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Lessons for Small Businesses from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia #1

Topic: Business Management | Comments (1)

Posted on July 6, 2010 by admin

Always Sunny as it’s known by its league of fans, is really a story of people trying to run a small family business. It’s owners, like most small businesses, struggle with how to be personally successful and how to make their business successful. They are motivated primarily by improving their quality of life and by personal and professional ambitions. It is in some ways, the quintessential story of the small family business. I’ve been told that running Paddy’s Bar, is the “American Dream”. Who wouldn’t want to run a bar with her best friends and her Dad?

Yes, Always Sunny is a parody of American greed, morality and ambition thrust in the amusing framework of running a small business. These are not role models. “The Gang” as they are known, is a group of five hilarious but conniving and manipulative alcoholics absent of all sense of loyalty, morality, and fair play. They posses an astonishing and habitual love of lying, cheating and shortcuts involving violence. Each episode revolves around hatching some type of flawed, self-serving plan that aims to provide for personal wealth and/or business success, preferably at the expense of each other and everyone else unfortunate enough to be in their path.

And you say there’s a lesson for my small business in here?

Yes! Always Sunny uses common patterns of behavior and long held acumen that real businesses employ and then expands them into grotesque parodies. These are real situations, blown up until their horrific exaggeration illuminates the flaw in the practice. Always Sunny is a perfect roadmap for exactly what not to do with your business. If only our own mistakes were so blatantly obvious!

Take the clip below, which stems from the eternal struggle of the business to increase its profile and revenue stream.

Please note: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia contains mature subject matter, foul language, violence and sexuality and is recommended for adult viewers only.

Small businesses all start with one thing in common. An idea. But how do you know if your idea is worth investing your time and resources? How can you evaluate the idea before investing any capital, whether it be a new product, a new way to market your business or a new system?

Kitten Mittons are a great case study to examine a methodology for evaluating a new idea. We like to call it the “Two Questions” method:

Question #1:What problem does it solve?

Having a goal or mission statement, one which defines the problem you are trying to solve with your product/service, will help you refine your marketing, product development, and overall vision. This will help you define your audience and evaluate the potential feasibility of your endeavor.

What problem does Kitten Mittons Solve? Answer: Your cat walking around is making so much noise and driving you crazy.

Question #2: Is it a problem people want or need solved?”

Once you have reframed the idea in answer to Question #2, you can really evaluate the idea and its potential.

In this case, “loud cat walking” is not a problem that needs to be solved, because cats as nocturnal hunters have evolved padded feet so that they can sneak up on their prey.

Finding the answer to these two questions will help you refine your vision and your mission statement and pinpoint a demographic and the appropriate voice to target that demographic. It can also help you pause before moving forward with an idea that may lack sustainability.

The fact that “The Gang” is constantly generating creative ideas to generate new clientele and revenue sources in itself is not a bad thing. In fact, their willingness to constantly generate new promotional ideas and new products is awe inspiring, as is their constant stream of creative ideas. They are hungry and willing to take risks and as a small business owner you should be also! Stopping to use the “Two Questions Method” is a quick way to evaluate an idea before you start to invest time and resources.

Stay tuned for more lessons from Always Sunny and feel free to let us know if there are other shows which have taught you about how to run your business!