3 Essential Small Business Lessons from Jerry Maguire

I've learned that the best advice can come from anywhere ... parents, a mentor, a book, billboards -- even a movie.

What is the best business advice you have received as an entrepreneur? I’ve learned that the best advice can come from anywhere … parents, a mentor, a book, billboards — even a movie. You’re not always sure why, but some movies can have a profound impact on the way you think.

Before I founded my company, friends and family always thought it was funny, yet admirable, how many businesses I had tried to start … and failed. However failure, ultimately, has been my best teacher. Maybe that’s why, in both my personal and professional life, I find myself thinking back to Jerry Maguire — Jerry Maguire (played by Tom Cruise) is a sports agent that has a moral epiphany and is fired for expressing it. Then he decides to put his new philosophy to the test as an independent with the only athlete who stays with him.

For me, this happened while watching the movie, Jerry Maguire. Yes! That Jerry Maguire. Admittedly, it’s a little embarrassing that some of my guiding entrepreneurial principles come from a movie with the immortalized “You complete me!” scene, but what can I say?

If you have seen the movie, you’ll remember Jerry’s mentor, the late and great Dicky Fox. Although Dicky Fox had limited screen time, his scenes in Jerry Maguire have stuck with me.



Here’s a look at three business lessons Dicky Fox taught me:


  1. “The key to this business is personal relationships.”

    You’ve likely heard the saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” I heard that a lot and it really resonated with me when I started seeing the value of my network in working with vendors. Building personal relationships has been an integral part of growing my business to-date.

  2. “Roll with the punches. Tomorrow is another day.”

    Anyone who ever started a business or runs one knows there are days when when it rains, and then there are days when it pours. There will always be dilemmas, but thankfully there is always tomorrow to find the solution for them. I’ve had to overcome problems that could have easily taken me out of business time and time again, but I always knew I had another day to fight.

  3. “If [the heart] is empty, [the head] doesn’t matter.”

    We all have personal problems, and those problems can easily interfere with our work. Some of my better, most thriving moments professionally came when I was very happy personally with my relationships and my family life. However, there were also periods when my personal life wasn’t going so well, and I was fueled to work harder, professionally, as a result. All in all, I’ve learned that when I’ve been happiest, I’ve been able to better focus on my business.

In the movie, Dicky Fox says, “I love getting up in the mornings, I clap my hands and say, ‘This is going to be a great day!'” I’d like to end with one last piece of advice — seriously, do this. Clap your hands in the morning, and say this quote out loud.

In the last few years, starting my day with positivity is a routine I have diligently applied. Love what you do from the beginning of your day to the end. As Dicky Fox says at the end of the film: “I don’t have all the answers. In life, to be honest, I have failed as much as I have succeeded. But I love my wife. I love my life. And I wish you my kind of success.”


Pablo Palatnik is the founder and CEO of ShadesDaddy.com, one of the largest online retailers of sunglasses in the world.


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