You may not be a country music fan, but if you don’t have, “I Saw a Tiger” on repeat right now, you’re missing out. What else are you missing out on when it comes to business lessons to glean from Joe, Carole, and the gang?…
Control your drive. What exactly went wrong for Joe Exotic? Well, pretty much everything. But how does a charismatic, creative business owner skid so far off the tracks? He lacked control. He lost focus. He let feuds and that tantalizing minx that is fame distract from his core business. For those of us who lead with passion and enthusiasm, life can be a balancing act. That need to chase the next shiny thing can distract from staying focused on clients, on the process, on service, and on growing the core business. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying “stay the course” is always the answer. Not at all. Especially in chaotic times, it’s okay to take a step back, reevaluate, and shift course. In fact, for many businesses, that very three-step process has allowed them to weather the proverbial storm, stay relevant, and even thrive. For those who live with big passion and an entrepreneurial spirit, dream big. Try new things. Venture into unknowns. But do it thoughtfully and don’t ignore or starve what got you here.
Culture Matters! The bright-eyed, cheetah print legging wearing volunteers at Big Cat Rescue would have been utterly horrified meeting some of Joe’s hard-knock life employees. You either aspire to the next level volunteer shirt or you’re happy you can bring your gun to work and feast on expired Walmart meat. There’s not much in between. Every business has a culture, and the successful ones are intentional about that culture. They foster it, hire for it, and recognize when someone just doesn’t quite settle into that perfect cultural fit. It’s much easier to train someone on your workflow than it is to train them on how to fit in with your people and your firm outlook. Your firm’s culture will develop whether you are intentional about it or not, so be careful not to have a firm culture that develops simply by default.
Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. I am not, I repeat, am NOT suggesting that you allow big cats to roam your office as a marketing effort. I’m also not suggesting branded tiger cubs as a new firm swag item. I am suggesting that bold, innovative, out-of-box ideas have changed the trajectory of many a business. Notice I didn’t say the trajectory is always an “upward” one. It is, in fact, a mixed bag. But don’t let that scare you away! Step outside of your comfort zone. Look in a corner you would normally ignore. Do all of this thoughtfully and with intention. As we embrace a new normal right now, firms have been forced to pivot and think carefully about their marketing and advertising decisions. Tried and true car wreck ads may not strike the right chord when our audience is quarantined. Now is the time for different and unique.
Read BUSINESS IN THE FRONT: Firm Lessons from Tiger King