3 Xmas films that teach key business development strategies

Everyone has a favourite Christmas film. Are you a Home Alone fanatic? Or do you prefer classics of yesteryear, such as Miracle on 34th Street?

The festive season may be well and truly behind us, but are there business development strategies we can learn from beloved Xmas movies that SMEs can implement in 2018?

We've put our heads together and we believe there are – even if the lesson is how not to run an Australian business! Here are our top picks:

1. Scrooged – Keep staff happy

If you want tips for motivating staff after Christmas this year, Scrooged offers a masterclass in what you should avoid.

This 1988 modernisation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol shows IBC Television President Frank Cross, played by Bill Murray, treating his staff with contempt as he forces them to work through the holiday season.

Cross fires one employee for simply disagreeing with him, while making beleaguered personal assistant, Grace, stay at work and potentially miss Christmas at home with her mute son.

The ghosts of Christmases past, present and future eventually show Murray's character the error of his ways, but the film still holds a key lesson for business owners. Employees are your most valuable asset, so keep staff happy if you want your organisation to succeed and grow.

Offer flexible working policies where possible, and create a working environment that encourages and rewards innovative thinking.

2. Jingle All the Way – Don't neglect strategic planning

In this 1996 blockbuster, Arnold Schwarzenegger portrays Howard Langston, a workaholic salesman who spends Christmas Eve trying to track down a Turbo-Man action figure for his son.

Unfortunately, Turbo-Man is that year's most popular toy, and with all the shops sold out, Langston must compete against rival father Myron Larabee if he wants to avoid disappointing his oft-neglected son.

However, Langston's problems could all have been prevented if he had formulated a strategic plan for buying his gifts early, rather than leaving everything until the last minute.

SME owners should take note. There are many daily pressures involved with starting a new business or growing an existing one, but it's crucial to spend time planning for the future. Define your objectives and financial goals, identify competitors and implement and effective strategy for growth.

3. It's a Wonderful Life – Always have a cash-management plan

It's a Wonderful Life (1946) tells the story of George Bailey, a man who is brought back from the brink of suicide by a guardian angel who shows George how important he is to the people around him.

But what drives the lead character to despair? His uncle Billy accidentally loses an $8,000 deposit meant for the family business on the way to the bank. The mistake causes severe financial problems for the firm after George is unable to convince the film's antagonist, Mr Potter, to provide a loan.

As such, businesses may want to evaluate their risk management strategies in 2018 to ensure cash flow problems don't hinder their business development strategies this year. Effective cash management can be the difference between survival and insolvency during challenging times.

We hope these tips help you consider your business development strategies this year. If you'd like further help, contact Geelong accounting firm WMC Accounting to learn more about our portfolio of business advisory services.

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