With most businesses still reeling from the economic impact of COVID-19. And with only three months remaining this year, it’s time to end the moaning, to reset goals and to focus on real solutions to fix and grow your business.

One of the best movies from the last century was The Godfather, in which the main character is Don Corleone, the head of the mafia crime family.

There are many things for entrepreneurs to learn from The Godfather. Whether you’re the head of the Corleone crime family or a business manager, entrepreneur, or a salesperson, you have something in common.

You are not a mobster, but I list five indispensable business lessons you can learn from one of the greatest movie trilogies of all time:

The Godfather Lesson #1: You must have a consigliere (your trusted advisor)

Context: Everyone in the family respects the Godfather for his experience in the business. He is the subject matter expert in many aspects of the family business. Still, he knows he has gaps in his knowledge. So, the Godfather wisely sought the counsel of a dedicated and trusted lawyer (a consigliere).

The advisor to the Corleone family, advises the Godfather on a varied range of matters. He is one of few non-Corleones admitted into the inner circle. His trusted advisory status combines with the expertise and the detachment of a non-family member which helps him share painful truths without any concerns.

Lesson: To grow your business, find a trusted advisor outside your organisation to give you unbiased second opinions about the challenges you face.

The Godfather Lesson #2: Get the bad news immediately

Context: “Mr Corleone is a man who insists on hearing bad news immediately.” This is a great mindset to have in business because when something bad happens, you want to know about it right away.

Lesson: If there are any downsides to something you’re undertaking, knowing about them first will help you determine if it is unbearable. The longer your colleagues or clients keep the bad news away from you, the more terminal or costly the problem becomes. Tell them “Let’s get the bad news out of the way because it’s costly”. If you’re acutely aware of the negative things in your business, you’ll be able to anticipate them and plan accordingly.

The Godfather Lesson #3: Make them an offer they can’t refuse

Context: It’s the most famous line ever uttered by a movie gangster. Don Corleone delivered the simple promise, “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

Lesson: Is your business making prospects and clients “an offer that they can’t refuse?”
Get clear on your offer and advantage. Your proposal needs to be distinctive and solve a problem the potential client has. When you describe the problem they have and how you can solve it, they can’t help but notice and take action.

The Godfather Lesson #4: Always watch your back

Context: In business, your enemies will always be behind your back. They are in the battle with you for the same thing – market share growth.

Lesson: Prepare yourself with defensive and preemptive strategies if someone attacks you.

The Godfather Lesson #5: Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer

Context: It is a crucial rule that should also apply in the business world. It would help if you kept close to your enemies (competitors) because you want to collect more knowledge about them. You must know your enemies because you want to make them more predictable when you make strategic decisions.

Lesson: You must never underestimate your competition. You must intimately understand your competition if you want to be one step ahead of them. Start by reviewing every word on their website and all their social media communication (especially LinkedIn).

Now you’ve learned about The Godfather’s techniques, it is time to put them into action.