You say you want to be an entrepreneur? Congratulations! But before you break out the champagne and scrape together a game plan, it’s probably a good idea to consider a few key points that any business owner should know and implement.
Disclaimer time: I’ve never personally started a company even though I’m fascinated by the idea. So, to keep things interesting and not annoy any kindred entrepreneurial spirits who hate unsolicited “you should” advice, I’ve decided to relate those 5 things to the 1993 cult classic film, Jurassic Park, which clearly failed as a viable business but maybe not for all of the surface-level reasons you’d expect. You ready? Let’s do this!
Do Your Research
Look, folks; research is important. You’re one of the lucky ones if your ideas pop into your head pre-formulated and thoroughly plotted, but that’s not how it usually happens. You have to make like Sherlock Holmes and take those ideas, write them down, and dissect the crap out of them before putting them into play in business. Otherwise you’ll end up doing something stupid like using unstable frog DNA to fill in the genetic gaps needed to create enormous, carnivorous predators that have been extinct for thousands of years.
And we all know how that turned out (hint: not well). But hey, if you can live with that, then proceed at full speed with your ill-researched plans. See if it works out any better for you. But I kind of doubt it will.
Listen to All Ideas and Don’t Make Character Assumptions, Because Sometimes Rationality Comes from Unlikely Places
Remember the scene in Jurassic Park when Ian Malcolm, a mathematician and chaos theorist, told the park owner that he thought it was a terrible idea to bring back the dinosaurs, and no one listened because he was “just a mathematician” and not a dinosaur expert? Or the scenes where the little boy, Tim, seemed to know more about dinosaurs than the park employees themselves? Or how about the one where a teenage girl was the only person who knew how to crack a UNIX code to close the doors and keep the velociraptors from feasting on their innards?
Yeah, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. You never know where a good idea is going to come from or who may possess the skills to get the job done, so make a point to listen to everyone who you’ve actively involved in your creative process. Consider the logic behind the suggestion itself, not the person who’s made it. That’s only going to benefit you in the end.
Have a Backup Plan
John Hammond, the fictional creator of Jurassic Park, was a kindly old man with good intentions and an awful contingency plan. Actually, we could even argue that he didn’t have much of a contingency plan in the first place.
How did he fail? He didn’t consider every possible scenario. Hammond spent exorbitant amounts of money on a secluded island and talented scientists to create the dinosaurs that would live on the secluded island, but his emergency plan left a lot to be desired. If he had studied anything about tropical storms, then he would’ve known the extent of their damage capabilities (that goes back to the first tip: Do Your Research!). And as a result of that knowledge, he should have come up with a Plan B and a Plan C in case the electric fences went out. This is a dinosaur park we’re talking about, not a petting zoo!
Oh, and maybe he shouldn’t have put the power center on the other side of the freakin’ island so employees would have to risk their lives to get there. There was enough money for high-tech electric fences and a lifetime supply of ice cream, but there wasn’t money in the budget for some kind of underground tunnel in case of all hell breaking loose? Come on…
Stay Focused Under Pressure
In the words of another science fiction genius, Douglas Adams – don’t panic! All of the most nerve-racking Jurassic Park scenes could have been avoided if the party in question had just taken a second to think clearly instead of freaking out. Think of the teenage girl, Lex, when she and her little brother were alone in the car and confronted with a raging Tyrannosaurus Rex. A calm person wouldn’t have lunged for the industrial-sized flashlight and flailed around like a nut bar – a calm person would have remembered anything at all about dinosaurs and stayed still until the threat passed.
In other words: Be an Ellie Sattler or an Alan Grant. Neither one of them lost their heads (figuratively OR literally) at Jurassic Park because they knew panic wouldn’t help them survive. If a crisis does arise, then manage it to the best of your ability without getting irrational and letting anger cloud your judgment. Your very survival may depend on it.
Remember That Life Always Finds a Way
Life happens. There are some things we can’t plan for unless we’re able to glimpse our futures, and we have two options when those things come into play: either A) accept them and move on the best we know how, or B) get the hell out before it’s too late. Luckily for the Jurassic Park survivors, John Hammond chose the latter. Can you imagine what would have happened if he’d tried to stay and salvage the park? It would have claimed his life as well as the lives of others! My point is that sometimes your business ideas will sink, and you’ll sink with it if you hold on to its dead weight for dear life.
To recap, here’s what entrepreneurs can take away from Jurassic Park if they want to avoid an unfortunate and untimely end:
- Delve into your niche before dropping your life savings on it. That means you have to research the competition, figure out how to meet customers’ needs while making a viable profit, study the pitfalls, and craft an airtight business plan. You’ll get eaten alive if you don’t.
- Listen to the experts AND the underdogs. Even Albert Einstein had to start somewhere, and he was only a patent clerk when he thought of the Theory of Relativity. Who says that multi-million-dollar ideas couldn’t come from an unlikely source?
- Consider every outcome and prepare for the worst, even if you’re optimistic to a fault. It’s infinitely better to be over-prepared than underprepared.
- Don’t lose your head when that initial dread sets in. Sure, the rules are a bit different when you’re being pursued by freaky fast dinosaurs that want to have you for dinner. However, most everyday situations are better solved by calmness and logic than by panic…
- Do the best you can if life comes up with a new plan for you. Obviously it’s ideal to run a successful business, but a failed business doesn’t equate to being a failure. If at first you don’t succeed, pull yourself off the ground and try again!
Did you learn anything about business or entrepreneurship from watching Jurassic Park? Are my examples way off and you want to tell me about it? What’s your favorite scene from the movie (yes, I know the book was good as well)? Leave a comment below!
*This is a guest post by Jill Tooley*