So you know the basic story of Charles Dickens’ The Christmas Carol, don’t you?
No? Then I suggest you watch The Muppet Christmas Carol, with Michael Caine as Scrooge, right now. Not only is it the quickest and most entertaining way to familiarise yourself with the story, it’s also the best Christmas movie – and the best Muppet movie – EVER. Even though the version you get on DVD is actually a much-shortened version of the original, as opposed to the VHS release in-
Okay, I’ll stop geeking out. But seriously, it’s a great movie – and has a lot to teach small business owners.
The Plot (if you don’t know it. Where have you been?)
A Christmas Carol tells the story of a mean, tight-fisted man called Ebenezer Scrooge, who is visited one Christmas Eve by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley. Marley warns him that he needs to end his miserly ways before it’s too late, and that his redemption lies in learning the lessons he taught by the visitors he will receive during the night. Scrooge is then visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet to Come, who show him the sadness he has caused and will cause in the future if he continues down his miserly path – and how miserable and hated he will become himself.
Be More Fezziwig
The Ghost of Christmas Past shows Scrooge scenes from his earlier life, including the happy times he spent working for Mr. Fezziwig, a generous and benevolent business owner who knew his employees well and cared about them, treating them to a very jolly Christmas party.
So what lessons can small business owners from Mr. Fezziwing? Simple.
Take an interest in your employees and show them that they are appreciated, not just at Christmas but all through the year. You don’t have to spend a fortune – it’s the thought that counts. A simple thank you goes a long way, and a small Christmas present that proves you listen to them and know what they’re interests are will say a lot more than a generic box of chocolates.
Be Less Marley
Jacob Marley is Scrooge’s deceased business partner, who appears in chains before him, tormented by the suffering he caused with his selfish and money-grabbing ways. His miserable existence is his punishment, and he wishes to save Scrooge from the same fate before it’s too late. Marley was an apprentice alongside Scrooge and a lifelong friend; together they changed from happy but ambitious young men to avaricious and hard-hearted bankers. He sends the three ghosts of Christmas to Scrooge to give him an opportunity for redemption.
So what lesson can Marley teach us?
That money isn’t everything, and nor is work. There needs to be a balance. Family and friends are important, and they will fall by the wayside if we don’t make them a priority. Business should not solely be about making the most profit, regardless of the consequences.
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