “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”
“On the surface, this quote represents a future technological achievement that is hidden to the current generation,” said Dmitriy Katsel, founder of AdU Network “Entrepreneurs, however, can see the deeper meaning because they make their own roads outside of what society has paved for them. The theme of this film is true to the spirit of entrepreneurship because it empowers the individual to take responsibility to the world and to make a better future. It is our density… I mean destiny.”
The Social Network (2010) “A million dollars isn’t cool, you know what’s cool? A billion dollars.”
“You’ve got to think and dream big and work backwards from an end goal,” said Chris Hurn, president and chief executive of Mercantile Capital Corporation. “Tomorrow’s leaders won’t be satisfied with mere millions in revenues and/or profits.”
City Slickers (1991) “I’m on vacation!”
“As a small business owner, I didn’t take a vacation the first ten years in business,” said Alan Wiessner, president and chief executive, Integra Business Systems. “Now going on 25 years in business, I make time for family and vacations. I’ve just turned 60. I’m not looking forward to the day I start drooling in my soup.”
All About Eve (1950) “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night”
“Running a small start-up business is not an easy task,” said Grafton Willey, managing director of CBIZ Tofias. “There will be ups and downs and you need to be prepared for them.”