Audrey Hepburn said, “Everything I learned I learned from the movies.”
I’m no Hepburn. But I learn from movies too.
I love movies — to me, they are cinematic masterpieces that help me escape the stress of daily life. And, if there’s anything I love more than movies, it’s movies about business.
Here’s my top 6 list of movies every entrepreneur should watch, together with the business lesson learned.
#1: Joy (Based on a true story)
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, this movie is based on the true story of businesswoman and inventor Joy Mangano, a self-made millionaire who created her own business empire.
In this movie we learn about Joy’s struggles juggling family and business as a single mother, and the origins of her success with selling products on the Home Shopping Network and QVC.
The Lesson: This movie is about taking risks, even when life is overwhelming, and you have a lot to lose. Also – hire a good lawyer to oversee your contracts.
Hire a good lawyer to oversee your contracts.
#2: Well Wishes
After a man loses his job, he decides to set up his own company harvesting coins from wishing wells and fountains across America.
He employs his friend, as well as a mysterious homeless man, and together they amass a fortune, by pretending to clean fountains. This is a surprising, light-hearted movie with a deep, meaningful message.
The Lesson: Sometimes having a business is not just about making money, it’s also about making an impact.
#3: The Pursuit of Happyness (Based on a true story)
Starring Will Smith and his son, this is a wonderful movie based on the true story of entrepreneur and investor Chris Gardner. The movie portrays his struggles as a single dad who was also homeless.
He then risks everything by landing a job as an intern in a brokerage firm to begin a better life.
The Lesson: You need perseverance, and self-belief to overcome great challenges.
Sometimes having a business is not just about making money, it’s also about making an impact.
#4: Glengarry Glen Ross
Starring Alec Baldwin, this is a 1992 movie which many people have not heard of, but it’s probably one of the most important movies anyone in sales, or deals with sales should watch.
This movie is about New York City real estate salesmen who compete aggressively for leads as their boss has made an announcement that only 2 out of them will get “promising leads” and be safe from being fired.
The Lesson: As the line in the movie goes, “A-B-C … Always be closing!” No business can survive without sales, and leads are extremely valuable.
No business can survive without sales, and leads are extremely valuable.
#5: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
This is a story about Muriel (played by Maggie Smith) and other retiree guests of the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in India.
All the guests go through varied experiences during the time at the hotel, and learn a great deal about life, living abroad, and having no regrets.
The hotel owner, Sonny, an over-optimistic, over-promising salesman, also has to learn about the actual realities of running a business – it’s not just about selling the idea of the hotel, but the actual day-to-day business of providing what he had promised.
The Lesson: Sometimes the original ‘founder’ may not be the best person to actually run the business itself. It is only when Muriel takes charge of finance and operational matters, do we see the hotel blossom to its full potential. The lesson is to always hire people with expertise.
Hire people with expertise.
Many people saw this as a romantic movie, but I definitely saw some business lessons in this gem.
Chocolat, is a dreamy, ethereal movie starring Juliet Binoche and Johnny Depp. The movie tells the story of Vianne Rocher, an expert chocolatier, who sets up a chocolate shop despite great objections of the villagers to do so.
Through her optimism, spirit and by giving away free chocolate samples, she wins villagers over one by one and is able to overcome a hostile environment.
The Lesson: Sometimes your customers need to try your products before they buy. Also, you will see great business benefits when you contribute and become part of the community – no matter how challenging this may seem at first.
What are some of your favourite movies with business lessons?