Breaking Bad is probably one of the greatest shows airing on TV – and it has been for the last five years. It’s definitely not a show packed with great life lessons (“produce meth and get rich” certainly isn’t one most would teach their kids), but there are a few good things that can be learned from it.
When it comes to startups, few showed as much success as Walter White and his uniquely colored product. He has had to overcome a lot of adversity in the last few years, but his travails have taught some pretty important lessons about startup companies:
1. Consider your distributors carefully
At the beginning, Mr. White and Jesse Pinkman were distributing the product via Jesse’s friends – one of which ended up getting shot because he was distributing on the wrong street corner. Let this be a lesson to you: Choose your distributors carefully.
No, you won’t get shot if you don’t find the right distributors for your product, but you do want to be successful. Walter White didn’t succeed until he found a larger group to distribute his product, and you should consider hooking up with larger companies and corporations as your ideal distributors.
2. Do market research first
Walter White is a genius when it comes to chemicals, but how much more could he have done if he had turned his genius to any product other than meth? Sure, meth sells, but it’s a dangerous market to compete in. How many times has he nearly died in the last 4 seasons, all because of his product, all because he didn’t know his competition?
What product are you selling? Are you selling something that can compete in your target market? Do you know who your competition is? Do you know what to do to make that product a success? It may be harder than you think, and market research can reveal the truth about your target market.
3. Start out small
The very first ‘cook’ Jesse and Walter White did was very small – done in an RV with basic lab equipment. They started out small, and slowly scaled up their output as the demand increased. That is a smart way to grow.
Are you aiming for instant success – hoping you’ll make it big by going big? If you go too big, you may end up crashing and burning. Start out on a small scale, and increase the size of your operations, your product output, and your workforce as your company’s success expands.
4. Keep your day job
For the first season or two, Walter White kept his day job as a high school teacher. He used it as a cover for his criminal activities, but it helped to provide him with a stable source of income as he produced and sold his unique product.
You may want to keep your day job as well, especially if your company is having a hard time taking off. You’ll need that extra income to keep yourself and your family supported, and you may even be able to earn enough to invest in your start up.
5. Work with the right people
Walter White worked with many people over the course of the five seasons, but Jesse Pinkman has been a fixture of his operation. They’ve been through alot together, and they’ve always come out strong.
That’s what you should look for: a good team that will help you take your startup to success. You’ll need people you can trust, that you can count on, and that will push your company forward. A good team is the key to your startup’s success.