Pretty Women- A classic 80s film with surprising business lessons?
As I switched channels and came across Pretty Woman, I settled down with my cup of tea and enjoyed a re-watch, for the umpteenth time, of this great film.
As I watched the film I noticed that, despite the nature of the business in which Vivian partakes not necessarily being one I would advocate as a new start up, there is actually something to be learnt from this film about business values and mistakes to avoid.
So here is it, Pretty Woman master class. Enjoy the film again or take my word for it.
Lesson 1- Know your worth in Negotiation
“I would have stayed for a thousand”“I would have paid four”.
Romantic yes, the point of course is that this is not about money and they are falling in lurrrvvee. However, it makes a point that should not be forgotten which is to know your worth. Vivian could have been paid four times as much, but equally she would have accepted less for the work on offer.
When you are seeking business it is very easy to undersell your product or services as any business is good business right? But you need to establish your worth and if this is the right amount then stand firm. Good negotiation involves give a little, take a little, but it’s too easy to give too much and take too little. If you start negotiating without knowing what you are worth then you may as well give your service or product away.
Equally remember that if you do what you do well, then people will pay the right price and often more than you value yourself. Clearly Vivian was very very good at what she does and could have commanded four times the price.
Believe in your service or product and don’t sell yourself short in negotiation.
Lesson 2- Don’t rule out opportunities on initial appearances?
If you have watched the film, it’s the classic scene when Miss Vivian returns to the shop. “You work on commission right, big mistake, huge”.
A very bad day for the shop assistant on sales, caused by judgement and refusal to sell to “the wrong” customer.
A simple premise to be learnt here, don’t judge a book by its cover. Treat all customers or service users as valuable and individual until you know otherwise or you could miss your biggest break.
Be open to ideas that may seem outside the box. Be open to unusual opportunities that may not look what they seem from the outset. You may have a niche market and know your customer, but always explore possibilities before ruling them out and treat every customer with respect.
Like the recent viral status where the candidate was rude on the train then turned up to face the interviewer he was rude to, you do not always know who you are talking to. Present yourself well at all times and expect everyone could be a potential customer or service user.
Lesson 3- Act with Ethics and Morales
In the scene where Vivian throws a snail across the restaurant, the learning curve here is not hire staff that can catch. This point is about business ethics, morals and decisions you chose to make as a business. Throughout the film Edward appears ruthless and cares about money not the family behind the business. Later of course he changes his mind and makes the old man very happy. Saves Vivian the job is the pun I can’t avoid here. Back to the point, he chooses to put his ethics and values over money.
The decision in terms of how you act in business, with integrity or not, is yours, but corporate social responsibility is king in the age we live in and rightly so. I would advocate you set your business some clear values and live by them with all your business decisions no matter what the cost. Treat other humans in business with respect and be consistent and fair.
Lesson 4 -A little goes a long way
When the Hotel Manager assists Vivian with the cutlery order it’s a poignant scene but the lesson to be learnt here is, a little does go along way. Customer service matters and sometimes it’s the little things that will be remembered. A little thought, helping out and going the extra mile all assist in your business being remembered for great customer service or client relations and this leads to repeat business or sales. People often buy from people.
Lesson 5- Rough Diamonds can Shine
She may have looked a little rough around the edges, but Edward saw her potential and made her shine. It’s worth remembering this when hiring people. Some shine immediately, some require a little more polishing and by this I mean nurturing, developing, encouraging and moulding. Sometimes you may be surprised with the end results.
Thanks for reading.
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