“Iron Man” Lessons Of Business

Grossing over $150,000,000 in its first two weekends at the box office, “Iron Man” has come out of the gates as one of the top blockbusters of the year. If you haven’t seen it – believe the hype. Bar none it is the best ‘hero’ movie I’ve seen.

Aside from being wildly entertaining, Iron Man serves up a number of lessons that can be carried over to business.

Lesson 1 – Diversify Or Die

Robert Downey Jr., or “Iron Man” in the movie, saw the writing on the wall. While his seemingly flawless company was an industry leader and the best weapons company in the world, it was built on a business model that was fundamentally unsustainable.

Long-lasting businesses function in good and bad economic environments. They morph over time to maintain profitability, growth and viability. Most importantly, they align strategically with the vision of those running it.

If your business is faltering, ask yourself: “What can I do differently”? Know what your core competencies are, find hidden avenues to leverage these competencies, and don’t be afraid of an evolving vision.

Lesson 2 – Build Your Company With People You Can Trust

The biggest lesson I’ve learned about business, and a good lesson from the movie, is that you have to trust the people you are working with. Businesses are built by people – so if you can’t whole-heartedly trust and understand the motivations of those around you, there’s a problem. Look at the key employees in your business. Are they the best individuals to build your company?

Lesson 3 – Build Something That The World Has Never Seen

Cooker-cutter products serve a place in business. However, it is the game changing ideas that lead to industry dominance and sustainable competitive advantage. You obviously don’t need to build a flying iron man machine to achieve unwavering success, but you should be solving an aching problem in your industry. Are your products/services game changing?

Lesson 4 – Know Your Motivations

A lot of people in business, entrepreneurs especially, have disjointed priorities. They are in it for the power, the money, the glamor. Unfortunately, these motivations don’t deliver happiness or strong companies.

Do some soul searching and find out what your life’s work should be. Does it match up with what you’re doing? If not, it’s probably time to change your focus.

If you are looking for some good business lessons or just wanting to kill a couple of hours watching an entertaining movie – check out ‘Iron Man’. It might just change how you think about your business.

Written by Jeff Springer

Jeff Spring is the Finance & Markets Editor at BusinessPundit.com. He's currently spending his days backpacking across Europe. While he may be living outside of the United States, he stays connected to American financial markets and M&A's more than is probably healthy for any single person. His love of a good book and a Bloomberg terminal can't be understated.