Movie: The Godfather
JOHNNY FONTANE: It’s too late, they start shooting in a week.
VITO CORLEONE: I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse. Now you just go outside and enjoy yourself, and ah, forget about all this nonsense. I want you to leave it all to me.
…and in the end we all know Don Corleone does keep his promise by getting Johnny the role in Mr. Woltz’s movie though by sacrificing Woltz’s horse in the bargain, but all in a no-nonsense way.
This scene for me is the best scene of The Godfather and sets the tone for the entire trilogy.
It also shows us how to act in business today where we are surrounded by so much noise and drama that it is important not to react, but keep doing your business. As entrepreneurs in today’s time we need to know rules that can help build the business, beyond the disorder surrounding us. Here are some factors that you can focus on to help you keep building in spite of the chaos:
It’s easy to start a startup, but a different story when you are actually building a business. In the race to build fast startups one often forget it is important to build a business that can last. Bigger the problem your business is solving, bigger will be the value of the business. If your business is solving a big problem, but there is no category under which it falls then you are building something big, hang on! As The Godfather would also agree “Empires are not built in a day”. Remember good startups build a business, but great startup builds a category.
It’s sad but true that more often than not, a bigger funded startup mostly wins over a better product. But being top funded startup in the category won’t guarantee you to be always on top, you get there by building the top product. Today just getting funded ain’t so cool, bootstrapping to profitability is the way to go (till you find the right investor). And sometimes the power to say no to a deal that will take you away from your core business & product doesn’t mean you are saying no to growth, but you are focused on your business and profitability. Ultimately for the investor too, owning a percentage of something means nothing if 100% of the thing is not worth something.
With tough times around and maybe more such times ahead, negotiating a deal for your business becomes critical. But, negotiation isn’t just about saying NO all the time, but saying YES at the right time. In fact in negotiations never jump to a no. And maybe it is better not to have the last word in a deal, let the other side say what you wanted to say, just be sure what is said is what you always wanted in the deal. Keep the emotions away “It’s not personal, it’s business” this is how The Godfather would’ve done it too.
You might have to wait for the right time for an opportunity to rise. But then when nothing is going your way, only way forward is to hustle your way in. In business it is important to be aware of your exit point at the time of your entry. Because it is not only about starting it right, but also about quitting at the right time. It is true that to be a quick success, one needs to learn to fail fast. I feel when you hear the stories of successful entrepreneurs, most of them miss out on the importance of right timing when they tell their story.
You will be called by various names by the world till you make a name for yourself. But it’s not only the path you take, but also the one you leave decides where you reach. Ultimately, you never know when you are about to disrupt things, till later when you have already done it so. Ultimately, life is all about beating your best and getting better with it every time you do it.
So, sometimes you need to cut the noise from outside to hear the voice from within. Sometimes it is best to put up a poker face and not to react to be able to beat the odds around. There are very few who know what they want to do, but even fewer know how they will do it and usually that’s the bunch who actually will do it! And the fact remains – success isn’t just about achieving your goals, but getting there on your own terms.
And to end it with another inspired quote “Great businessmen are not born great, they grow great…”