Five Business Lessons from Halloween

Lynda Starr

Happy Halloween.  While once an ancient Celtic festival, Halloween has evolved from All Hallows’ eve before All Saints’ Day into a secular holiday with child-friendly activities and costume parties for adults.  Never the winner of the best costume contest, I am still a fan of Halloween and started thinking about the lessons of Halloween that can be applied to the business world.

1. Step out of your comfort zone.

Halloween gives us an opportunity to dress in an unexpected costume and try something new.  This new thing can range from the meek going bold—the male as female or letting yourself be scared at a haunted house when you generally refuse to go on a roller coaster.  Halloween gives the opportunity to step out of character. While it’s comfortable and reduces risk to stay with the tried-and-true for many aspects of work, it can be beneficial to try a new way of doing things or to look at something in a different way.

2. Put in the effort.

People put much effort into coming up with the idea for the perfect costume.  They may comb through magazines, search the Web or ask friends for ideas. Next, comes the mission to design that costume or, sew or build the costume one’s self.  Some people even extend this effort and passion to their homes, making or buying the perfect decorations for inside and outside the home. Once having exerted the effort, be ready to reap the rewards which can range from a monetary prize for best costume or being the envy of the neighborhood. In business, effort can translate to sales and satisfied customers who realize you care.

3. Be prepared.

A good Halloween takes much planning.

  • Do we have enough candy?
  • Are the costumes ready?
  • Who will man the door?
  • Is the outside light on?

The same is true in business.

  • Is the presentation ready?
  • Does the demo work?
  • Does the projector work?
  • Are the collateral and website updated?

4. Make others happy

Have you ever seen the excitement on a child’s face after you praise her costume or gave him a piece of candy? This is similar to the joy on a client or co-worker’s face after receiving a good evaluation.  A satisfied customer knows that you can solve their problem at an affordable price and that you care about them as customers and individuals—they are not just account numbers to you.

5. Look for long-term benefits over short-term excitement

Many a child learned that as yummy as all that candy looks, if you eat too much on the first night, you’ll have a tummy ache. Businesses can be the same way when they search for short term gains—sell at rock bottom prices at the end of the quarter to meet sales quotas, but these new customers may not be loyal long-term customers.

Hope you have a fun Halloween and beware of things that go bump in the night.

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