Learn valuable business lessons from horror movies this Halloween


Many of us will tonight be firing up some of our favourite horror movies to get us into the fright night spirit. But did you know that hidden in these scream-inducing films are also plenty of business lessons?

Take a look at these eight valuable business lessons you can learn from your favourite horror movies to show that running your business doesn’t have to be scary.

*Warning: may contain spoilers*

1. Be Prepared!

There’s a lot we can learn from some of the critical failures in horror movies. Broken down cars, mobiles with no battery and power outages are all key offenders in times of trouble. And the one thing that could have saved the day in each situation? Preparation!

Likewise, in business you should be prepared for some of the challenges and obstacles you could face. What would you do when faced with a cash flow shortage? How would you tackle a late payment? And could your business survive without its key staff?

It’s vital to be able to answer all of these questions. So, the next time someone jokingly says “what’s the worst that could happen?”, make sure you know the answer and have plans in place for all of those situations.

2. Develop a solid team

That moment always gets us. You know the one – when someone suggests splitting up or decides to go off and explore on their own and we end up hearing screams.

It’s never a good idea, yet in every horror film it happens like clockwork.

The moral of the story is don’t try and be a hero and do everything on your own. Develop a solid team and tackle the task together to give your business the best chance of success.

Whether it’s a case of hiring the right staff or outsourcing key tasks to the experts, ensure that your team works well together because whilst survival depends on your team, failure can also be attributed to bad team dynamics.

Take “The Blair Witch Project” as an example. Three filmmakers entered a haunted forest looking for a great story but none of them handled stress very well and eventually turned on each other.

3. Treat everyone with respect

Ever noticed how the liars, cheats and jerks are the ones who always die before the end of the film?

In fact, in the movie “Carrie” the only person to survive is the one girl who was nice to her. If that’s not a good enough reason to be nice and respectful we don’t know what is.

It’s unlikely that your attitude will cause a telekinetic schoolgirl to incinerate a high school prom but being disrespectful in the workplace can cause your business to lose customers, develop a bad reputation and limit your chances of future success.

So always treat everyone with respect – even those you don’t necessarily like or get along with.

4. Arm yourself with the appropriate tools

If there’s one thing that we’ve learned from horror movies it’s that, if you’re going to go wander around an abandoned building or a creepy house alone, it’s wise to take a weapon.

Likewise, when facing the demons of the business world you will also need to arm yourself with the appropriate tools for success.

For example, manufacturing businesses will need the right plant, equipment and machinery in order to fulfil orders to satisfactory levels.

Also, to maintain a healthy cash flow you may need to be equipped with a suitable funding facility that meets your needs.

And, to effectively tackle late payment, you’ll need to arm yourself with an efficient credit control policy.

5. Always check references and reviews

In business we’re often required to work with other people. Whether it’s recruiting staff, enlisting the help of an outsourced provider or developing a partnership with another company it’s vital that you always get to know and trust those that you are working with.

Yet, when it comes to horror movies the characters are always letting people into their lives who turn out to be psychotic.

So don’t make the same mistake. Always check the references of those that you are employing and the reviews of businesses that you are considering working with. This due diligence will ensure that you only work with those that value your business as much as you do.

6. Take responsibility for your actions

Everyone makes mistakes. It’s how we deal with those mistakes that determines our future success.

Take the 1997 film “I Know What You Did Last Summer” as an example of how ignoring your mistakes can have disastrous consequences.

After killing a pedestrian, a group of teenagers decide to hide the body and pretend it never happened. But failing to do the right thing puts them in serious danger from a mysterious killer.

Whilst ignoring your mistakes probably won’t put you in physical danger it could damage your business.

So, when you make a mistake don’t pretend it didn’t happen. Take responsibility for your actions, see what you can learn from the experience and let it help guide you in future situations.

7. Trust your instincts

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this” and “I don’t think we should go in there” are common phrases in horror films. There’s always that scene where a character has a bad feeling about a person, a place or even an object. But, rather than trust their instincts and run away they ignore them and end up dead.

Failing to trust your instincts when it comes to your business won’t end quite so badly but it can set your company back. So, learn to listen to your instincts. If you have a bad or a weird feeling about something the chances are you’re right, so at the very least take extra caution when proceeding.

8. Face your fears

Just like your favourite horror movies can be terrifying, there are times when running a business can be incredibly scary, especially when you’re just starting out.

With numerous responsibilities and potential risks to face it can be tempting to give up and run away. But the key to success is learning to face your fears.

For example, in the 1975 blockbuster thriller “Jaws”, Police Chief Martin Brody is terrified of water. But in the end he’s forced to face his fears and take on the shark alone to save the day and make the beaches safe once again.

Likewise, if you can find the courage to put aside your fears, you’ll be in a better position to overcome your problems and achieve success.

What’s your favourite horror movie? Could you learn anything from it?


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