What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Horror Movies

What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Horror Movies

What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Horror Movies

By Mark Wager

If you are an entrepreneur then you would already be familiar with the sensation of horror, with 90% of businesses failing within the first five years. Starting a business as an entrepreneur can be a scary proposition and not many things will scare you yet there are many horror movies out there that will try their best to give you sleepless nights. It's the time of the year that you will want to curl up on a sofa and watch a series of horror movies yet while you watch them you may be unaware of what business lessons you can learn from the genre of horror. So let me explain how the process that has brought horror to your movie screen can show you how to remove the horror out of your business.

Know your ROI (Return on investment)

Did you know that some of the most profitable movies in history are horror movies? In fact, horror movies make up the top three most profitable movies based on return on investment. The number one movie is Paranormal Activity which made $89,336,168 at the box office from an initial budget of $450,000 which is an amazing return of 19,752% on investment. There are many movies that have considerably higher budgets than an average horror movie and even gross far more money at the box office, yet they end up not being profitable. This is why despite trends in movies changing from generation to generation there has always been and will always be horror movies.

In business the key to success is to know your ROI with any expenditure you make. Horror movies show us that its not the size of your budget that counts but the revenue in proportion to your investment that really matters. This is especially important when considering advertising, you need to be fully aware of what return you are getting on each dollar, whether it's paying for an advert in a magazine or on social media you need to know your ROI.

Identify and market to your true fans.

There are many horror fans out there and I include myself as one of them yet there are many more that like my wife consider just watching a horror movie a terrible idea and as far from entertainment as you can get. The makers of horror movies know that their audience is a minority of the wider movie audience which is why they never have big budgets but they know their audience and cater for them.

As entrepreneurs we all share the dream that our product or service will be embraced by everyone but the reality is that not everyone likes everything and if you focus on promoting yourself to the mass market you will fail. In the days of the iPad and social media it's easier than ever to market your product but it's also more difficult than ever to get yourself noticed just because there is just so much content out there for people to digest. The most successful way to overcome these challenges is to identify the people who are the biggest fans of your business and to focus on adding as much value as possible to them. If you do then your fans will become your advocates and these advocates will generate more sales than any salesperson can do for you. How many times have you watched a horror movie as a recommendation from someone else? The same principle applies when you identify your fans and turn them into advocates.

Always have a sequel lined up

If something works well once then it's highly likely a variation of that same idea will work well the next time. There's no doubt that if a horror movie is financially successful then a sequel won't be far away and most likely more than one. There have been twelve Friday 13th movies, ten Halloween movies and nine Nightmare on Elm Street movies. Horror movies are proof that once you identify your true fans then you can go back to your true fans for more business time and time again.
In business you should never view a transaction as a singular event and no customer should be considered a one-off. The most successful businesses are fully aware of the lifetime value of their customers and when they win a new client they have a strategy to deliver their customers initial needs but also a plan to develop a long term business relationship with that client. View each product or service as a single horror movie, what you need to focus on is what would be the sequel to your product or service, what else would your client need and how can you meet those future needs? Using myself as an example I deliver leadership training workshops for businesses, typically a one-day workshop but that leads into a series of other workshops including coaching in the workplace, dealing with conflict, managing poor performance and even specialised individual coaching, one single sale can easily lead into a series of sales because I'm aware of the sequels to my own movie. A sale will keep you in business but an ongoing business relationship will build you a successful business.

You need to be brave to watch a horror movie just as you have to be brave to go into business as an entrepreneur but like everything that scares you the only way to overcome fear is to face it head on because in business as in life the only thing that separates you and the life that you want is fear.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Posted: Thursday 27 October 2016


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