At first glance, zombies give the appearance of mindless, flesh-eating creatures from nightmares everywhere and well, they are. But what you might not have realized is what zombies can teach us about small business. I will be the first to admit, I’m not an expert on zombies, having never had to fight off a hungry horde of them myself, but it doesn’t take an expert to see these five zombie-to-business parallels.
1. What do we want? Brains! When do we want it? Brains!
You need brains to run a business. Not just yours, but your support team. From the business pitch to the actual day-to-day running of your business, the people you pick to be on your team need to be smart and creative and able to find ways to make your dream for your business into a reality. Don’t skimp on your hires. Go for the best.
2. Zombies* never say die.
No matter what happens to them, zombies seem to keep going. It takes a certain kind of single mindedness to keep walking, even when you have some pretty heavy damage or setbacks. Not to say you shouldn’t stop and assess once in a while. Even a zombie will fall down once he loses his legs, but that doesn’t stop him from crawling.
When your business hits a seasonal or economical setback, don’t let it be the end of you. Just because things look hopeless, doesn’t mean they are. Asses every possible avenue that allows you to keep going.
3. Ugly little things.
Zombies are not the most handsome creatures, but just like the honey badger, zombies don’t care. You shouldn’t either. If your startup doesn’t need to throw cash into an office space that rivals Google? Then don’t. Unless how your office looks is your business, don’t spend the capital you have with blinging out your receptionist area.
4. Let’s all go back to the barn together! Alright?
Zombies amble. They meander. But when they sense something they want, they merge into a single-minded mass with one purpose and they don’t stop until they get it into their hands. As the human in this scenario, the best possible solution to stay out of trouble is to stay informed of the plan and keep together. Everyone knows what happens to the one who lags behind or tries to go it alone.
Everyone on your team will have a different set of job objectives to achieve, but once a higher goal for the company is set, everyone should gather into one group and bring all their projects into alignment with that one goal. Safety in numbers.
5. MacGyver knows what to do with your duct tape, lead pipe and bottle of window cleaner. Do you?
Not everyone is lucky enough to find themselves trapped in an armory full of weapons when the zombie apocalypse happens. Sometimes you’re out on your own, in an empty field, with a hungry horde on your heels. So what do you do?
Improvise. Use those brains and adapt to the changes that are nipping at your business. You have resources, use them! Check out your local Small Business Development Center or SCORE offices, Chamber of Commerce or other local government offices. Go online and find support groups or resources that will get you past your current quandary or set you on the right path. Or re-purpose what you do know. Cut back that spend you have for traditional advertising and reinvest it into a new social media strategy.
Chances are you’ll never find yourself running from a zombie mob, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared for one. And with all the things out there that could go wrong with your business dream, it’s important to keep your strengths as a entrepreneur in mind.
Don’t give up at the first sign of trouble, get your plan together, trust your team and stick together.
*Apologies to The Goonies for borrowing their slogan.
(Many thanks to Tammy Wanzer from westsanjose.org/gravemistake/ for letting me use her picture!)