These last five weeks we've had an extern (although I call her an INTERN) in our midst at Retro. She's from a prestigious culinary school, and she's doing a great job, but EVERY TIME we have one it always makes me question how I got here...and if I'm doing the right things in business.
Here's the deal: I didn't go to culinary school. I never RAN a restaurant (although Brian did, so hence, HE'S the technical GM of Retro), and I never got a business degree (my B.S. in History doesn't count). So I'm always questioning what I'm doing, if it's correct, or if I should be even teaching another person what to do. BUT, I then think that I must be doing SOMETHING right if I can STAY in business for almost five years...
I'm going to be VERY honest right now:
EVERYTHING I LEARNED ABOUT BUSINESS I LEARNED FROM MOVIES.
I'm an avid movie watcher....well, at least I WAS when I was growing up...but it was ALWAYS the business-based movies that got my attention, and I tended to watch them OVER AND OVER AND OVER again. SO, I thought I'd share with YOU the movies that have had the BIGGEST impact on shaping my business philosophy.
1) Chocolat: YOU CAN CREATE A MUST-HAVE, LIFE-CHANGING "WANT". A woman and her daughter move to a small village, open a chocolate shop that everyone dismisses until they EAT it and realize they never knew they NEEDED something so badly...and they keep buying...
2) 9 to 5 : TREAT YOUR EMPLOYEES WELL. The three main characters kidnap the self-centered boss and run the business TEN TIMES BETTER without him, creating programs such as daycare and job sharing, so people are HAPPY at work and productivity raises and the company makes more $$$$.
3) Pretty Woman: DON'T JUDGE A CUSTOMER BY THEIR APPEARANCE. (I realize this isn't a BUSINESS MOVIE, but this scene says it all). Julia Roberts is a prostitute in need of clothing to work for Richard Gere for a week. He sends her shopping on Rodeo Dr. and the sales girl at the first store looks her up and down and says nothing will fit her at the store....and asks her to leave. She leaves and shops somewhere else....with her LIMITLESS credit card. "BIG MISTAKE. HUGE."
4) Baby Boom : MONEY ISN'T EVERYTHING. The corporate-driven woman gets a baby dropped into her life, gets FIRED, then decides to buy her dream home in Vermont to start over...she gets VERY bored, creates an applesauce baby food, markets it, and creates a GIANT food business that her old corporation wants to buy...guess what? She DOESN'T sell it, and decides to keep doing it for HER and her baby.
5) Fight Club: THE POWER IS WITHIN YOU. Tired of living the life of a corporate DRONE, the main character meets a man who changes his perspective on living like EVERYONE ELSE. They start a revolution by creating an atmosphere where doing what's expected is not on the agenda...and finding out that you have all the power you need to succeed when you listen to YOURSELF.
Business is different for everyone. Some people are in it for the money. Some people are in it for the power, or prestige, or the FAME. I'm in it for the challenge and the REAL CONNECTION to my customers. I want to create the mountain then carve out the path to REACH to the top. However, the top for me is NOT money, power, prestige, or fame...the TOP is keeping my doors open, my lights on, my children clothed (so I guess it's a LITTLE about the money...). MY top is keeping the ability to STAY IN BUSINESS....creating NEW challenges...creating NEW products...creating NEW customer experiences...and really CONNECTING with them on a personal level.
Speaking of customers...let's see THEIR Cakes/Cupcakes O' the Week!
Look Who's Turning 40 cupcakes (writing on fondant discs):
Grad Cap two-tier cake:
Baseball Player Graduation cake:
Monogram wedding cupcake tower:
White fondant and royal icing roses wedding cake:
Flower and branches wedding cupcake tower:
and the BIG DADDY of the Week: a celebration cake for the Brinker International corporate visit to Maggiano's on the FAMOUS Las Vegas Strip!
Ironically, I am finishing this post on the first morning of my VACATION. I'm actually NOT working for four whole days. BUT in the not working is where you sometimes find the most valuable business lessons...especially if you see a few good MOVIES.