I grew up with Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley. We attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry together. While they did not officially offer a business course, that didn’t stop me from learning a ton about running a successful business inside those castle walls. Here are my top lessons I learned during my studies.
Editor's Note: Kara Whaley, our Board Member charged with Budget and Evaluation Support, is also a published Huffington Post blogger! On the occasion of the publication of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, she has given us permission to re-post the content below, which was originally published here. Though this post focuses on running a business, we believe it also gives good advice for both nonprofits and life. Enjoy!
Know your people
Hogwarts knows their people. They have a list! (Harry was on the list ever since he was born, must be a magic list, lucky them.) Further, each house has their “ideal client” mapped out pretty perfectly.
You might belong in Gryffindor, where dwell the brave at heart, their daring, nerve and chivalry, set Gryffindors apart. You might belong in Hufflepuff, where they are just and loyal, those patient Hufflepuffs are true, and unafraid of toil. Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw, if you’ve a ready mind, where those of wit and learning, will always find their kind. Or perhaps in Slytherin, you’ll make your real friends, those cunning folk use any means, to achieve their ends.
Does your business have a list? How about an ideal client map? The answer should be a resounding YES. Bonus points if you have those already! It’s super important to know who your people are. What do they do? What are their values? Where do they shop? Do they love Harry Potter? (Hint, if you’re here, that’s probably a YES!)
I’m not saying you have to send owls to your clients’ houses. But you need to be persistent. You need to show up. You need to follow up. When you get an inquiry, by phone or email, you better respond. Hogwarts sent Harry some 75 owls, I think you can manage to send an email!
If you’re anything like me, chronically forgetful unless something is dancing in front of you wearing Dobby’s tea cozy, use an email tool like Boomerang. Boomerang sends the email out of your inbox for a set amount of time, until you need to see it again (to follow up, send a howler, etc). It’s magic.
Wow them with magic ceilings
It’s not real, the ceiling. It’s just bewitched to look like the night sky. I read about it in Hogwarts, A History. - Hermione Granger
Despite this quote, Hermione was damn impressed with that bewitched ceiling. She and all the other first years were awestruck at the magnificence and wonder. You should take a leaf out of Hogwarts, A History and wow your clients. Maybe you aren’t a high-level wizard and therefore cannot enchant your ceilings. You can go above and beyond in your customer service exchanges, in all your client communications, in all of your potential client interactions. I am not talking about smoke and mirrors, I am talking about real magic. Wow them with substance, with service, with value.
Even clients who don’t contract your services, leave with thinking, wow, that person (YOU) is really fantastic, they really exceeded my expectations! Word travels fast, and you always want to leave a great first impression. (Even for first years.)
Run exciting challenges (or dangerous Triwizard Tournaments)
There is nothing more exciting than an old disbanded and dangerous wizard tournament, except perhaps challenges! Once you have your ideal client pinpointed, you can create a challenge that calls to their very core, and excites them. Your goal is to activate them to do something. To get them on your list, detox from sugar, declutter their house, the list continues infinitely! Challenges are a really fun way for you to grow your businesses reach and engagement with your audience in a really fun and authentic way.
You need a Golden Trio
Behind every hella successful business is a dedicated team of talented individuals. Harry had Hermione and Ron backing him up, and could not have done it all without them. You don’t have to do it all alone. In fact, you should not. Find some things in your business that you can immediately begin outsourcing, like, this week. Turn that extra time into marketing, refining your skills, or maybe taking a nap.
If you already are an outsourcing pro, how can you start building your dream team? What does your dream team look like? Do you need a Hermione Granger to keep you organized and on track? Write that down! Make it happen.
When in doubt, go to the library
We live the age of information. You can learn about anything and everything in a matter of seconds. Do you know how envious Hermione Jean Granger would be? She read countless texts in her (+ the Trio’s) efforts to learn about Nicholas Flamel. All you have to do is move your fingers than five inches (and even less if you are mobile, or using Siri/OK Google!). Take advantage of the technology that we have today!
If you get stuck, start with our pal Google. Spend a good 10 minutes searching, and if you can’t find anything to help you, move to Facebook Groups.
The weapon we have is love
Whether you are running a business, fighting a dark lord, or battling for equal rights, the greatest lesson I’ve learned is that the weapon we have is love. There are going to be people who want to harsh your mellow and otherwise drag you down. But that doesn’t mean you go down without a fight.
I’ll leave you with a challenge. How could you improve your business based on the above areas? Or, if you learned any other lessons at Hogwarts (maybe I was in the hospital wing), leave them in the comments. I’d love to hear what you’ve come up with!