Eight Movies All Small Business Owners Should Watch

Jinky Romero Ironwood Insights

Operating a successful small business is usually aided by a lot of help and motivation from mentors, friends, and employees. Sometimes, though, we learn some of the most important lessons, in business or in life, from the big screen! It doesn’t hurt to get entertained while learning how to further grow your business. Films, when made correctly, have the power to inspire and teach even the most experienced entrepreneurs.

Here are some of the best movies all small business owners should definitely add to their next movie night list and why (click on the titles for the trailers!):

The Social Network

While Facebook is no way a small business, the whole empire did start with just two college kids in a dorm room at Harvard. However, much more than being the origin story of Facebook, The Social Network is also a movie about the twists and turns that come with starting and growing your own business. It shows just how important integrity and morals come into play and how much of it gets tested when making hard business decisions.

The Pursuit of Happyness

The biographical drama starring Will Smith tells the story of a struggling San Francisco salesman who goes from being homeless to becoming a Wall Street legend. If you’re a small business owner starting out or going through some troubles, this movie will reiterate to you the critical importance of resourcefulness, hard work, and determination in reaching your goals.

Big Night

This 1996 film tells the story of immigrant brothers Chef Primo and businessman Secondo who open their dream restaurant in New Jersey. However, Primo refuses to budge on his vision of serving only truly authentic Italian food, compromising the future of the business – but one night with a famous musician dining in their restaurant can change all that. The conflict in Big Night is something a lot of small business owners deal with, especially in the beginning. This movie offers that valuable business lesson that, most of the time, compromise is needed to be successful.

Glengarry Glen Ross

“ABC = Always Be Closing” may be the most famous business lesson to come from this movie, but it certainly isn’t the only one. Glengarry Glen Ross explores the high-pressure environment of a New York City real estate office, and provides a good look at how competition drives sales. The movie offers a number of tips on how to be an effective salesman and also a bleak reality about business: it’s sketchier than you think.

Catch Me if You Can

Catch Me if You Can tells the real life story of Frank Abagnale, Jr. who, at the age of 17, became the most successful bank robber in the history of the U.S. While a con man’s life may not be the best business model to pattern your small business to, there are a multiple of things about Abagnale personality that should be emulated by business owners. His confidence, resourcefulness, and risk-taking nature are just some – be sure not to use them for all that fraud and deception though!

Office Space

This satirical comedy and cult classic gives the viewers an insider’s look at life in a software company through the eyes of employees who hate their jobs. Initech, the fictional workplace in the movie, is the very definition of a terrible job – poor management, little to no transparency and communication, and low company morale. Not only does this make for a hilarious and slightly realistic setting, it also teaches the viewers some valuable life and business lessons.

The Devil Wears Prada

The fashion industry might not be the most relatable setting for most, but the struggles Andy goes through is something familiar to all entrepreneurs. Most known for Meryl Streep’s memorable role as Miranda Priestly, The Devil Wears Prada will take small business owners on a journey much like theirs – one of unfamiliar and uncomfortable situations, hard to please people, and energy consuming pressure – and how to overcome them. Another lesson it teaches: Never underestimate the value of hard work!

Jerry Maguire

After getting fired from his agency due to a crisis of conscience on his part, sports agent Jerry Maguire starts his own firm with his former secretary and one athlete as his sole client. Ultimately, he gains success by setting aside his desire to make more money and putting his client’s needs first. More than its immortalized “You complete me” scene, Jerry Maguire is a film that offers some of the most important business lessons and rules small business owners can learn.