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5 Christmas movies and what your business can learn from them

5 Christmas movies and what your business can learn from them

Posted 15th December, 2020 by Sarah

In business, every day is a school day. Even Christmas Day, especially if you plan on watching Christmas movies on 25th December.

There’s a lot you can learn from a good old crimbo flick.

Here, we take a light-hearted sleigh-ride through some Christmas classics and we pick out the shiny sixpences of business wisdom we can find inside...

A Christmas Carol

Once upon a time - Ebenezer Scrooge was a miserable, mean old man. He was incapable of empathising with either his staff or his family. All he cared about was his money. But, his immense wealth didn’t make him happy. Then, one night, he was visited by The Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present and The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. Between them, these three spirits took old Scrooge on a journey, showed him some perspective and helped him to understand the error of his miserly ways.

Unwrapping the story

Something Scrooge doesn’t understand at the start of the story is that happy employees are better employees. Keep your staff warm and comfortable and they will work harder, feel more invested in the business and be more productive. As a boss, it’s important you have empathy for the real lives of your employees or co-workers as well as for your customers. That can be as important as keeping your eye on the money.

Also, for their part, the ghosts in A Christmas Carol work as a team. Each has their own area of expertise and, once they’ve completed their bit of the task, they pass the ‘client’ on to the next member of the team. Cooperative and collaborative teamwork is, often, the key to a successful business.

Arthur Christmas

Once upon a time Santa’s son, Steve, modernised Christmas present delivery by replacing the sleigh and reindeer with a massive computer-controlled spaceship called the S1. Meanwhile, Steve’s younger brother, Arthur, noticed that Steve’s ultra-slick modern operation had missed one child. Steve argued that one disappointed child out of billions was an acceptable ratio, but Arthur and the retired Grandsanta set off in their sleigh to deliver that one present the old fashioned way. Hilarity ensued.

Unwrapping the story

Modernisation is great - where appropriate. There is a place for the automated, computer-controlled, super-efficient big businesses. There is, equally, a place for small, local businesses which serve fewer customers but give them more special attention. If yours is a business that employs old-school, artisanal, traditional skills, you’ll find that your customers appreciate the effort you make and they will often be willing to pay more for it.

Also, every customer matters. Whether you have one customer or one million customers, they all deserve the best customer service you can provide.

A Nightmare Before Christmas

Once upon a time Jack Skellington was the pumpkin-king of the nightmarish Halloweentown, the place Halloween comes from. But, he was having a mid-death crisis. He was bored of the same-old same-old. Then, he discovered Christmastown, where Christmas comes from. Entranced by its bright lights and baubles, he decided to pivot Halloweentown into creating a very different kind of Christmas.

Unwrapping the story

Pivoting your business to explore new business avenues is an important part of keeping a business alive and relevant. But, don’t be distracted by fashion.

You have to explore new business ventures which suit the skill set of yourself and your team. Don’t just jump on the latest passing bandwagon into a marketplace where you have no experience or expertise. There’s no problem with exploring new markets, introducing new lines and trying out new working practices. But, what your business is, at its core, can’t suddenly change; otherwise you run the risk of confusing and losing your customers.

Die Hard

Once upon a time - Christmas Eve, 1988, to be precise - the Nakatomi Corporation was holding its Christmas party in its new skyscraper, Nakatomi Plaza. This glass and chrome edifice was a symbol of the corporation’s towering success. But, unfortunately, it was targeted by ruthless international criminals who invaded the building, intent on robbing the vault of its $640 million in negotiable bearer bonds. Fortunately, they had reckoned without the fly in the Christmas ointment, the monkey in the Christmas wrench, known as police detective John McClane, who managed to single-handedly wreck their plans… and much of the building.

Unwrapping the story

Mr. Takagi is clearly a great boss, and Nakatomi is a profitable business. But, it made the terrible mistake of keeping that profit on site. If you’re in the fortunate position that your business is making good profits, you could consider putting that money to use. Employ new staff, or buy new stock, or upgrade that piece of equipment you need to expand your business.

It’s a Wonderful Life

Once upon a time George Bailey put his dreams on hold to run his family’s business. He did the best he could for his customers for years but, when things turned sour, all George could see were the problems. Like Scrooge before him, he failed to appreciate the people around him, so a supernatural being - this time, an angel called Clarence - gave him some perspective. He showed George something none of us can ever know without asking - the difference we make to the lives of our customers.

Unwrapping the story

Asking your customers for feedback isn’t about vanity, it’s about knowing that your business is attending to your customers’ needs in the best - and, therefore, most lucrative - way. Paying attention to your customers' feedback can help ensure you don’t fall into despair about how your business is doing.

You will remember that the film culminates with everyone in the community having a whip-round and saving George’s bacon. Building a community of customers who value you is literally the lifeblood of a good business. Support your community and, you might be surprised at how supportive your community will be in your moment of need.

Crowdfunding - as this financial model is now called - is a perfectly legitimate way of kickstarting a business or product line by energising your community into supporting the growth and expansion of your business.

Wrapping up

Well, there’s our selection of business lessons from Christmas movies. If you have your own favourites we’ve not included, feel free to find us on twitter or Facebook and share the Christmas joy.

Categories: Small Businesses

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