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5 Things Ninjas Taught Me About Entrepreneurship

*Throws smoke bomb down and runs away*

If you see him, it’s already too late.

Ninja movies are kind of predictable, I get it. But still, I love ’em. In my opinion, the ones from the 80s are the best because they all have famed Ninja master Sho Kosugi in them and he’s a total and complete badass.

There’s usually a good guy ninja and and a bad guy ninja and there’s always drama about a big pending drug deal or something. The plots are pretty thin, but it’s ok because because the action is solid and the weapons and gadgets used in the fight scenes are all pretty rad. A distraction from the thin plot, yes, but it’s ok to just enjoy something mindless every once in a while, right? Right.

I’ve said before that if we all, as adults, became what we wanted to be when we were 9 years old, then there would be all these adult Ninjas walking around today. That’s not real life and it’s ok to change as you grow up. Really…it is.

But, there’s a lot we, as well-adapted adults, can learn from ninja movies. Here’s five things about entrepreneurship I learned from every ninja movie ever:

1. Problems don’t come at you one at a time.

There’s always the scene where the good ninja is surrounded by all the bad ninjas in a perfect circle. What happens next? You know what happens next. The bad ninjas take frickin’ turns attacking the good guy in the middle. What the hell?

In entrepreneurship, issues don’t come at you one at a time. They come at you whenever they want and with no regard to how many other issues you’re dealing with at the time. The lesson here is that although they come at you all at once, sometimes you have to deal with them one at a time. That’s just how it can be.

Deal with them quickly. Deal with them swiftly. Prioritize which can be squashed then and there, and which ones just need to be flipped over your back to buy yourself some time to deal with them later.

2. Always have something up your sleeve.

It’s probably the #1 reason why I love ninjas so much. There’s always something up their sleeve — in their case, pretty damn literally. No matter what situation or how it might have changed, they have the exact weapon or gadget tucked away in a secret pocket and easily accessible.

In business, you’ll need to be able to change plans on the fly, so always have backup plans and be prepared for anything. Bring what you definitely need, and also bring what you maybe need. Secret pockets are the best.

3. Don’t waste all your throwing stars.

Rookie ninja mistake. Aimlessly throwing your super-sharp stars and missing your target. There it goes, dramatically stuck in the tree trunk behind which your enemy is hiding. One throwing star — wasted, and all you had to do is be a little more patient.

Patience. That’s a hard one. It’s easy to get wrapped up in starting a business and trying to do all the things you read about and go fast, fast, fast. Buy all the ads. Secure all the inventory. Get all the funding and GO GO GO!

But that’s not always the best idea. Be lean. Have patience. Start small…then work at it. If you can’t run a small business, then you for sure won’t be able to run a bigger one. Keep your assets until it’s the right time to use them. Buying ads for your consumer product company? Start by selecting the best few times of the year to invest in ads and make that work first. Scaling is good, but make sure you have something to scale from.

4. Don’t bring brass knuckles to a sword fight.

Whether in business or in ancient Japanese folklore, competition can be fierce. Come ready or don’t come at all.

When starting Magic Room Brand, it was important from the get-go that I build something that was different. Something that solved a problem that I felt (and found through market research) was evident in the marketplace: The lack of a viable, sustainable, and quality option for music accessories.

I didn’t want to try to elbow my way into a market that already had what I had. I wanted to burst onto the scene with something refreshing, new, and badass.

Bring the goods. Don’t have the goods? Invent the goods. Show up ready to rumble.

5. Get the job done. Expect success. Don’t take a victory lap.

Of all the ninja movies I’ve seen, not once did a victor showboat or take a victory lap. Not once. If I’m forgetting a time where it happened, I’m sure the dead ninja wasn’t actually dead and then back-flipped out of the pit and killed the other guy when he was showboating. Either way, you get what I’m saying.

As an entrepreneur, you’ll win some and lose some. Actually, that’s true for everyone. But all showboating does is make it look like you’ve never been there before and don’t know how to handle it. It indicates that even you didn’t expect to win.

It’s ok to celebrate it, but that’s different then showboating. Be psyched, then move on to what’s next. Don’t be surprised by success. Expect it.

Have any to add? Drop me a note or throw down a comment below. If you’re a true ninja, I may never see you coming…..


Vijoy Rao || Founder // Magic Room Brand
Eco-friendly music accessories for today’s musicians. Sound. Strength. Sustainability.

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