Happy #StarWarsDay ! If you haven't heard it already today, let us be the first to tell you: May the 4th be with you! The Star Wars films and franchise are a lot of things to a lot of people. Not only do they tell captivating stories of good and evil, but they teach us about everything in between and the little things in life. Keep reading for our three favorite lessons Star Wars taught us about business.
1) Choose a Mentor
"All mentors have a way of seeing more of our faults than we would like. It's the only way we grow." -Padme (Episode II: Attack of the Clones)
One of the biggest business (and life!) lessons we've taken away from Star Wars is that choosing the right mentor/teacher is everything. Had Luke chosen Darth Vader over Yoda, the whole franchise would feature a radically different saga. When considering a mentor, you want to first ask yourself if you look up to that person. You need to pick someone who is in line with your values and goals. Can this person support you in achieving these goals? Do they have relevant experience? You want to consider what kind of supports a potential mentor could provide, along with how they could do so. Will they guide you in making decisions, or tell you? Will they be honest with you or just tell you what you want to hear? You also need to make sure you can work well with your mentor. They may check all the other boxes, but if your work style isn't compatible with theirs, your business styles will start to clash.
2) Training is Key
"If you end your training now-if you choose the quick and easy path, as Vader did-you will become an agent of evil." -Yoda (Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)
So becoming an "agent of evil" might be a little dramatic in the small business context, but we think you get the point. If you stop learning and pushing yourself to grow in your business--choosing "the quick and easy path"--your business is not going to grow and meet your goals. If you have employees, it's also critical that they are included in continuing education. LinkedIn's 2021 Workplace Learning Report shows that 76% of Gen Z and 61% of millennials agree that "learning is the key to success" in their careers. Both big and small business are competing for the same things. However, as we all know, big companies have more resources and can typically afford to lose a few employees and opportunities by neglecting professional development and continuing education. Small businesses, however, don't have such a luxury. Relevant online classes and workshops have never been more accessible. Ask yourself what industry skills/knowledge your company needs, ask employees what they want to learn, and commit to continuous learning, yourself!
3) Size Isn't Everything
“Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm? And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is.” - Yoda (Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)
Star Wars taught us that great things come in small packages--at least in terms of Jedi masters. Well, we know that this applies to us small business owners, too (we are masters of sorts, aren't we?). Small businesses can make a huge impact on the communities and customers they serve. We may not be Amazon or Google or any huge company, but we're making connections and doing meaningful work. However, as our companies get bigger, we must be careful not to grow too fast. When this happens, it's easy to lose track of finances and make cashflow mistakes. When your business is smaller, the numbers are less complicated and typically easier to keep a handle on (what's that line? "mo' money, mo' problems" ?). When a company is in rapid growth, it's difficult to keep the entirety of the operation up to scale. When this happens, you need to pay close attention to your business's growing needs, not just the size of your growing business.
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