If only business were like Super Mario…

It’s your usual – “boy meets girl story”. Boy (Mario) meets girl. Princess to be precise. Girl gets stolen from boy by a turtle (Koopa). It can happen. Boy keeps trying to get girl back only to be thwarted time upon time.

So what’s this got to do with business? Well, unless you own shares in Nintendo, nothing yet. But bear with me.

Super Mario brothers

Mario has a pretty tough time of it. Numerous characters are out to get him – highly toxic armed guards, giant spiders and some deadly ghouls. He has to navigate a wide ranging terrain from perilous bouncy platforms to creepy castles with moving walls and fire-pits.

So you see here’s the rather tenuous link. Business is a lot like Super Mario. You have to overcome a lot of different challenges. Some of them you are better at than others. It’s the ones you aren’t so good at that take you down. There are people out to get you in business, some with legitimate reasons (competitors); others with a devilish need for inflicting pain (scammers, hackers, con-artists).

Is that it? The point of this post was to draw a rather tenuous link between a computer game and the cut and thrust of business life?

There is more. What really strikes me with Mario is the ease in which the user can try again. Game over? No worries – just hit the ‘continue’ button and receive five new lives. Business sadly isn’t like that. You pour your heart and soul into it and at the end you survive (get the girl) or die (fall into the abyss for the final time).

Which got me thinking: Wouldn’t it be great if we could instil a bit of Super Mario into business life? Well to some degree, we actually can. Too often in business it’s all or nothing. New business owners take the plunge – give up their job, remortgage their house and spend every last penny/cent on new premises, stock etc. What they should be doing is playing the game a bit smarter. Test the water with a more modest start-up investment. Buy a small amount of stock and get a feel for the market. Begin business life as a cottage industry and keep the day job going.

In short, accept the fact that you may need a few lives if defeating the evil turtle and his cronies is your ultimate outcome. But you do so in the knowledge that each time you get back on board, you’re just that little bit smarter. You understand how the moving platform operates and you know the path the giant bat takes. Next time you come out on top, until eventually, you get the Princess and can ride off into the sunset.

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