Whether or not their favorite characters came out on top — or for that matter, made it out alive — at the conclusion of “Game of Thrones,” entrepreneurs have been finding that they can take away some valuable lessons from the acclaimed television show.
Between the sex and violence (and dragons), savvy viewers are uncovering steadfast business strategy that withstands the test of time. By taking notes from the characters vying to gain the Iron Throne, entrepreneurs can improve their marketing techniques and insights. Here are a few gems:
1. Build Alliances
Nobody is able to win the Iron Throne alone, and the world of business is no different from Westeros on this count. Building alliances with colleagues, other companies, or even clients can help strengthen your position within the market. Creating alliances can be beneficial in several ways. First, working together often helps highlight your own strengths and weaknesses. Finding a partner to help you recognize and address your weaknesses can only improve your bottom line.
And the right alliances can be huge time-savers. Imagine that you start to outsource tasks to another partner company to handle administrative duties. Making an alliance with a company that helps with payroll, scheduling, or data entry can free up valuable time. When you have more time to tackle high-value tasks, such as focusing on sales, marketing, and operations, your company ends up being more successful in the end.
2. Guard Your Secrets
Just like in Game of Thrones, the more you know in the marketing world, the more your position can prosper. Be careful when sifting through information — know which whispers can be discarded, and which should be held close to the vest. The more you know, the better.
Likewise, it’s equally important to safeguard your own information. A great way to keep your secrets safe is to utilize the cloud. Storing important information and documents in the cloud guarantees that only qualified users will be able to gain access to them. Additionally, cloud storage makes access to the documents extremely convenient. Users generally can access the cloud from anywhere in the world with the aid of a simple internet connection.
3. Stay Prepared
The Stark house words ring true in business operations, as well: Winter is coming. The words imply that one should always prepare for rough times well before the first snowflakes start to fall. In business, this can mean prospecting for new clients, developing new products, or enhancing existing services. In marketing, it means always having new ideas in the works to keep the pipeline full.
It also helps to understand that the current market conditions might not hold true for the foreseeable future, and be ready with a prepared financial backup plan. When your company is prepared for a downturn or recession, you can brace for impact and come out no worse for wear on the other side. Proactivity is what sets you apart from the competition and ensures that your company can survive the winter.
4. Enjoy Downtime
While we may not be able to sip the finest wines in beautiful Dorne like Tyrion, we can certainly appreciate the value of downtime. As a business owner, you’re constantly in motion, working to improve your product, employee satisfaction, and keep your business running. Over time, the constant work grind can wear you down and become detrimental to overall performance. It is important to understand the value of downtime and enjoy a vacation.
It’s been proven that creativity and productivity can spike following a vacation, which can only help your business in the end. Vacations do not have to be long, or to exotic destinations; simply being able to step away from work and relax your reflexes for a moment will improve your psychological state of mind.
5. Don’t Get Comfortable
Your company is running smoothly, products are flying off the shelves, and the money is pouring in, hand over fist. Everything is great, right? While you can certainly relish a job well done, it is important to remember to never get too comfortable.
Marketing strategy thrives on being able to evolve and change to offer new and innovative ideas, products, and services to your clients. As soon as you begin to sit back and relax, your competition will move ahead of you. It’s safe to assume that your competition is always moving toward a better product also, so don’t get complacent.
Stay creative and productive, and remember that chaos is a ladder: The craziest times can produce the most innovative thinking, and those times can propel your business ahead when they’re leveraged correctly. By mixing up routines and strategy, you can elevate your company to new heights.
6. Protect Your Kingdom
Consider the location where you choose to set up your company as your own kingdom. This is your chance to stake your claim on an area of the world and make it your own. When selecting the right area in which to establish your new company, choose a city that benefits your overall business goals.
Try to find a location that matches the vibe and identity of your product or service — or perhaps a city that benefits both employees and company with a low cost of living. Many smaller cities, such as Kansas City, boast comparatively low rents and short commute times, which means your company pays less each month to rent a facility and consequently can dedicate more resources to operations and promotion.
