October is here and begs the question: Are there lessons for business owners in this spookiest of months? As I consider this question, thoughts of scary stories and ghoulish challenges come to mind. However, my heart is drawn to the Harry Potter series written by J. K. Rowling. Perhaps not the most traditional of Halloween tales, the well-written books and powerfully created movies provide extensive wisdom and inspiration.
A central thematic element for Rowling's Harry Potter books revolves around The Deathly Hallows. The Deathly Hallows are three magical items that make their possessor "master of Death:" a super wand, a cloak of invisibility, and a stone to resurrect the dead. These items appear throughout the series, providing critical support to Harry Potter as he moves toward the climactic sequences of the story. Though the Hallows purportedly make one "master of death," the story reveals that their real purpose is to enhance, and extend, life.
For small business owners, The Deathly Hallows serve as a metaphor for powerful attributes that seem to magically breed success. The good news for all business owners is that a version of the Deathly Hallows exists for you, and though they are magical in a different way, they do provide a path to enhance and extend your business's life.
- The Heart of Gold - this powerful tool enables the business owner to genuinely care about customers and employees. The Heart of Gold appears in those brave souls committed to making a difference for their stakeholders, working hard to bring value to everyone they encounter, and showing integrity in all of the decisions they make. The amazing thing about the Heart of Gold is that it attracts customers and employees seeking the opportunity to work with its possessor.
- The Fire of Passion - the second Deathly Hallow brings its possessor the drive and motivation needed to sustain him or her through the good and the bad times. The Fire of Passion reflects its possessor's commitment to the mission and a dedication to working hard, enduring the setbacks, and inspiring all with whom he or she comes into contact. This critical Deathly Hallow affirms its possessor's purpose and serves as a guiding light in the darkness.
- The Mind for Execution - the final Deathly Hallow empowers its possessor with the competence and judgment necessary to lead a small business venture to success. The Mind for Execution blends education, experience, and wisdom into a focused weapon capable of illuminating the deepest financial mysteries, the darkest customer complaints, and the murkiest employee challenges. Possessing the Mind for Execution ensures that the small business owner can apply his or her integrity and passion in a direction sure to produce great results.
"But you know, happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light." -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban
This blogger graduated from Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businesses program. Goldman Sachs is a partner of the What Is Working: Small Businesses section.