I admit it. I am a cartoon-aholic. That’s right. I’m a married woman with a job and I am addicted cartoons. I am a most definitely a child at heart. After a hard day at work, you can often find me lost in an episode of Spongebob, Phineas & Ferb or even The Fairly Odd Parents. And I can’t even blame my obsession on the need to monitor what my kids are watching because I don’t have any kids!
However, when someone does feel the need to question my cartoon fandom, the response rolls of my tongue. “Cartoons make me a better business woman.” And no, it is not a lie because buried deep within the inexplicable recoveries from “fatal” injuries and nonsensical plots are life lessons that can be applied to the world of business. Don’t believe me? Check these out:
Phineas & Ferb : For those who are unaware Phineas & Ferb is a Disney cartoon in which two young boys create out-of-this world inventions during their summer break from school. A recurring scene in each episode is one in which the boys order some gadgets that are not age appropriate. The person delivering the gadgets usually says something such as, “Aren’t you a little young to build a roller coaster?” to which Phineas replies with “Yes, yes we are.” And then of course, Ferb and Phineas go ahead and build it anyway.
The Business Lesson: The only limitations are the ones you set. Phineas & Ferb could have easily let something such as age or money get in their way. However, they realized age was no reason for them to limit their master plan. Most importantly, age was no reason to put a limit on their potential.Therefore things such as age, money, accessibility, etc. should not put a limit on the growth of your business. If you don’t allow it to be a limitation, it won’t be.
Arthur: I have to admit this one is a bit embarrassing, but I can’t help but love the simplistic nature of the show. Arthur is a show about an 8-year old aardvark and his daily interactions with friends and family. Arthur has a friend named Fern who enjoys writing poems for cards. Another character, Muffy, is impressed by the poems Fern writes and decides they should go into business together by selling cards with special poems to people at the school. Because the product hit close to home, Fern was able to churn out heartfelt poems and the business made a big profit.
The Business Lesson: Find your passion and you’ll find your business. Fern wasn’t looking to start a business per say, but when Muffy presented her with the opportunity, she couldn’t help but say yes. And because her heart was in it, she was able to churn out a fabulous product effortlessly. It’s funny that 8-year old cartoon characters grasped the concept of following their passion at such a young age, meanwhile adults struggle to find a business when it’s usually right in front of them.
Spongebob: Spongebob famously works for the boss from hell, Mr. Krabs at the Krusty Krab restaurant. Mr. Krabs’ rival,Plankton, is always searching for ways to sabotage the Krusty Krab so his restaurant, The Chum Bucket, will prosper. In a particular situation, Plankton tampered with the thermostat at the Krusty Krab thus making the restaurant so cold that everything including the floors were frozen and turned to ice. Plankton did this in the hopes people would stop visiting the Krusty Krab restaurant. However, Mr. Krabs found a way to profit from the freezing temperatures by turning the restaurant into an ice skating rink. The patrons loved and continuously came back for more.
The Business Lesson: Think outside the box. While there are several business lessons that can be learned from this Spongebob episode, I believe “think outside the box” may resonate with most entrepreneurs. I would assume that in most cases, people would think it’s crazy to turn your restaurant into a iceskating rink. However, Mr. Krabs decided to ignore all that was common and go for it anyway. He could have closed up shop and accepted defeat. However, he made the best of a bad situation and drew the masses with a revolutionary idea – something all businesses should learn. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is go against the crowd when doing your own thing.
So the next time you try to put a limit on your child’s cartoons or criticize an adult for spending so much time watching, consider how they may be becoming a better entrepreneur.
Are you guilty of watching any cartoons? Have learned anything about business from them?
TERRIfic Quip: The doors will open for those who are bold enough to knock.