Written by Laura Gayle, Business Woman Guide
For a moment, put aside the sex and violence (and dragons) and instead, examine the strategic political maneuvering that got the characters where they were going, from Hardhome to Qarth, from the Red Waste to … wherever Arya Stark was sailing to. The worlds are fictional, but the mentality, methods, and messages used by their would-be rulers to build loyal followings for their houses are true and timeless. Consider these examples:
You never know what the world will throw at you, but something will always come. It helps to hope for the best but plan for the worst. To prepare an emergency plan, first brainstorm for potential hazards that might come your way. (Staff shake-ups, natural disasters, data breaches, and financial shortfalls are the first — but not only — threats that come to mind.) Then research a plan to respond to each, delegate tasks to the appropriate employees, and run drills whenever possible.
Characters on GOT who routinely procured inside information typically survived longer than those who knew little (until the final season, that is). The same is true in business and marketing: Knowledge is power. Understanding your rivals is the key to staying competitive, just as understanding your market and its needs is the key to greater profits.
Research the customers who use your services or buy your products. Learn why they turn to you: Is it the prompt friendliness of your customer service, the quality of your product, the integrity of your company’s message? Whatever the reason, capitalize on that information and build your company with that knowledge.
Relationships mean everything in business; they can help you cultivate growth exponentially beyond what you could grow alone. As you build your company, make alliances with people and entities willing to share their resources — knowledge, money, materials, access to others who could help. And whenever you have an opportunity to return or augment the favor, do it without hesitation. Then, when you suffer a setback, you’ll be able to rely on the help and support of those allies. Remember the proverb: “In the moment of crisis, the wise build bridges and the foolish build dams.”
It takes money to win battles, whether you spend it on horses, swords, and armor, or data, AI, software, and staffing. The smartest way to use your money is to consistently track it as you use it to develop your business. Keep receipts and meticulous records, calculate your tax expenses, never forget what you owe, and pay your debts as promptly as possible.
Once you find a likely location for your HQ, embrace its unique character and establish your rule there. Linking your brand to a popular location is a smart move for building its buzz — and it can save you money if you set up shop in a city where rent is more affordable. For example, in the U.S., average rents in New York are about three times more than in Tampa; and comparing African cities within the same region, living expenses in Lusaka are roughly half of those in Harare. Find a city whose culture and cost of living fit with your company culture, then plant your flag there.
Sigils and banners are seen from afar
Speaking of flags and banners, what impact do yours make? First impressions matter, so it’s worth looking at your logo and materials with a critical eye to make sure they represent your ideals. (We’re looking at you, Stannis Baratheon.) Once you have it in good shape, take pride in your logo — and fly that flag everywhere you can! Spotlight your organization by attending trade shows, conferences, and other networking opportunities.
Bounce back from adversity
Creating and sustaining a business can be a complicated and grueling process, and it’s not always going to go perfectly. There’s no “Shame!” in trying and failing, especially if you get back up to “rise again, harder and stronger” and learn from your mistakes. (And always remember: No matter how egregious, the results of your business missteps can’t be as horrendous as being paraded naked through the streets and pelted with food.)
As fascinating and popular as “Game of Thrones” was, it was just a TV show — and now it’s over. But especially if you run a business and hope to market and grow its opportunities, then the show’s sometimes brutal, always pragmatic outlook can still offer you a number of useful lessons. Plan for adversity, use your knowledge, build alliances, pay your debts, and watch your business thrive.