If you’re a horror movie buff, October is the perfect time to binge watch some of your favorite films. That’s because in the days leading to Halloween, Netflix and the cable networks typically stuff their catalogs with plenty of blood, gore and the supernatural.
Even if you aren’t a fan of the genre, there are tons of horror movie business lessons you can glean from these ghoulish delights.
Below are some of our favorite takeaways.
We hope you enjoy.
1. Don’t Be a Jerk
In modern cinema, the “jerk” often gets his or her punishment. We’ve almost come to expect it, whether we’re watching comedies, romance films or dramas.
But in horror films, this cosmic karma has become a cliché, with the jerk typically dying some ghastly and gruesome death. Nowhere is this more pronounced than in Stephen King’s 1976 (and 2013) “Carrie,” where the title character uses her telekinetic powers to exact revenge on everyone who was mean to her throughout the film.
Spoiler alert: Almost everyone was mean to her throughout the film.
What horror movie business lessons can you take from this supernatural thriller?
Simply put — don’t be a jerk.
It’s doubtful that your customers and employees possess destructive telekinetic powers, but it’s best not to take any chances — especially if you want to make it to the sequel.
2. Finish the Job
Here’s another cliché. In the final moments of many horror films, the hero defeats the monster, ghost, shark or maniacal killer.
Everyone breathes with a sigh of relief.
Then — out of nowhere — the “bad guy” lunges a final time. It turns out he wasn’t dead after all. Now, the hero must finish the job.
As a business owner, you should do the same. This means double, triple and quadruple checking all of your work before sending it out. Shoddy workmanship is one of the fastest ways to kill your brand image and destroy goodwill.
3. Build Suspense
It’s easy to get excited whenever you add new features to your products or services. You may be tempted to inundate your users with tons of literature about all the bells and whistles your team has just implemented — but think about 1975’s “Jaws.”
Despite being the title character, Jaws doesn’t make his first appearance until almost 80 minutes in — which is longer than many feature-length productions.
Talk about suspense, but how do you apply this in your business?
You cultivate customer relationships over time — slowly building rapport. This gives them the flexibility and latitude to learn about new features as they grow to love your products and services.
4. Face Your Fears
From the “Exorcist” to “Child’s Play” to “Scream” — horror movie heroes are ultimately forced to overcome their fears and confront their deepest, darkest nightmares.
It’s usually a painful process that they approach reluctantly, but it’s both inevitable and necessary.
There are business lessons to be learned for every budding entrepreneur.
Admittedly, your deepest, darkest nightmare might not be a possessed doll, but we all have dreaded tasks or knowledge gaps that keep holding us back, whether it’s:
- Prepping taxes
- Learning to code
- Firing people
- Cold calling
Although you can bring in the experts if necessary, this approach can get expensive.
A better approach is to simply roll up your sleeves and get to work. The first time will be the hardest, but the next time you sit down to prepare your business taxes, the process will be a little easier.
If you need training or coaching, go out and get it. You can always write it off as a deductible business expense.
5. Always Check References
Another cliché in horror films is the babysitter or tour guide who ends up being a bloodthirsty lunatic — and of course, mayhem ensues.
If only the characters had asked around a bit and checked references — all of that killing could have been avoided.
Note to self: Always check references before hiring anyone. That’s because resumes and work histories are so easy to forge these days. If you can connect with a living, breathing person at that candidate’s previous job, you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble.
6. Big Budgets Are Overrated
The “Blair Witch Project” had a budget of $600,000 and took home almost $250 million. That’s a 20,600 percent return on investment.
“Paranormal Activity” cost only $15,000 to make, but it generated over $193 million.
That’s an ROI of 645,800 percent.
What are the business lessons here?
Having more money in the reserves is great. You can:
- Hire better employees
- Rent a bigger office
- Buy higher-quality tools
Yet, big budgets aren’t always necessary. In fact, they can be a major hindrance — as many tech startups learned the hard way during the dot.com bubble.
A much better approach is to streamline your operations and cut expenses as much as possible. This is easier than ever thanks to the sharing economy. Even on a modest budget, you now have access to the highest-quality talent and resources in the world.
Want More Business Tips?
If you’re looking for even more business lessons — either from the big screen or real life — let us know.
At BluePay, we’ve helped countless business owners improve their operations by making simple, common sense adjustments to their workflows and payment environments.
To learn how we can do the same for you, contact our merchant services team today.