In this way, finding an affordable city for your HQ can not only stretch employees’ paychecks, but also can help bring in more money to your company’s bottom line, as well.
7. Bounce Back Quickly
We all make mistakes and missteps; it’s a part of life and of running a small business. What matters is how you’re able to recover from your mistakes. All too often, business people find themselves too invested in a product, service, or alliance that simply does not work out. An awareness of the time and money already dedicated to the failed project makes them reluctant to change course, and eventually the mismatch can take them down.
Where successful businesses thrive, though, is in being able to recognize a sinking ship and cut ties early. It doesn’t help to wallow in a failed endeavor; it’s better simply to accept that an idea did not work and then move on, proceeding from the understanding that it’s just part of the process of running a successful business.
8. Watch What You Post
“What is dead may never die.” These Greyjoy house words were repeated throughout the series, and they could be applied to the marketing world with a modern adjustment: “What is posted may never die.”
As a business owner, you need to be particularly conscious about the content of online material that is posted on your company’s behalf. Social media is a very powerful tool that can help reach your potential customer base, no matter how far away, but it should be approached with respect. Even if human memories seem to be wiped after every 24-hour news cycle, the things that are posted online can be found practically forever after.
Online platforms give you the flexibility to create engaging and communicative content that gives your customers an inside look at your company. But use this tool carefully, and always be sure that what you’re posting is appropriate. Even if you have the capability to delete posts, there is always a chance that a client or customer saw the content and has a record (or at least a memory) of it.
9. Know Your Audience
Just as Daenerys changed her approach for each new territory she conquered, you need to do the same for your company. Understanding your audience is key to a successful marketing platform. Fully learn about every aspect of your target audience and use this information to your benefit. Cater your marketing tactics around the styles, preferences, needs, and wants of your audience.
This practice can also work when learning about your competition. Just as you’ve learned everything you can about who you’re selling to, also learn everything you can about who you’re selling against. Knowing what your competition is doing and how they are marketing can help grow your own awareness about your business and client base.
10. Pay Your Debts
Battles are costly, even the proverbial marketplace battles. While marketing costs are to be expected throughout the year, don’t get surprised with a hefty tax bill due at the end. A great deal of expenses certainly are involved in running a business, but many are tax-deductible.
Navigating the ins and outs of business tax law can be complicated. Fortunately, there are online tools that can help. Utilizing an online tax calculator can help keep your business expenses organized. Not only will these tools help you calculate year-end tax deductions, but they also can help forecast the amount of money that will be owed (or returned!) at the end of the year.
11. Fly Your Sigil
The fierce direwolf of House Stark. The golden lion of House Lannister. Your sigil is what helps identify you to the rest of the kingdom, and presenting an appropriate brand for your company is no different. You brand sets you apart from the competition, so whatever your sigil is, make sure to fly it proudly. Branded marketing materials speak volumes about your company, and you want to make sure you’re making a good first impression.
Traveling to trade shows, conferences, and other networking opportunities can be a great way to spread the word about your company and meet new colleagues and potential clients. These events take time and planning, so make sure your sigil or brand is putting your company’s best foot forward. Start working on branded materials well ahead of your trade show date to make sure you’re prepared and ready to present your company.
12. Honor Hospitality
When you invite people into your home or business, always be hospitable. This applies to clients, partners, and competitors alike. Welcoming people to your space will speak volumes about the type of company you run, ultimately impacting your reputation, which can make a world of difference toward your prospects. Even with the most amazing product, a poor reputation can completely tarnish a company’s performance and outlook. Remember the golden rule and treat others the way you would like to be treated.
The business world can be treacherous, with many considerations to navigate. However, you’ll likely never have to fight for your life against ice-hearted zombies or protect your castle from dragon attack, so you’re already ahead of the game there. Using the wisdom from Westeros and the tools of modern technology, you can keep your business intact and profitable into the future.
Article By Laura Gayle, Business Woman Guide