1. Don’t Be Afraid To Make A Mistake

Don't Be Afraid to Make a Mistake Poster - Arrested Development

While GOB was the least competent Bluth Company president, he wasn’t afraid to make a mistake. Or, like, fifty of them a day.

While I know better than to be a complete idiot like GOB, it is helpful to know that we can take risks and not beat ourselves up over it. Entrepreneurs are always writing about risk taking because risks help our creativity grow and can often be exactly what a business needs to take the next step.

2. There’s Always Money in the Banana Stand

There's Always Money In the Banana Stand - Arrested Development

Sometimes we focus on getting the Really Big Business and forget about the little stuff that has sustained us all along. When the contract to build 22 homes gets cut back, we forget about the banana stand.

Sometimes the small things add up; this could be cutting back on little expenses, or it could also be about building smaller business alongside the bigger stuff. Whatever you do, don’t burn (the bridges to) the smaller things. Nobody’s got that kind of insurance.

3. Don’t Use All Your Resources On Things That Don’t Matter

Ted Arrested Development

We’re all guilty of spending money where we shouldn’t. I am lazy about buying groceries, so I’ll spend too much money on Chipotle quesadillas for my daughter. Likewise, in business we often spend our money in the wrong place.

A physical location may be important for your business, but if most of your business is done online, then your website is even more important. You can have a nice space that isn’t on the top floor of an expensive office building in Newport Beach. Cut back where you can, and spend your money where it makes sense.

4. Tony Wonder Is Doing It Better

Tony Wonder in a Sandwich

Tony Wonder pulled off some incredible tricks, err, illusions. GOB was infinitely jealous and impressed by Tony Wonder. His envy peaked with Wonder’s appearance on the cover of Poof after he baked himself into a loaf of bread to feed the troops. GOB was going to boil himself into a chowder to feed and entertain the firemen. SAME IDEA!

Whatever idea you have, someone else has had it and they’ve probably pulled it off pretty damn well. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Your idea may be different enough (bread vs. chowder), or it may even be better. Just because there are Tony Wonders out there doesn’t mean you should abandon all your good ideas.

5. Admit When You’ve Made a Huge Mistake

I've Made A Huge Mistake - Arrested Development

And finally, tying back to the first lesson from Arrested Development, admitting when you’ve made a mistake is crucial. Admit to your staff, your partners, and yourself that you’ve made a mistake and work to correct it.

While I wouldn’t recommend getting a shiv stuck in your belly to help you out of a bind, showing a bit of humility and asking for help can be incredibly good for you and your business.

I’m a certified Arrested Development junkie–though I’m still not too sure about season 4–and I while could probably come up with a dozen more business lessons from the Bluth Company (don’t do business with Brits? don’t give seals the taste for mammal blood?), the ones above are actually relatively applicable to our world.

What lessons from Arrested Development would you add to this list?

About New Why

Web development, online advertising, and social media management for nonprofits and companies who want to make the world a better place.


New Why

Denver, CO

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