Top five business tips from Quentin Tarantino

1. "As a viewer, the minute I start getting confused, I check out of the movie. Emotionally, I'm severed."
Make sure your business proposition is straightforward and clearly presented. Tarantino is one of the film industry's most competent story-tellers. His plot lines may have more twists than a contortionist's spine but the narrative is always clear and easy to follow. Don't try and wow prospective customers with jargon or unnecessary statistics. Nobody likes to feel confused. That sale will disappear faster than you can say 'core competencies'.

2. "Dogs got personality. Personality goes a long way."

You hear it time and time again: people want to do business with people they like. We're not suggesting that you leap on a prospective client and lick their face, but a friendly, open attitude really can make all the difference. As Richard Branson, entrepreneur extraordinaire and founder of the Virgin Group, says: "A strong personality is a great asset when starting up your business. So is confidence to follow a vision."

3. "I steal from every movie ever made."
Tarantino has come under fire from a number of critics for 'borrowing' excessively from other film-makers. But this is a skill in itself: taking the best from a whole series of genres and directors to create box office smashes.

Don't be afraid to copy strategies that work, or cherrypick clever ideas from businesses you admire. Imitation is the highest form of flattery - although your rivals might not see it that way.

Mitesh Soma is the founder of £4m-turnover online pharmacy It's an e-commerce business but Soma has picked up a few tricks from the high street chemists: "Although we're an online chemist, customers value receiving personal advice when making medicinal purchases," he says. "This is why we've kept the traditional element of a high street pharmacy and have fully qualified pharmacists who are available to discuss symptoms and issues about medical problems with customers. If something works, there's no reason not to do it."

4. "If you want to make a movie, make it. Don't wait for a grant, don't wait for the perfect circumstances, just make it."

"The feeblest excuse ever given by a would-be entrepreneur is that they can't raise the start-up capital to get going," says Pizza Express CEO and serial entrepreneur Luke Johnson. Don't make excuses; just do it. There is a wealth of resource out there, included, with tips on how to bootstrap your start-up. There's no perfect time to launch a business. Just perfect passion.

5. "When people ask me if I went to film school I tell them: 'No, I went to films'."

Tarantino's mother allowed him to drop out of school at 17 years old to concentrate on his movie career. The teen Tarantino worked in video stores to stay close to the medium he loved, cram up on classic films and keep tabs on popular rentals.

The True Romance director never had a formal education in film. We're not dismissing entrepreneur programmes and MBAs entirely but learning on the job is usually preferable. Smarta founder Shaa Wasmund talks about her "MBA of life" - she didn't waste thousands of pounds on the theory of business, she just did it. If you want to run your own business, get out there and start making mistakes. That's how great business people are made.


Picture source: Debbie Cerda of Slackerwood

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