Dream of having your own business? Inspiration from Jerry McGuire

The spirit and philosophy of my all-time favourite movie Jerry McGuire is inspirational for any small business, like ours, that seeks to take on the big boys. This post shares some of this inspiration.

Click below to watch the 2 minute trailer, or watch it here on YouTube.

1. Smaller is betterPicture 4
Early in the movie sports agent Jerry McGuire wakes up in a cold sweat. He realises that in the chase for more client fees, the big agency where he works has lost sight of what really matters:

“With so many clients we had forgotten what counts. The way the stadium sounds when one of my players performs. The answer was
fewer clients, personal attention. I had lo
st the ability to bullshit.”

This is exactly why I left big business to go it alone. Rather than managing teams of people on 10 or more projects, and not really getting deeply involved in any of them, I now work on 2-3 projects at a time and do everything. The relationships are deeper, and for me, the work is more satisfying.

2. The power of Vision
Jerry works all night writing a “mission statement”, a vision for the future of the business. He names it “The things we think but do not say”. We believe in the power of brand vision to energize, align and engage a team. And we try to apply this to our own business in the form of a manifesto.

3. The kick up the bottom
Most people who start their own business need a kick up the behind to force them into action. Life in a big firm is just too cosy. In the movie Jerry gets fired by a guy he has trained, Bob Sugar, who proceeds to steal all his clients. This forces Jerry to start his own agency, taking only the goldfish and a secretary, Dorothy.

In my case I had dreamed of going solo for ages. But I only resigned when my boss gave me an ultimatum: do what I want you to do (manage the European business with c. 200 people), or look for something else. I looked for the something else, and started the brandgym.

4. One client is all you need to start
Jerry McGuire looses all his client apart from one, Rod Tidwell (an Oscar winning performance by Cuba Gooding Junior). So, he gives him 110% dedication, and this pays off with helping Rod sign the big contract he was shooting for.

Starting your own firm is the same story. From our 1st client, we got 10 or more subsequent projects through the word-of-mouth it created.

5. Show me the money!
This is the famous sequence where Rod Tidwell asks Jerry McGuire to buy in to his family motto. Its a great slogan for business, and sums up our approach of “brand-led business”. The recession means its more important than ever for everyone in marketing to focus on driving profitable growth.

6. Love your life
Throughout the movie there are clips of a real sports agent, Dicky Fox, sharing his common sense advice. I love the last one that ends the movie where he says:
“Hey, I don’t have all the answers. In life, to be honest, I’ve failed as much as I’ve succeeded. But I love my wife. And I love my life. And I wish you my kind of success”

So, there you have it. The world according to Jerry McGuire. Must make a note to have all the brandgym partners watch it together when we have our next global partner meeting!

More on branding to help small firms beat the big boys here.