10 business lessons from Julia Roberts’ Pretty Woman

Pretty Woman – one of the best movies of all time with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in dazzling form – can actually teach SME business owners and thing or 10 about business. By Amanda Rose.

Pretty Woman – one of the best movies of all time with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in dazzling form – can actually teach SME business owners and thing or 10 about business. By Amanda Rose.

It may sound a little crazy, but if you were to watch the film with business in mind, you would find plenty of situations that are applicable to the business world. So, here is the 10 most valuable business lessons from Pretty Woman.

#1. It is, in fact, a man’s world: Throughout the film you see the power that men hold in business and how it allows them to become more powerful outside of it as well. This isn’t to say that men don’t deserve power if they work hard for it; it’s just the simple truth.

#2. Etiquette is important and will always be valued: This is shown in the scene where the female protagonist, Vivian, starts learning how to act in formal eating arrangements, such as which fork you use for each meal. This shows how important it is to always act as refined as you can, because it shows that you respect others, and then they will respect you.

#3. Image is everything: This is quite an obvious one. Before her makeover, no one respected Vivian. There is even a scene where she is refused service at a clothing store. Later on in the film, once Vivian receives a makeover she is treated with respect purely because of what she is wearing and how she carries herself. She even goes to the same clothing store where she was turned away and is met with a much different reaction.

#4. Treat everyone with respect: This ties in with the above point of Vivian being turned away at the clothing store. When she does return with her new makeover and the assistant approaches her Vivian informs her of how she wouldn’t wait on her the day before and upon the shop assistant confirming that she works on commission, Vivian says, “Big mistake. Huge mistake. I have to go shopping now.” They missed out on a lot of commission because of a judgmental attitude.

#5. Call bluff: At the beginning of the film when the two characters meet while on the strip and Vivian realises that Edward isn’t interested in her ‘services’ and simply wants directions, she charges him for them. She even states, “I can do anything I want to baby, I ain’t lost”, using her knowledge to her advantage. Case in point, turn every situation into an opportunity.

#6. The importance of events: You see the characters attending events throughout the film in the name of business. Even though it is clear that they don’t like everyone, they understand that it is important to be respectful in order to do business. And let’s face it, a lot of business is done at these events.

#7. Negotiating – never undervalue yourself: This is something women do quite often – they settle during negotiations. This is seen in the film when the two characters are negotiating for Vivian to stay on as Edward’s ‘employee’ for a week and upon settling for $3,000, Vivian says she’d have settled for $2,000 while Edward said he would’ve paid $4,000. Stick to your guns ladies.

#8. Money talks. Money is power: People will flatter you to no end if they are spending your money and don’t care about what else you’re doing. Which we see between Mr. Hollister and Edward when the former says, “I like him so much”, upon realising he gets to spend his money. Don’t let this get to your head; only use your money to enhance your brand, and not because you enjoy the flattery.

#9. A genuine compliment can save a situation: When Vivian informs Edward that he is late, he replies simply stating how stunning she looks, causing her to say, “You’re forgiven” straight away. A great example of how a kind word can turn away anger. Try it.

#10. If you think you deserve better, you do: When Edward told Vivian that he would like for her to stay in a condo and he would come around whenever he could, she knew that she deserved better and if he wasn’t going to give her that she’d find someone who would. Be willing to aim high and go for it, never ever settle. 

Now you have an excuse to whip out the DVD and watch Pretty Woman.

Amanda Rose is Australia's only Strategic Connector and Founder of The Business Woman Media. 
This article was first published by The Business Woman Media.

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