Even though I haven’t played the original Zelda for at least 5 years, every once in a while a Zelda song pops into my head. Then yesterday, as I was walking out of my apartment, I realized my building layout was very similar to an underground dungeon. It got me thinking about all the lessons I learned in that game that now apply to my small business:
1. Take advantage of technology
Link doesn’t fight with his fists. He uses swords, shields, heck, even magic candles. Do you have a magic candle? You should.
Business takeaway: The web offers a plethora of tools (many free) to grow your business. From openoffice to firefox, there are countless tools available to improve your productivity and increase sales.
2. Explore your world
Link didn’t just sit on his butt while Zelda (aka financial success) was held captive. He got out there, explored dungeons, burned trees, walked across water, pretty much did whatever he could to improve his situation.
Business takeaway: Never be content with where your business is at. Always be exploring new opportunities and customers.
3. Trade up. In other words: save the Lexus for later
Link doesn’t start off with the best sword. He starts with a crappy wooden sword that he gets for free from some crazy Moses like dude flanked by burning bushes. As you gain experience and Rupees in the game you eventually can ditch your wooden sword. You don’t need the best sword to defeat the early dungeons in Legend of Zelda.
Business takeaway: Need business furniture? Go to craigslist. Once you IPO…then you can think about buying new furniture. And if an old crazy dude gives you a sword….always take it.
4. Save up for gadgets
As far as I recall, there were no credit cards in the Legend of Zelda. Everything was paid for in cash (aka Rupees).
Business takaway: There are times when credit is necessary, but if you can earn your Rupees and save up, it’s the best option.
5. Outsource repetitive tasks
In the rocky hills of Hyrule there are bunch of spider guys with loads of blue Rupees inside them. If you were low on the gems you could always hit that spot up for coins. And if you took a tunnel to another part of the map and came back, the Rupee loaded spiders would be there again. Rinse, repeat, get rich. This was a boring task, but it paid off.
Business takeaway: If you can outsource any repetitive or basic tasks (ie, killing the spiders), do it. As you scale your business these small tasks can kill your ability to focus on higher level strategy and more important tasks. Hire freelancers at elance and getafreelancer to kill your spiders, so you can focus on how to get to Ganon.
6. Shop Around
Do you remember where all the cheap stores in Hyrule were? I do. Why would I pay 10 coins for a candle when I could get it for 5 somewhere else? If you don’t know where the cheap shops are, you’ll get ripped off.
Business takeaway: It always pays to shop around. Services and vendors can often be negotiated in the business to business world. It never hurts to ask for a discount.
7. When all else fails…start bombing.
You’ve been stuck in a dungeon for hours. You can’t find the boss. What do you do? Start bombing. Bomb every friggin’ wall you can.
In business: When your stuck on a project, or client, don’t give up. Bring out your best weapons and start going to town. Test every aspect (dungeon wall) of your business with fire. If it’s not working, burn it down and start fresh. You never know what a good burn will reveal.