A Young Entrepreneuer's Quest
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5 Business Lessons You Can Learn From Zombie Movies

by Patrick Toerner on February 17, 2010

business lessons!

The other day I was watching some zombie movie and realized some pretty common mistakes that the people make in every zombie movie.  I thought that this is pretty similar to how so many people make mistakes in business.   This thought inspired this post.

On a side note, during the zombie movie the group of people is locked inside of a building with a few zombies.  Then the lights shut off and zombies jump and scream and kill them.  Obviously it was more scary than I just portrayed, but I digress.  After the flesh eating mayhem continues for a few minutes, the power goes out on my whole block!  I never thought I would hear my 230 pound roommate whimper and toss a blanket over his head.

So that’s my near death zombie experience, now onto the business lessons.

1. Always watch your competition. Its always the guy that turn his head away from the zombie for one moment that gets his flesh bitten off. Just like you shouldn’t take your eyes off of a zombie, make sure you are always watching your competition.  If they jump up in Google search results, find out why.  If they are coming out with a new product, get your hands on it asap and make a better one.  It is hard to out do your competition if you don’t know what they are doing.

2. Do not blindly start in a market you are unfamiliar with. Similarly to number 1, the person that walks into a room with the lights off always gets mashed to a pulp.  So turn the lights on, get to know your market better.  Know you competition and more importantly know your self, your own products or services and the benefits of them.

3. Look for opportunities always and everywhere. A lead pipe? More like a zombie head smasher.  The people that McGyver weapons and traps together in zombie movies always survive.  Survive in business by doing the same (except not with weapons, that’s illegal).  Try to see beyond what you are given, to what can become.  As Orison Swett Marden once said, “Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Weak men wait for opportunities; strong men make them.”

4. Be different. Don’t be one of those shmucks that does the same thing as everyone else.  Zombies love those people!  And so do failed businesses.  How can the customer tell you apart from your competition?  Do something different! Hell, do something crazy even. People remember crazy and you want to be remembered.

5. Be nice. The jerks always get killed first. If not first then second, but the point is they are dead.  Pull this idea over to your business and you will stand out.  Many businesses are there just to make money, and people can sense that.So when a businesses is truly considerate and helpful, it makes them stand out and shine.  Think of Zappos, they were essentially like any other online shoe retailer, but their customer service is unparalleled.  This made them different, like in number 4.  Its sad that being nice is different, but you can change that. Be nice and your customers will show their appreciation towards you.

So what do you think? Got any other great lessons you can learn from zombie movies?  Leave a comment below!

Image by Laughing Squid via Flickr

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alex March 8, 2010 at 4:52 am

Wow, I love it! Comparing to zombies?! Haha, that is the creativity I like to see. Awesome ideas here dude. It’s easy to relate to zombies because of all the movies out there. And the people in zombie movies always make dumb mistakes.
.-= Alex´s last blog ..Success is Only a Book Away =-.

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2 Patrick Toerner March 8, 2010 at 11:18 am

Hey Alex, thanks for the kind words. Yeah, posts like these are the most fun to write. People in zombie movies really do make dumb mistakes, and I am sad to say many people in business do to. Thanks for your comment!

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3 Steve Scott Site March 8, 2010 at 7:35 am

Classic post. Really funny stuff here… I would add a #6…. “Always have a zombie survival plan”
.-= Steve Scott Site ´s last blog ..Steve’s Sunday Selections – March 7th, 2010 =-.

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4 Patrick Toerner March 8, 2010 at 11:19 am

Ah that’s a good one! Zombie survival plan….. business plan…. Something along those lines. Maybe there will be a part two.

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5 harvestwages March 19, 2010 at 11:11 pm

Great inspiration,
I like your point of view, especially when you say one shouldn’t be afraid to face his competitors.
.-= harvestwages´s last blog ..Success patterns that emerge – Guest post =-.

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6 Joseph McCullough March 21, 2010 at 1:51 am

Entertaining, informative, and I’m still scratching my head as to how this makes so much sense. Great post.

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7 Patrick Toerner March 22, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Thanks Joseph, and thanks for commenting.

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8 Geoff April 16, 2010 at 11:30 am

As a hardcore zombie movie fan — awesome article. :D

I’d be sure to add; “Being different” doesn’t always mean not following the crowd. You can still stand out WITHIN the crowd. Sometimes the majority of businesses do things, because doing them another way sets you up for failure — like the guy who wanders off alone because he thinks he has some clever idea. He usually gets eaten by zombies. With wandering off comes risk (but also, sometimes, great reward).
.-= Geoff´s last blog ..Weekly Update: Bug Squashing! =-.

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9 Patrick Toerner April 16, 2010 at 12:09 pm

Great point Geoff! Being different does not mean being dumb :) Just stand out from your competition in some way. Even if it is just amazing customer service, like Zappos for example, your customers will notice and spread the word. Thanks for commenting.

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