Friday, 28 October 2011

4 Things The Simpsons Can Teach You About Business : Innovation :: American Express OPEN Forum

The Simpsons is a show that has been a part of television for over 20 years. It has even claimed the title of being the longest running scripted show in the history of television. It has gone from “Eat my shorts” to covering every type of controversial issue engrained within American culture. And while people around the country (and beyond) enjoy watching it, there are actually things that entrepreneurs can learn from the successful long-running series.

1. Test out your concept before betting the farm

Many people who watch the show may not realize that it actually started out as a segment on Fox’s The Tracey Ullman Show. This gave creator Matt Groening, who still leads the show, the perfect platform for testing out the crazy family and seeing how people reacted to them. People liked the segment, and just two years later The Simpsonsshow found its way into Fox’s lineup of programs. Because Groening tested out the concept for The Simpsons before heading straight for its own place in the line-up, it gave him a chance to hone the show, build up an audience base, and smooth out any rough edges. When it hit the network as its own show, the kinks had been worked out, fans followed, and the buzz began building.

2. Don’t fix what ain’t broke

Have you ever noticed that Homer, Marge, Bart and the entire gang haven’t aged one bit? Even their personalities have remained the same over the last couple of decades. Shoot, they haven’t even changed the furniture in their house, and we are talking over 20 years! This just goes to show, if what you are doing is working, stop looking to make changes. Keep doing what is working, and you will keep reaping the rewards.

3. Ignore the copycats

As an entrepreneur, you have to be aware that people will always copy what is successful. The Simpsons started a trend of the new “adult cartoon” age. They were followed by shows like King of the HillSouth Park and Family Guy. But that didn’t phase them. The Simpsons just chugged along and didn’t complain or continuously focus on what others were doing. Instead, they just let the copy cats come and go, and still they remain. They focused on being their best, not on beating the other guy.

4. Be a rule breaker

The Simpsons was cutting edge. When it came out, people were shocked. Shoot, many of us had to sneak it in by putting the kids to bed early. They had real violence in cartoons, like actual blood and gore—shocking! They said things were weren’t used to hearing. Shocking! Those things got attention at that time. Now that the “shock” has been around for so long, it is no longer shocking. Now for many families, it has jut become a family favorite.

When you study something that has been successful, regardless of what field it is in, you can learn a lot. Even a popular cartoon television show has lessons that all entrepreneurs can learn from in order to help their business become great. The bottom line is that The Simpsons have stood the test of time because they tested the concept, continued doing what was working, ignored the competition, and broke some rules. Repeat that, and you will have the recipe to what it takes to have a great business!

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