7 Business Lessons an Entrepreneur Can Learn from Super Heroes : Under30CEO 7 Business Lessons an Entrepreneur Can Learn from Super Heroes : Under30CEO
arrow
Join the Under30CEO Community We deliver tips, tools and inspiration for your business. Daily to your inbox.

7 Business Lessons an Entrepreneur Can Learn from Super Heroes

| April 16, 2013 | 18 Comments

Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Super HeroesThe adventure of running your own business is just as challenging as it is exciting. From time to time, many entrepreneurs might wish they had some kind of a super power to help them make instant (and correct) decisions, constantly generate fresh ideas to stay ahead of the competitors, deal with multitasking, and more. Well, we can’t promise you a spare neutron laser, but there are a few real lessons you can learn from the super heroes to gain new powers on the business battlefield.

1. Superman – Know your weaknesses.

Clark Kent knew perfectly well that his “Achilles heel” was vulnerability to Kryptonite. For a successful entrepreneur, it’s important to be aware of your own and your business’ weak points, too. And, going further, to be able to turn the weaknesses into an advantage in certain situations. In the 1960s, Hertz was the evident leader in the car rental business, and Avis was just one of the brands in the following pack. Instead of trying to compete for 1st place, Avis launched an ad campaign with the slogan “We are No.2. So we try harder.” Within the next 4 years, they had tripled their market share.

2. Batman – Establish your network.

Networking generally requires a lot of time and energy. However, the effort Bruce Wayne made in this direction and the new connections he established helped the Dark Knight in his main mission of protecting Gotham City.  In the business space, networking can connect you with new partners and, therefore, help you find potential new paths to the market.

3. Flash – Be lightning fast in your reactions.

Maybe you don’t need to move with super speed in everyday life, but in the business space, an instant reaction to any arising issue is vital. Facing an unexpected sickness of the team’s key player, a controversial comment in social media or a competitor’s product launch, an entrepreneur can benefit from reacting as competently and as fast as possible. Jack Welch, the former CEO of GE, advised businesses “not to sit on decisions.” His quote, which is often cited, states, “Don’t set something aside, instead of making a decision on the spot. In order to get speed, decisions at virtually every level have to be made in minutes, not days or weeks.”

4. Iron Man – Leverage the newest technology.

Most of the time, superheroes are not born, but made. For example, what always helped Tony Stark get ahead of his opponents was having the best “gadgets” in his arsenal. From his example, an entrepreneur can learn that being open to the latest tech trends (say, top-notch planning software) and ready to mix & match them is not an option, but a necessity in the modern business world.

5. Captain America – Become an inspiration.

Both soldiers and Avengers followed Captain America. Why? Because he knew that a man is made by his team, and he pushed himself to be better, which in turn inspired those around him to be better, too. A successful entrepreneur believes in what he or she does and understands that working with your own team is as important as working with the market or your business partners. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh strongly believes that the staff’s happiness is key to the company’s success. One of the methods he uses in his “happiness framework” is sending motivational open letters to encourage his employees. As a result, Zappos is known not only for its customer service, but also for its exceptional organizational culture.

6. Incredible Hulk – Be adaptive.

Just like Professor Banner, transforming from the genius scientist into the mighty Hulk, in the business world, an entrepreneur can vary the tactics and be flexible in his or her decisions. In 1984, Frederick W. Smith, the founder and CEO of FedEx, introduced an electronic delivery service, Zapmail, that was so unsuccessful that it cost the company nearly $350 million over two years. Realizing his own mistake, Smith abandoned Zapmail. Instead, he refocused the company’s energy on its core delivery business. And today, it’s a prosperous, multimillion-dollar corporation.

7. Wolverine – Stand up, even if you fall.

There is no business road without bumps and risks. Learning from the front X-man, who regenerates and comes back to fight even after the most serious injuries, a successful entrepreneur understands that it’s okay to fall, as long as you stand up to face the new challenges. Moreover, a failure can be an important lesson that will contribute to nurturing business success. Randy Komisar, a successful venture capitalist, names “the culture of constructive failure” as the main reason that Silicon Valley became the world’s innovation center.

Having a fantastic superpower would solve a lot of entrepreneurs’ challenges. However, if you are ready to learn both from your mistakes and your achievements, are open to communication, and have a quick eye for tech and business trends, becoming a super-hero entrepreneur in the real business world is just a matter of time.

How about you? What super-hero advice can you share, or what special ability do you wish you could apply to your business?

Andrew Filev is the founder and CEO of Wrike, provider of popular project management software. He is a seasoned software entrepreneur, project and product manager, and advisor to several fast-growing ventures.

Image Credit: Shutterstock.com

Opt In Image
Awesome People + Awesome Places
Travel around the world while making new friends

Under30Experiences curates awesome experiences around the world for young travelers.

Tags: , , ,

Category: Startup Advice

  • http://www.remarkableinterviews.com/ RemarkableInterviews

    I love each of the comparison you made.

    I would add that an entrepreneur could learn humility from Peter Parker aka Spiderman.

    I think that humility is one of those important characteristic that is not always mention as it should.

  • http://www.PuraVidaMultiMedia.com/ CAELAN HUNTRESS

    Aquaman – pick a niche that nobody else wants, and dominate it.

  • http://www.callboxinc.com/ Julie Dawn Harris

    I would be Wonder Woman, so I could do the multitasking efficiently. It’s good that you compare superheroes to real entrepreneurs. It makes us think that even without super power we could still win in the business battlefield as long as we have super duper marketing skills. :)

  • http://twitter.com/ulricogc Ulrico

    Great article. There’s another one I’d like to add for Iron Man – “be inventive”. He doesn’t just use modern tech, he creates it to his advantage

  • http://twitter.com/andrewsthoughts Andrew Filev

    Great point!

  • http://twitter.com/andrewsthoughts Andrew Filev
  • http://twitter.com/andrewsthoughts Andrew Filev

    The comments are better than the article:-) We should do a follow-up compilation.

  • http://twitter.com/andrewsthoughts Andrew Filev

    “A hero could be anyone”

  • http://www.callboxinc.com/ Julie Dawn Harris

    you’re right Andrew and you don’t need to have super powers to be a hero. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/desmond.tutu.92754 Desmond TuTu

    To be a super hero in your business, you must appreciate the power of force of habits. You must be quick to break those negative habits that may break your business and be hasten to adopt those positive habits for a better future. Positive business habits bring positive future business results.

  • Marshall Webster

    Spiderman – With great power comes great responsibility.

  • http://www.callboxinc.com/ Julie Dawn Harris

    Exactly, your attitude will bring you to success. Optimism and a strong mindset will keep you on hold of your goal. :)

  • Pingback: Yuanfen~Flow | 7 Business Lessons an Entrepreneur Can Learn from Super Heroes

  • http://72upp.com/ Ruslan Yakhyaev

    How about — Iron Man/Batman: have billions of dollars on your accounts and own multibillion international company; best superpower ever!

  • Pingback: Case Studies for High School Business Courses

  • Pingback: 7 Business Lessons an Entrepreneur Can Learn fr...

  • Pingback: 5 Project Management Lessons to Learn from Superheroes - PPM Cloud App News

  • David Hutcherson

    I wish I could be like Professor X and read my customer’s/client’s mind that way I can give them exactly what they are looking for and provide the most value.

    Plus it will be cool to move things with my mind when I am too lazy to move.