Running a business isn’t easy. It takes smarts, quick reaction times, and a willingness to get in trouble. At the same time, it takes a persistently realistic optimism that few people can maintain.
As a child born in the 1980’s, I watched a LOT of TV and every Saturday afternoon the local TV station would play one of the original Star Wars movies, in their pre-special edition glory.
Whether reciting lines while swinging broomsticks at each other in the backyard or pretending our boring old GI-Joe’s were in fact Han and Chewie, I was born a Star Wars fan.
I grew out of a lot of things, but Star Wars was not one of them. So as I started my business after college, I liked to think of what my favorite heroes from a galaxy far far away would do in my shoes. As it turns out, I think Han Solo would have made a pretty savvy business owner.
Here are a few of my favorite Solo one-liners or philosophies, and why they are pitch-perfect for planning your own business strategy.
Always Shoot First
Han shot first – no argument there (unless you’re George Lucas). But why?
Not just why did he shoot first in the ’77 release, but why do we care so much about whether he shot first?
The reason Han Solo is such a lovable character is that he at first, wasn’t. He was pessimistic and greedy, and didn’t care about anyone except himself (and possibly Chewie).
Like a lot of business owners.
But sometime between that shot to Greedo’s gut and the Millennium Falcon’s fly by as Luke destroyed the Death Star, he changed a bit.
He bought into a larger cause – one that affected other people – and it changed his life for the better. In business it’s all about finding a greater cause. Money is all fine and good, but if it’s the ONLY thing you’re after, you won’t make it very far in any home business.
“Let Him Have It. It’s Not Wise to Upset a Wookie.”
Is really isn’t wise to upset a Wookie, a good piece of advice for a whiney droid or a business owner pushing the wrong buttons with his customers.
It’s easy to get a big head when you’re the boss. You get to make all the decisions at home, so why not online where you actually run your business?
It’s the biggest mistake you can make – feeling that YOU are more important than THEM. So don’t upset the wookie – the customer in this case – let him have it.
“I Expect to Be Well Paid. I’m In It for the Money.”
It’s all fine and good to recognize that there is more to running a business than money, but you still need to make money.
Focus TOO MUCH on making your customers happy and not enough on improving the bottom line and all you do is go broke.
You should expect to be well paid and the goal of your efforts should be to make money. The key to success is to remember that you are in fact part of the revolution as well, though, and that means being at the front lines.
“Traveling Through Hyperspace Ain’t Like Dusting Crops, Farm Boy.”
No matter how ramshackle your business might seem – if you’re working on your couch surrounded by snacks and notebooks filled with ideas – precision is the key to success.
The people who succeed are not the ones who buy the fanciest new computers or brag about their experiences in previous jobs. They are the ones that recognize just how hard running a business really is and take the time to chart out precise calculations to get to their destination – in this case, monetary success.
“Never Tell Me the Odds!”
Sometimes business ownership is a little irrational. You’re going against all conventional wisdom, ignoring your friends and family, and going out on your own.
You could VERY easily crash and burn, and roughly 18 out of every 20 people who try it fail.
So how are you going to be any different? You just are, right?
A good home business owner is one that refuses to hear the odds, no matter how stacked against them they are. I didn’t care that most people failed to do what I do. I just did it. And here I am, almost 7 years later, more successful than I could have ever imagined (with room still to grow).
“Bring ’em On! I Prefer a Straight Fight to all This Sneakin’ Around!”
There are two types of home business owners – the ones that read and read and read, never quite taking action, either because they aren’t “quite ready” or because they are afraid of making the wrong decisions.
Then there are the runners and gunners. The ones that go out and do something, whether it’s the smart decision or not. These are the Han Solos of the home business world, and they tend to be the more successful among us.
It’s not universal of course. There are plenty of act first, think later types who flare out fast, but if you don’t act at all, you obviously can’t do anything, let alone flare out.
Be like Han. Whip out your blaster rifle and chase those Stormtroopers as far as you can. Stop sneaking around and do something. Be the guy that acts first and thinks later. Sure, you’ll mess up a few times, but at least then you can learn from your mistakes.
“I Don’t Know. I Can Imagine Quite a Bit.”
Stop setting limits. If you aim to replace your paycheck from the grocery store, that’s all you’ll ever make. Aim higher…a lot higher. Aim to make as much money as you WANT, not as much as you NEED.
At the same time, be realistic. Set intermittent goals. Don’t set goals you can’t even come close to ($1 million in 1 month? Come back to earth please), but don’t set goals that you can beat without trying.
What about you? Are you pre-rebellion Han, starting with only money in mind, or are you coming around to your greater responsibility – to your customers and yourself? Either way, you and the smuggler have a lot in common.