3 Business Lessons From Starz' Hit Series 'BMF' (Season 1)
Updated: Jan 20
It was the poet Jason Phillips, that once said, “There’s a message in everything, trust me— even a bullet.” Kind of a harsh quote to come from a poet, right? Well, the truth is, whether we like it or not; there is a message in just about everything that happens in life—if we’re present enough to step back and analyze it. By the way, the poet Jason Phillips also goes by the stage name “Jadakiss”—A rapper from Yonkers, New York (which may explain why the quote was so harsh).
So, if there’s a message in everything—there’s certainly a lesson in everything as well. And that most certainly applies to the storyline of the Starz networks' new hit series BMF’.
BMF is a drama series inspired by real-life events of brothers Demetrius “Big Meech” Flenory and Terry “Southwest T” Flenory. The first season of the series focuses on the lives the brothers led prior to them becoming kingpins in the underworld of Detroit’s drug trade.
The series also highlights the brothers' entry into the underworld and the circumstances that played such a pivotal role in them getting involved in it, along with the trials and tribulations the brothers endured as illegal entrepreneurs.
And while the series is inspired by real-life events, everyone involved in the making of the show emphasizes that the show is used as a platform to warn; not glorify—the actions of the Flenory’s. But like Jadakiss said, there’s a message in everything. Here’s 3 business lessons from the series that can help every legit entrepreneur.
1. Stay agile
In the very first episode of BMF titled, “See it…touch it…obtain it.” The Flenory brothers are told by a rival crew called, “ The 12th street boys,” that their illegal operation was impeding on their turf, and that the brothers would have to set up shop at another location or else.
At the time, the 12th street boys had a much larger crew and operation than the Flenory brothers’ crew, the "50 boyz.”
The Brothers had two options. They could’ve let their pride get in the way and stood their ground—which would have resulted in going to war with the more powerful 12th street boys—which probably would’ve led to their likely defeat. Or, they could be agile and relocate to another area and live to fight another day.
This kind of situation happens in business every day—especially with startups.
If you’re entering an industry where there’s already more established companies that have more capital and resources than your company has, and they challenge you for customers; it’s best to be agile and find a way to still serve customers—but doing so in a way that doesn't directly challenge the bigger brands that could crush your organization.
Here’s a few ways to do that:
Target a different demographic.
Highlight a feature of a product or service your brand provides that the bigger brands have neglected (go niche).
Provide more service or better perceived value than the bigger brands.
A great example of entrepreneurs that went agile in order to defeat a much larger competitor is when Netflix founders, Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph, decided to enter the the home movie rental category—which was dominated by Blockbuster Video at the time.
Instead of trying to go directly at Blockbuster Video by opening up retail chain stores; Hastings and Randolph took the agile approach by highlighting the fact that Netflix served customers who didn't want to walk in a brick-and-mortar store in order to rent a video. They found and served customers that would prefer to rent videos by having them sent to them in the mail (which Blockbuster did not do at the time).
I don’t have to tell you how that turned out for both brands.
2. Get as close to consumers as possible
In episode 3, titled “Love all, trust few,” the 50 boyz decide to move their operation to the grounds of a factory worksite in order to sell their product under the guise of a food truck business. To the average person on the street, the customers in line appeared to only be purchasing burgers and fries.
By selling their product out of a food truck to factory workers on their worksite, the 50 boyz had an edge over their competitors because they made it easy for their customers to purchase their product without having to go far to get it. They simply sold their product to customers at a place they frequented—which was their workplace.
As an entrepreneur, it is imperative that you get as close to consumers as possible and make it extremely easy for them to purchase your product. The best ways to that do that is by:
Knowing which websites that your average customer frequents and providing links to your landing pages on those sites via paid advertising.
If you have a brick-and-mortar business, choosing a location that’s easy for your average customer to get to.
Having a website that’s simple to navigate; which also allows consumers to make a purchase with as few clicks as possible.
3. Don’t be a dinosaur
The third lesson from the series comes in episode 5 titled, “Secrets and Lies.” In this episode, there’s an exchange between the Flenory’s…let’s say, wholesaler—a guy named Pat, and a crooked cop named Detective Bryant. In the conversation, Detective Bryant told Pat that he’s, “A dinosaur that’s about to be extinct.” Because of how long he’s done business the same way.
As an entrepreneur, you must adapt to the times, or like Pat—your business will soon be extinct. That means that you, as the founder and/or CEO, must:
Constantly be aware of changes in any laws that will affect your business.
Be cognizant of changes in technology that could help your business.
Do a S.W.O.T. analysis every six months to understand your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
No matter which industry you’re in, things are constantly evolving around you. There’s always up-and-coming competitors that want the same things you want. And some will even make it their mission to take down your brand in order to ensure that they’ll have things their way. Don’t be a dinosaur, always stay alert and adapt to the times.