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Lead Your Team Leadership

5 Scary Good Horror Movie Lessons for Entrepreneurs

5 Scary Good Horror Movie Lessons for Entrepreneurs
Credit: LoloStock/Shutterstock

Just like classic horror movies, starting a business can be incredibly scary, especially for new entrepreneurs. Between all the risks and responsibilities, it can be easy to get in over your head. But believe it or not, those slasher films you're too afraid to watch alone with all the lights off but secretly love can actually teach you a thing or two about running a business. Check out these screamingly important lessons for entrepreneurs — just try not to get too freaked out.

No matter what stage of your career you're in — even when you own your own business — it's important to treat everyone with respect. And yes, that includes people you don't necessarily like or get along with. You never know who can affect an important aspect of your business or career. The way you treat a secretary or talk to strangers at a networking event can make or break your reputation if you're not careful. No one learned the importance of treating people kindly quite like the students at Carrie White's high school in the 1976 film "Carrie." In the movie, Carrie, who has secret telekinetic powers, is tormented by her mother and her classmates. During the film's infamous prom scene, Carrie is voted prom queen after some classmates rig the vote, and as she accepts her crown, they drop a bucket of pig's blood on her. And with her telekinetic powers, she kills everyone in sight. Of course, making a major networking mistake won't leave you in a deadly, supernatural scene from a horror movie, but it could be a fatal blow to your career or your next business venture.

If you've ever seen the 1980 movie "The Shining," you're likely familiar with the phrase, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." In the film, when Jack Torrance's wife Wendy finds that the novel her husband has been working on is really just hundreds of erratically typed pages of the "all work and no play" sentiment, it's understandably terrifying. And it's true — not having your priorities in order is never good, especially for entrepreneurs. Throughout the film, Jack never has his priorities in mind. He moves Wendy and his son Danny with him to an isolated hotel for the winter to suit his needs, and even though no one else is around, he doesn't spend any time with his family because his work still comes first. He's rude and distant to his wife, and spends hardly any time with his son. Eventually, the Overlook Hotel's "shine" — or haunted, possessed nature — leads an already aggressive and selfish Jack to a psychotic breakdown during which he attempts to kill his wife and son. As an entrepreneur, you have to remember that although your business is important, it shouldn't always come first. All work and no play may not make you a "dull boy," but it could have a serious impact on your mental health and strain your relationships with others. [The Business of Death: 10 Killer Business Ideas ]

Everyone is different, and that means there will always be people you don't get along with for one reason or another. However, part of being a good leader means fostering a team environment and knowing when to call for backup. You can’t always go it alone, even as a business owner, and sometimes, you'll have to work with people you don't like (or convince your employees to do the same). In the case of the 1996 movie "Scream," teamwork wound up becoming the key to survival. While teenager Sidney Prescott, the film's main character, and reporter Gale Weathers don't get along throughout most of the movie — the two argue over the story behind Sidney's mother's death, and at one point, Sidney even punches Gale after a heated discussion — in the end, it's their quick thinking and teamwork that help them avoid death at the hands of the film's killer, Ghostface. The point is, it's important to be able to put aside your differences with others in order to achieve something good, whether it's to solve a big problem or start a new business.

You're only human, and you're bound to make mistakes. But what will distinguish you as a leader is your ability and willingness to take responsibility for those mistakes. If you don't take responsibility for your actions, it could have serious consequences. You could ruin an important business deal, turn off clients and customers, and even lose the respect of your staff. The 1997 hit slasher film "I Know What You Did Last Summer" is seriously scary proof that ignoring your mistakes might just end very, very badly. In the movie, a group of teenagers get into a car accident, killing a pedestrian. Rather than call the authorities, they decide to hide the body and try to forget it ever happened. One year later, a mysterious killer starts killing them off one by one, as payback for what they'd done. By not doing the right thing and owning up to what they did, the film's characters put themselves in danger. So, if you mess up, you can't just ignore it and move on — not acknowledging a major business mistake may not cost you your life, but it could cost you your company.

It may not be your typical slasher flick, but the 1975 blockbuster thriller "Jaws" is certainly scary. When Amity Island is struck with a series of tragic shark attacks, Police Chief Martin Brody has to enlist the help of oceanographer Matt Hooper and shark hunter Quint to find the shark. However, venturing off into the open ocean isn't exactly Brody's cup of tea — in fact, it's known throughout the film that he's afraid of the water. After Quint is killed when trying to hunt the shark while Hooper is in the water, Brody has to face the man-eater alone. And, in the end, it's Brody who ultimately kills the shark as the boat is capsizing, making the beaches safe once again. (We'll ignore all those shark-filled sequels.) Starting a business is hard work, and sometimes, you'll have to do things that seem scary or risky. But part of being an entrepreneur is believing in your business plan and having the courage to take on those risks. If you can put aside your fears and find sensible solutions to your problems, you might just find success.

Brittney Helmrich
Brittney Helmrich

Brittney M. Helmrich graduated from Drew University in 2012 with a B.A. in History and Creative Writing. She joined the Business News Daily team in 2014 after working as the editor-in-chief of an online college life and advice publication for two years. Follow Brittney on Twitter at @brittneyplz, or contact her by email.