7 Classic Movie Scenes and the Business Lessons They Teach

One thing so many movies, old and new, have in common is that they feature everyday people trying to make a living. And no matter what type of characters they portray, all these movies can teach valuable lessons about what to do — and what not do — to win a customer’s business.

Here are seven classic movie scenes that prove business lessons can be learned anywhere.


Forrest Gump — Do What You Do Best

There’s a theory that you can tell the quality of a restaurant by the size of its menu: the bigger and more diverse the cuisine, the smaller the chances are it will be great at one thing. The same theory can be applied to many local businesses. Chances are, you started your business because there is a specific need that your product or service meets, so don’t branch out too far in directions that don’t make sense. Focus on offering and marketing what makes your business great. It can help more local consumers find you online and choose you if they see you are the expert.


The Princess Bride — Don’t Let Grudges Ruin Your Business

Have you had a negative review of your business show up on Yelp, Google, or your social media sites? Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Instead, take some time to unwind before you comment back. Then, read the review and try to understand exactly what happened that caused this bad customer experience. Next, try to make the situation right. Contact the reviewer as soon as (emotionally) possible, and listen to what they (your paying customer) have to say. Don’t start a comment war. Don’t insult them. And definitely don’t threaten them. You’re better than that.


Ghostbusters — Always Be Available

Sure, your business might have specific operating hours, but it doesn’t mean that consumers only operate within those hours. When you get a phone call, form submission, or email during business hours, make sure you have someone available to answer the phone and reply to questions as they come in, or at least within the day. Since social media runs 24/7, make sure you have notifications turned on to see when someone mentions your business so that you can answer immediately if possible. If consumers can’t contact you after hours, consider using a live chat service on your website to give consumers immediate answers or to collect information about their needs or a voicemail system to collect after-hours calls. If you can’t call them back right away, make sure you follow up with them as soon as possible the next day.


Rear Window — Know What’s Going On Around You

Today, gathering information about your target consumers is more important, and easier, than ever before. For example, who are your actual customers? You may think you know your target audience, but you could be way off. Do sales indicate that your target audience is stay-at-home moms when you thought it was college students? Taking the time to determine their similarities, their geographic locations, and their typical buying process will help you tailor your marketing so more of them contact and choose your business. Aside from your customers, what are your competitors doing online? Are they offering the same service for a lower price but lower quality? Offer a discount for new customers so they can see the benefit of choosing your business. Keeping up with your competitors’ marketing is especially important if they are winning over your target consumers. Answering to these questions can help you improve your marketing and win more customers online.


Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy — Identify What Marketing Works and What Doesn’t

Do you know where your leads and customers are coming from? If you’re just guessing at what marketing tactics are the most effective, then you could be wasting a lot of marketing dollars. Ask your customers how they heard about your business, or better yet, invest in tracking technologies that tell you how people are finding your business. Soon you’ll know if more website conversions come from your search ads than they do from your outdoor billboards. Then, adjust where you spend your marketing dollars so that you get the best return. As you learn more about your customers’ behavior, you’ll be able to make better decisions about your marketing investment.


Crazy, Stupid, Love — Make a Great First Impression

How your business appears online is just as important as how it runs on the inside. But you don’t have to be a giant brand to do great branding. A great-looking website, consistency across the Web, and relevant content are three of the things that can make your brand shine online to consumers. For example, make sure your business information — spelling, location, hours, etc. — is the same across the Web. Design a website that looks professional, features great images of your business, and is easy to navigate, both on desktop and mobile. And, post great, optimized content to your blog and social media sites in order to create engagement and interest from your target consumers. All of these are simple ways even the smallest business can show what a big deal it really is.


Guardians of the Galaxy — Don’t Be Afraid To Show Your Personality

At the end of the day, consumers are human. They aren’t numbers of likes or retweets; they aren’t percentages on a spreadsheet. Much like you, they respond to different emotions — humor, happiness, and nostalgia to name a few. It’s part of what makes consumers trust you as a business owner. So don’t cover that up. Yes, people will choose your construction company because you have the best reviews, but the great video you posted on Facebook with your entire crew working on a Habitat for Humanity project didn’t hurt. In fact, these kinds of blog and social media posts can drive tons of engagement, shares, and even links back to your website. Your business is more than just your products or services; It has a voice. Find it and use it.

Tara Banda

Tara Banda is a digital marketer in Dallas, TX and a Content Marketing Manager for ReachLocal. She focuses on helping businesses develop their voice in order to connect and engage with the right audiences. Tara has worked on campaigns and promotions – including social media, email marketing, video, advertising, guerrilla marketing, and event marketing – for both small businesses and globally recognized brands. In her spare time, she likes to cook.

View all articles

You Might Also Like


  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3

    Great post! Not sure I’ve figured this all out for my business, but I’m getting there!

    I started a food truck a couple years ago (and subsequently a bar/restaurant). To your point about “always be available”, we started using a private feedback system (OwnerListens). We’ve had a lot of customers give us some great feedback – many of the improvements I’ve made have come directly from customers. And, when something bad happens, I hear about it…which is great! Way better than seeing it on Yelp *ugh.

    (Thanks for getting The Princess Bride in there – yes!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>