Startups and SpongeBob SquarePants: Takeaways
Believe it or not, SpongeBob has been broadcasting since 1999 with 152 episodes and 340 story segments. Although kids have been the primary viewers throughout the years, there are many takeaways regarding business from this widely acclaimed show. A story typically involves a relatively simple problem in which SpongeBob and Patrick engage in outrageous, creative, and hilarious solutions in an attempt to solve these problems. Business lessons are often intertwined within these 15 minute long episodes. We can often turn to the great entrepreneurs of our time for advice, but sometimes it’s just more fun to turn to our favorite Porifera and his Echinoderm friend in Bikini Bottom.
1. Work Ethic
SpongeBob has an over-the-top work ethic. He is passionate about his job at the Krusty Krab restaurant where he is charged with making Krabby Patties. His example to all of us is that even in mundane tasks, we must put effort into the details in order for the results to be spectacular. SpongeBob once said “I always come here at three a.m. This is when I count the sesame seeds.” Although this an extreme example of quality control, it shows us that preparation and work ethic can take a business from “eh” to SPECTACULAR.
2. Core Strategy
Many times SpongeBob and Patrick found themselves with a “light bulb” of an idea and then made the efforts to pursue it. However, many obstacles come into play and they often stray from their original idea and go on wild whirlwind tangents that lead to laughs along the way, but also teach us valuable lessons. Many times we can conclude that if SpongeBob would have stuck with his original plan (Core Strategy), many of his pitfalls could have been easily avoided. As a startup, it is easy to be pulled in many directions, especially with the promise of opportunity. It is crucial to stay on track, analyze new opportunities within your core strategy, determine whether they are cohesive and act accordingly.
3. Don’t catch the “Get Rich Quick” bug
In the episode “Chocolate with Nuts”, SpongeBob finds a copy of “Fancy Living Digest” magazine and is struck by the idea that he can sell chocolate door-to-door and get rich quick. Together with Patrick, they encounter problem after problem as they attempt to sell a product they know nothing about to customers they know nothing about. They were both caught up in the idea of wealth and overlooked the due diligence that is crucial to starting a business.
4. Hire passion
Mr. Krabs is a typical cartoon boss who is obsessed with wealth and believes that “cash is king”. While he spends the majority of the time at the restaurant counting his money, he has done a great job at hiring talent to properly execute his business. Although you shouldn’t take too many business tips from Mr. Krabs, he shows us that we should hire our weaknesses, and hire employees with a strong work ethic.
5. Don’t let your work take over your life
Although SpongeBob demonstrates incredible drive and passion for his job, he also teaches us the dangers of letting your work take over your life. In the episode “Missing Identity”, he faints upon realizing his name tag is missing. This example teaches us that keeping a balance between work and personal life is crucial. Entrepreneurs often have to put in long hours and wear many hats, especially in the initial phases. Even though there may not be enough hours in a day, try to keep your life balanced. When you are not working, strive to rejuvenate and charge your batteries so when you do get back at it you have a clear, energized mind.