Lights, Camera, Action!

Your entrepreneurial adventure can be just like a great movie.
Magazine Contributor
4 min read

This story appears in the November 2002 issue of . Subscribe »

You should be in pictures. Really, you should. Take all those college dreams about becoming a cutting-edge filmmaker or screen star off that shelf and dust them off. You can turn your entrepreneurial dream into a movie-complete with a script, a cast of characters, a villain and a theme song, with you in the director's chair.

Sounds a little unbelievable, right? How can a movie plot help you build your business? According to Scott Jeffrey, business coach and author of Journey to the Impossible: Designing an Extraordinary Life, "Your life is a living, breathing movie. You can create an unforgettable, action-packed adventure or a hilarious comedy." Check out the following steps for making your entrepreneurial movie into a blockbuster:

  • Write a script. Write out your vision clearly on paper. Ask yourself: What kind of story do I want? Where do I see my business going three years from now? Here is also where you will define the nature of your business-the identity of the business itself. "What does the marketplace believe about your product [or service]?" says Jeffrey. "Come up with your brand identity and your competitive advantage."
  • Cast your characters. "Your cast of characters is your team," says Jeffrey. You'll be in the leading role, while your supporting players are your employees, clients and customers as well as anyone you do business with on a consistent basis. Who do you want to surround yourself with? How will you communicate with them? How will you strategize with your team? A great ensemble is key to a successful business.
· Did you know that the silver screen can teach you a thing or two about sales? Here are a few of our favorite sales-savvy flicks.
  • Define your villain. Every entrepreneur faces obstacles they must overcome, just like every great story has a source of conflict, or villain, which propels the hero to greatness. "Entrepreneurs get into situations that seem insurmountable," says Jeffrey. "Look at that challenge as the villain that must be overcome. What is Spider-Man without The Green Goblin? Who is Luke Skywalker without Darth Vader? [Villains] propel you on your adventure."
  • Pick your theme song. Every good movie has a melodic theme running through it that ties the whole thing together. Really, would Titanic have been the same movie without the heart-tugging ballad "My Heart Will Go On"? Jeffrey suggests that you literally pick a song that you can play during trying times-or just to get your cast excited to move forward. "Pick a song that gets everyone juiced," he says. "There's certain music you put on that triggers creativity." Go as far as putting together a whole soundtrack that evokes emotions and thoughts conducive to a healthy and happy business.
  • Get in the director's chair. So yeah, you're the star...but you're also sitting in the director's chair (think Mel Gibson in Braveheart). It's your responsibility to guide the vision of the movie, and, according to Jeffrey, a director doesn't watch the film unfold-a director makes it unfold. "If you talk to anyone wildly successful in business, [those people] knew where they wanted to take it from the start," he says. Still, don't confuse being a director with being a dictator. You want to guide the business-but also be open to ideas and suggestions from your ensembleat the same time. And while you won't be able to control external circumstances such as market shifts, you can control how you deal with those circumstances. "A lot of people don't realize that they are in control of their movies," says Jeffrey. "The environment isn't dictating what we're creating."

Now, armed with all that-go and create a brilliant business-turned-movie. Just don't forget to thank us in your Oscar speech.

Cut! And that's a wrap!


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