Disclaimer: This is NOT an advertisement for the Walking Dead. This article, this author, and any companies involved in the show are affiliated with AMC. Nor should they be yelled at if you decide to let your kids watch The Walking Dead just because you read this article. Come on, man. Also, this article will in no way, shape, or form offer any spoilers. We just happen to like the show and liked the thought of “lessons learned” from it.
I resisted it for years. I giggled at the new breed of die-hard “Dead Heads.” Every Sunday night, I saw passionate, “all caps” tweets and posts from friends, young and old, parents and children, grandparents, ministers, etc. The appeal seemed to be enthralling. I, however, am a natural born rebel. Typically, the more intensely someone tries to make me to get on board with the supposed latest trend, the more emphatically I cross my arms. I don’t know why they won’t let me make my own decisions. I wouldn’t say I’m a conspiracy theorist, but I will say the listening devices the government puts in our fingernails are growing larger and more obvious every day.
But I digest.
Luckily, one day I found myself at home with the flu. And because AMC created The Walking Dead, and they own any and all rights to view it and show it, they will quite often marathon the episodes, especially when a knew season or half-season is around the bend. This was one of those days. And because I had the flu, I thought, “Okay, fine.” I fully expected to come away with a multiple-point essay of why The Walking Dead was overrated. It took a while for me to become entranced. And when I say “a while” I mean the end of the first episode. So not really “a while.” And instead of multiple-points of sarcasm, I came away with a bevy of life-lessons.
Ironically, a show called “The Walking Dead” has inspired 8 great life-lessons that are especially true for local business owners. If you’ve ever watched the show, you know it’s great (also graphic and INTENSE, so be advised). Whether or not you’ve ever seen the show, or ever plan to, we hope these lessons prove valuable to you and your business.
MARKETING: making sure your target audience sees your message
Is turning your vision into a Fortune 500 Company the only real victory? Absolutely not! In TWD, it doesn’t matter how many thousands of zombies you’ve decapitated if you don’t survive the next attack. In the business world, making millions in the first 5 years is great, unless you go bankrupt in year #6. The real victors are the business owners who steadily keep their enterprise afloat and profitable until they’re ready to go out on their own terms.
It happens every stinkin’ time on The Walking Dead. The characters have a victory of some kind, and as soon as they relax, Gram-Gram (not a real character) gets eaten. Again. In the life of a small business owner, the moment you relax enough to let your guard down is quite often the same moment that everything falls apart. Vigilance may be tiring, but it also might save your business. More times than you know.
In a post-apocalyptic world with no government, no manufacturing, and no new resources, it’s very important to use or preserve any resources you can find. Similarly, in the world of small business, resourcefulness and thriftiness may never make you rich. But that combination might help you keep all your hard-earned profits from slipping away.
We all know what this means. I don’t really feel the need to break it down. Just embrace it, and let’s move on. Unless you’re a nice guy. And then you’re destined to become a dead zombie. And zombies can’t read, so I can say what I want to.
Pretending you don’t have a problem does not mean the problem isn’t real. Pretending you’re safe doesn’t mean your business is secure. If you aren’t selling enough new widgets to keep payroll afloat, stop throwing “nothing’s wrong” luncheons for your employees. Just be honest. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do.
Picking a fight with a Marine is a personal choice. Picking a fight with 10 Marines is a dumb choice. Fight when you have to, but use your brain before you use your fists. Not only could unnecessary business entanglements damage your reputation or bank account, but they also zap away time, energy, and focus that you could have used in growing your business.
In The Walking Dead, meek housewives become Snipers. Pizza-Delivery Boys become Soldiers. Stay-at-home Moms become Samurai Warriors.
The real world, even a made-up real world like TWD, takes no prisoners. The ones that have enough drive to survive will often thrive over time.
In the long run, hustle trumps all these things. I’ve seen more successful men and women, and I mean BIG TIME successful men and women, share the trait of “relentlessness” than any other trait. More so than “talented.” More so than “rich.” More so than “lucky.”
More than all those who were born into riches, I have seen a blue-collar man’s relentless child become successful. Highly successful. Kenny Chesney successful. Oprah Winfrey successful. And that gives hope to business folks like you and I, if we’re willing to work at it hard enough, for long enough.