Today is a special day for huge nerds such as your blogger: May the fourth! Because of a delicious homophonic similarity to the iconic utterance “may the Force be with you”, fans of Star Wars the world over have made May 4 an unofficial celebration of the films and the wide fictional universe that has sprung up around them. With the announcement of a seventh film, directed by JJ Abrams, for this coming December, the classic science fiction story is very much back in vogue, poised to captivate a new generation of film-goers. Today, the blog looks at the iconic series and the valuable ideas it may hold for small businesses in our own galaxy.
Get Inspired, Refine, Create
Star Wars was born out of George Lucas’ appreciation for such influences as the films of Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, as well as classic action movies set on the wild Western frontier. Lucas’ original inspiration led him to create a wildly ambitious first draft called The Journey of the Whills, a treatment scattered with copious ideas about space commandos-in-training, a man named Starkiller rather than Skywalker, and mysterious “Jedi-Bendu.” Only through a process of continuous redrafting, simplification and refinement did some of the core themes, characters and plots that Star Wars came to be famous for emerge. Businesses should also look to the history of innovators and models that inspire them when creating their plans for growth and success – while also realizing that excess complexity can work against you in the long run. Simplification and focus – of processes, mission statements or service models – can distill the best qualities of your business and emphasize your strengths.
“Do or do not, there is no try”
The above line, delivered by the diminutive Master Yoda, is a telling encapsulation of the spirit of commitment to one’s principles that drives any heroic journey. Entrepreneurs are certainly models of commitment to their work as well. Aside from your commitment to the qualities that make your business unique, you should also develop a firm and decisive stance when it comes time to make improvements, changes, and structural decisions about your business. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try new things or experiment to see what works best: just go into the process with confidence. This includes the “do not” portion: sometimes it’s best to know when to back away from a potentially high-risk situation. Do the research, run the numbers, and stay on target.
Seek Out A Mentor
Star Wars features a great many interesting relationships between mentors and students. Both the Jedi and the evil Sith place great importance on the bond forged between a student and his or her master. Who is the Yoda to your business’ Skywalker, and what can this person teach you about making your business work better? Find out, even if it involves reaching out to someone you may not have considered at first.
Be A Great Negotiator
The Star Wars films may be remembered for their thrilling approach to action, but there are many references to political intrigue and skillful negotiation that help the heroes succeed just as often as a burst of speed or skill might. Despite being a bit of a scoundrel, Han Solo proves throughout the films that he’s never one to settle for a deal he doesn’t like. Sometimes, you’ll have to convince the right people that these aren’t the droids they’re looking for in order to get where you need to be. In dealing with other parties in a business transaction, it helps to be informed and confident, to keep your goals in mind and to work with others rather than against them in pursuit of mutually beneficial terms.
Even if you’re not a die-hard fan, the lasting appeal of Star Wars is in its ability to reach a broad audience with compelling stories and messages, just like any good small business should. May the Fourth be with your business this year!