6 Game of Thrones Strategies That Can Help Your Business
By Laura Gayle, Business Woman Guide
“Game of Thrones” has a unique power over its audience, one that’s taught millions of people some very important life lessons.
In fact, business owners or managers also can learn a lot from the blockbuster TV show and apply these lessons directly to business dealings.
These six marketing and operational strategies, taken directly from the wisdom of “Game of Thrones” and properly applied, can help you take your business to the next level.
Remember That Knowledge is Power
In the series as in real life, every character who’s ever risen to power has done so with the help of one major weapon: knowledge.
There’s no way the Lannisters could have held the Iron Throne for so long without the help of all-seeing Lord Varys as their Master of Whisperers — aka, their chief information officer.
Whether you’re in Westeros or the corner office, your success depends on navigating — and sometimes controlling — the flow of information.
Information flows in several directions, though.
First, you need to gather it.
Your company benefits from gleaning whispers about the competition’s manoeuvres or advances in technology that could yield an advantage.
Getting involved with market-related or industry groups can expand your network while also helping you stay informed about new developments.
Secondly, you also need to guard your own secrets and keep your company’s institutional knowledge on the inside.
One great way to accomplish this is to keep your information in the cloud. Cloud computing is now standard for most industries, as it’s a safe, easy way to store important information and access it from anywhere, instantly.
A third way to leverage knowledge is by sharing information in the correct context.
Announcing big events or breaking news for a company — product rollouts, mergers, etc. — has become an art form in recent decades, requiring careful wording, solid production values, and strategic timing.
More than once, the skilful “sending of ravens” has made a massive impact on a company’s bottom line.
Always Pay Your Debts
Anyone who’s ever watched “Game of Thrones” knows that managing money correctly and paying back debt is considered one of the most important elements of ruling a proper kingdom (at least for the King’s Landing family whose house words often are obscured behind their more popular slogan: “A Lannister always pays his debts.”).
No ruler wants to stay in debt to another for longer than necessary, and the longest-lasting monarchs always pay back what they owe as quickly as possible, often with interest.
This rule is no different in real life, so the same should be true of your business kingdom.
Staying in debt to another business is a frustrating situation and one that can cause you to make further poor decisions.
For example, if you're in debt to a company for helping you deliver goods, you must pay them back ASAP, or you may not get their help again.
If you short another business in order to cover debts to the first one, this predicament can snowball into an untenable situation.
Make sure you set up proper payment cycles and have enough money in your accounts to take care of what you owe.
You also should take full control over your taxes and pay everything you owe to the government.
While your business empire may grow bigger every day, you'll never quite achieve the same level of power the IRS wields.
So make sure that you pay all that you owe, and do it on time and without complaint. Conscientious tax preparation is critical for business success.
Take Advantage of Your Position
Technically, no position is a bad one if you know how to use it to your advantage.
For example, lowland battles fought in the rain and muck on “Game of Thrones” may have seemed impossible to win, but strategic positioning and forward thinking often led to success for the armies of these hinterland domains.
The same is true of your business: While you might not be located in the biggest city in the world, your business can still achieve great success.
In fact, operating a business in a small city can be beneficial in ways that you might not expect. For example, you typically get lower tax rates in small towns and often find commercial and retail spaces for less.
Just as importantly, you're likely to encounter less competition and attract a greater share of potential clients than you would in a larger, more cutthroat, possibly oversaturated area.
You may even consider relocating to an up-and-coming but affordable city, such as Kansas City, for example, to tap into a market that’s not yet adequately covered.
This approach can be wise; think of the clans in “Game of Thrones” taking over vast swaths of nearly empty wasteland and then turning them into vitally important strategic outposts. (Winterfell had to get there somehow!) You can do the same; find a spot and carve out your niche.
Know When to Kill Your Darlings
The phrase “kill your darlings” is a common one in the writing world, but also can apply to both “Game of Thrones” and your business strategies.
How many times have we seen a ruler on the show kill somebody they loved as a means of getting ahead?
This situation is never easy to handle — often, the death is a shock and sends ripples through the kingdom that can last for decades … or at least, entire seasons.
However, we’re not recommending regicide.
Killing your darlings in business doesn't have to be anywhere near as bloody.
Instead, it consists of knowing when something is working for your business and when it is failing.
This can apply to your marketing campaigns, ordering and fulfilment practices, even HR policies, anything that affects your business.
You must have the strength of character to recognise and eliminate what doesn't work and invest more in what does — even if (or especially if) what you're destroying is your own idea or one of your biggest, earlier successes.
For example, imagine you had the idea to expand to another state to boost your business’ reach.
It was a good idea on the surface, but complications made the expansion more difficult.
After several years, you've spent thousands of dollars and don't seem anywhere near close to settling in a new area.
Let go of this bad idea, even if it means your invested money goes to waste; you'll only lose more chasing a dream that you can't catch.
Build Alliances to Gain the Kingdom
No business can survive without making alliances and partnerships that expand its operating empire.
We saw it all the time on GOT, with royal marriages and secret pacts carrying the characters and their houses to greater power.
Temporary or permanent unions offer both parties more capital and greater resources to work with.
As a result, yours can become a more effective company that can take over significant portions of the market.
Trade shows and conferences are some of the best ways you can represent your brand, expand your empire, and meet new people who could join your alliance.
These networking opportunities often include a large number of businesses or associates looking to expand and collaborate to augment their own power.
You can also have a lot of fun at these events if you genuinely enjoy learning more about business operations within your industry.
Be Prepared: Winter is Coming
There are perhaps no “house words” identified more closely with the GOT series than the Stark words: “Winter is coming.”
And they couldn’t be more true. No matter who you are or what your business, there will be a time when things get cold and bleak.
Although you might not have to fight off ravenous zombies, it’s almost certain that at some point your company will experience the pitfalls of business — a security breach, staff turnover, facility disaster, market downturn, even a recession — which can feel every bit as dangerous as white walkers.
This is why the key to survival is the same in business as in Winterfell: preparation.
Having plans in place to address potential emergencies and threats is the way to keep your workforce and bottom line intact.
For example, a business continuity plan helps companies identify risks to the business, organize necessary information and resources, devise proper responses, and delegate and train those responsible for managing crises.
For responding to widespread disasters both natural and manmade, numerous governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations provide preparedness information online, including checklists and resource directories, as well as shelter, safety, and recovery services.
As you can see, “Game of Thrones” provides many unique strategies that you can tap into your for business success.
So if you've never sat down and watched the show before reading this article, you may want to consider doing so (purely for your professional benefit, of course).
You might just find yourself having that “AHA!” moment that you need to take your company to the next level and enhance your success in ways that you never would’ve imagined possible.