Entrepreneurship Advice Buried in Classic Movies
By J.D. Harrison, Small Business and Entrepreneurship Reporter, Washington Post, @jd_harrison
Venture capitalists, business mentors, fellow startup executives -- they’re all great sources of advice for starting and running a young company.
Evidently, so too are Ferris Bueller and Forrest Gump.
On Small Business, The Washington Post’s small business and entrepreneurship channel, asked entrepreneurs from across the country which classic movie quotes offer the best insight or advice for business owners. Scroll down to see our top ten favorites, learn why they were chosen, and hopefully, take away a lesson or two to help you manage your own startup.
To see the full list, check out our online gallery.
Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains." Bull Durham (1988)
"You have to be ready for the peaks and valleys, the wins and the losses, but you also have to keep your mind nimble and ready to react to the unexpected. There is always something ready to roll over the horizon. It could be clear skies or stormy weather, but you have to be ready either way." -- TJ Jackson, president and chief executive of Buffalo Supply Inc. in Lafayette, Colo.
"My mama always said life was like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get." Forrest Gump (1994)
"Entrepreneurship is similar to that box of chocolates; you never know how it's going to turn out but always hoping you get the best piece possible." -- Ben Lang, founder of EpicLaunch in New York, N.Y.
"Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads." Back to the Future (1985)
"On the surface, this quote represents a future technological achievement that is hidden to the current generation. Entrepreneurs, however, can see the deeper meaning because they make their own roads outside of what society has paved for them. The theme of this film is true to the spirit of entrepreneurship because it empowers the individual to take responsibility to the world and to make a better future. It is our density... I mean destiny." -- Dmitriy Katsel, founder of AdU Network in Studio City, Cali.
"We all go a little mad sometimes." Psycho (1960)
"Does it really need an explanation?" -- Steve Ferree, owner of Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Portland/Vancouver
"A million dollars isn't cool. You know what's cool? A billion dollars." The Social Network (2010)
"You've got to think and dream big and work backwards from an end goal. Tomorrow's leaders won't be satisfied with mere millions in revenues and/or profits." -- Chris Hurn, president and chief executive of Mercantile Capital Corporation in Almatonte Springs, Fl.
"I think the question we should be asking is, do you believe in this thing or not?" Moneyball (2011)
"Small business owners have all looked in the mirror and asked that question, and when the answer was 'yes,' the hardest part was the next decision Billy Beane made: 'Now, we're gonna see this thing though, for better or worse.'" -- Dan Galbraith, owner of Solutionist in Greensburg, Pa.
"Coffee's for closers" Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
"At Hugh & Crye, we're not exactly tethered to our phones and working from prospect pools like the movie. But we do think of "closing" as finishing a task that has a measurable impact on the business - could be the launch of a new product, inking a deal with a new channel partner, or securing a press mention." -- Pranav Vora, founder and chief executive of Hugh & Crye in Washington, D.C.
"The question isn't 'what are we going to do,' the question is 'what aren't we going to do?'" Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
"It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day hard work of running a business and completely forget that while solving problems and building something you can be proud of, you also have an incredible opportunity to shape the future. Even better, you have the chance to meet amazing people and do amazing things along the way. It's important not to get lost among the trees and forget about the amazing, beautiful forest you're planting." -- Colin Wright, co-founder, Asymmetrical Press in Columbia, Mo.
“Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night” All About Eve (1950)
"Running a small start-up business is not an easy task. There will be ups and downs and you need to be prepared for them." -- Grafton “Cap” Willey, managing director of CBIZ Tofias in Providence, R.I.
"If you build it, they will come." Field of Dreams (1989)
“This is actually bad advice from the movie Field of Dreams. Why bad advice? Most startups focus so much on product (building it!) that they forget about customers and network: Customers, because they need to pay for it, and network, because without a community of power fans around your start-up, it will be very hard to scale.” -- Scott Case, chief executive of Startup America and founder of Priceline.
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