4 Business Lessons from The Michael Scott Paper Company
In a previous article, we discussed some of the lessons you can learn from the adult animated show, Rick and Morty. The Office, a workplace comedy, is another show that also offers some life lessons.
In season five, Michael Scott attempts to start his own paper company, “The Michael Scott Paper Company,” after quitting his old job at Dunder Mifflin.
These episodes are full of lessons for those who are looking to build their own startup. We’ve gathered 4 of them just for you.
1. Create an Office Space
When they first start out, the Michael Scott Paper Company is run out of Michael’s condo. Pam shows up prepared and dressed in a blazer while Michael is still in a bathrobe making French toast. Running a business out of your home is against the policies of the condo association so Michael is forced to look for a new office space.
The first-floor closet of the Scranton Business Park, directly under the Dunder Mifflin office, becomes their new headquarters. When you are easily distracted like Michael, it does well to create an environment that motivates you to do work. Albeit the sound of toilets flushing from the office above can be pretty distracting. Getting dressed into work clothes and sitting at a desk can help you to be a little bit more focused and professional.
2. Be a People Person
Despite all his faults, Michael knows how to connect with people. He has a kind heart and treats his employees like family. When no one else believed in him, Pam Beesly to joined him and she was able to secure the Michael Scott Paper Company its first sale.
When others make “cold sales,” Michael goes all out and establishes rapport with potential clients, wooing them with pancake luncheons. With this “unparalleled customer service” the Michael Scott Paper Company was able to steal 10 major clients from Dunder Mifflin.
3. Create a Good Sales Model
When the company begins to pick enough clients, they decide to look into hiring a delivery person. They call an accountant who tells them they cannot afford it and they will be bankrupt within weeks. This is due to their low prices and fixed-cost model, which is hurting their profits and causing net losses.
Undercutting your competitors pricing may seem like a good idea short-term, but it’s not sustainable or an effective revenue generation strategy. To earn a profit, your sales need to exceed costs. You should also try a differentiation strategy by identifying to customers what makes your business unique and better than your competitors.
4. Know Your Worth
Michael originally quit his long-time job as regional manager because he felt overlooked and disrespected. When the Michael Scott Paper Company starts stealing enough clients from Dunder Mifflin, CFO David Wallace realizes that they need to buy out their new competitor to prevent more losses.
Michael declines David’s first offer of $12,000 and his second offer of $60,000. Instead, Michael negotiates for his old job back and bringing on Pam and Ryan as salespeople. David argues that the salaries and benefits for three people would make this a “multi-million-dollar buyout,” and that his company “cannot be worth that much.”
In fact, Michael agrees that the company is worth nothing, but he and his people are worth a lot more than that.
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