The Movies Every Entrepreneur Should Watch

Empty living room with a TV unit and television


Grab your popcorn, dust off your business plan and get inspired to start your small business – Hollywood style.


Usually, we watch movies for the escapism... but – as any entrepreneur will tell you – there's no getting away from a great business idea. While Thanos is clicking his fingers, you'll be thinking about USPs and branding options; and while The Force is awakening, you'll be obsessing over distribution plans and go-to-market strategies. Some movies, though, offer the perfect inspiration for business ideas. Settle in, and feast your eyes on these classics – each one with a lesson for aspiring entrepreneurs like you, who just need a nudge to finally get That Business started.


The Office (US, 2005-2013)


Specifically, the season 5 arc where Michael Scott (Steve Carell) leaves his employer to start a rival company (taking the receptionist with him), steals all his former company's clients, and watches it all flame out due to over-zealous price-cutting practices.



Your takeout: Don't try smart business tricks unless you know what you're doing. (Michael Scott clearly does not.)


Office Space (1999)


"Looks like you've been missing a lot of work lately." "Well, I wouldn't exactly say I've been missing it..." Watching The Office (Jim! Pam! Dwight!) will make you nostalgic for the pre-pandemic days of mingling with your co-workers. Watching Office Space will make you remember just how achingly dull office work can really be.



Your takeout: Systems and policies are great, but you never want your SME (or your staff) to be stuck in rounds of endless paperwork.


Ghostbusters (1984 and 2016)


Yes, Ghostbusters – both the 1980s original and the hilarious recent reboot. Because between the slime, the spooks and the special effects, Ghostbusters represents the ultimate small business.



Your takeout: Find your niche. The Busters use what they have to get the job done, and it's a job no one else in town can do.


The Social Network (2010)


On one level, The Social Network is a triumphant, Oscar-winning Facebook origins story. On another, it's the tragic tale of a monumentally disagreeable Mark Zuckerberg and how his win-at-all-costs approach left him with many "friends", but no actual friends.



Your takeout: You'll make some great contacts on your business journey, but you may lose a few as well.


Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)


You could view this little-known TV drama as a horror movie. (Seriously, how creepy is Anthony Michael Hall's take on Microsoft overlord Bill Gates?) It's better, though, to see it for what it really is: a thrilling look at the early days of what became the kajillion-dollar global tech industry, and what it took to build it.



Your takeout: Long hours. Creepy rivals. Ominous music. You'll have to be brave to be an entrepreneur!


Chef (2014)


A chef who feels stuck decides to ditch his restaurant job to start his own taco truck. The movie is based on a true story, and just like real life, it's a dramedy: part drama, part comedy.



Your takeout: Follow your dreams... but know that you'll be putting in hours and hours of hard work. And you'll love it.


FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened (2019)


This Netflix documentary tracks the spectacular disaster of an A-list event that quickly devolved into a mismanaged fiasco. It's utterly unbelievable, and totally true.



Your takeout: Deliver on what you promise.


Jerry Maguire (1996)


Yes, it's a sports movie. And yes, it's a wonderfully sweet romantic comedy. But it's also all the inspiration you need to plan your business, gracefully leave your corporate job and actually begin your amazing start-up.



Your takeout: When you need to leave, leave. Take the goldfish. But don't make a scene.


The Devil Wears Prada (2006)


True story: when this workplace comedy came out, magazine editors across South Africa saw Meryl Streep's devilish boss Miranda Priestly as a role model. Guys, the hero of the movie is actually Anne Hathaway's Andy, whose hellish experience in the fashion world ultimately prompts her to (spoiler alert) fulfil her real career dreams.



Your takeout: Be the boss. But don't be That Boss.


The Founder (2017)


This biographic drama tells the story of businessman Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) and how he created the global empire that is McDonald's. It's a fascinating film, and one that doesn't shy away from the tough decisions Kroc had to make along the way.


Your takeout: Branding. Is. Everything.


As this movie playlist shows, there's plenty that can go right (and wrong) when you're running a business. Make sure you have what you need to make your SME flourish, and that you're adequately protected from life's great plot twists. Use our tools to compare Business Legal Cover quotes and Business Insurance quotes. And if you need a kick-start for your start-up, consider applying for a Business Loan.


This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, legal or medical advice.

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