Image by: Open Clips
By Dexter Lunde
When I think of my childhood (let me know if this sounds familiar, guys), I spend a lot of my time hunting ducks with a plastic rifle, aimed right at my computer screen. Duck Hunt and Super Mario Bros. were well-loved games in my family. In fact, all of that gaming is what made me decide to get into the business that I’m in (tech and writing).
To this day, Nintendo still has a big impact in my life and if you’re a businessman like myself, it should be having an impact in your life too. In its long history, Nintendo has a lot to teach businesses.
#1) Experiment and Innovate
When you think of Nintendo, what is the first image that comes to mind? A goofy, little, Italian plumber and his brother, right? Well, while Super Mario is the company’s most well-known project, it was not the first. By far. Nintendo got its start in Kyoto, Japan by making playing cards…for the Yakusa. After that, it began to expand, going from cards to taxi cabs to Lego-like products.
Instead of waving their white flag when a project went down in flames, or just withered to a standstill, Nintendo continued to evolve until the 1980’s when it exploded onto the gaming scene – much like the Yakuza does in certain situations.
So what can you learn from this? Never give up. Experiment and be innovative. Instead of throwing your hands up in the air, when a project doesn’t pan-out look at the issues and learn from them. This goes for all of your areas of business: e-commerce, marketing, sales, advertisement, etc.
#2) Jump on an Opportunity (Even if it’s Frightening)
In the 80’s there was a surge of video games. Most of which were played on the Atari (remember those?). If you do remember those vintage machines, most of the games were just blips on the screen; they were Pong-like games. More and more of those games flooded the market and people were getting sick of the lagging quality.
So what did Nintendo do? They jumped at the chance to create something bigger and better than what was out on the market. They saw what parents and kids were having issues with (the poor quality of video games) and they made a better one.
What is there to learn from this? Invest in your research and development team. They are going to bring you to the forefront of innovation. If your company is the modern day version of “Atari”, don’t continue to make more of the same. Aim your sights higher. Aim higher with quality but keep it simple for your consumers.
#3) Keep It Simple
The problem that Nintendo is running into now is that their products have confusing GamePad controllers and that is becoming a nuisance to its users. Let’s take this information and make it applicable to you. Let’s take a look at e-commerce driven businesses.
If you run a website and find that while your website keeps getting a lot of hits but few people are buying anything, perhaps it is because your website is the online version of Nintendo’s newest GamePads. Too many buttons. Too many pages. “What does this button do?”
Guys, I’m not saying that you need to dumb everything down for your customers. What I am saying is that you should keep your website simple and user friendly. Take a look at your design. It may catch your eye but does it take away from your sales? Check out a website analytics program to see just how your site is performing.
Crazy Egg is a great website analytics company. Depending on what program you want, the price can vary from 9$ to 99$. Check out their 30 day free trail and see if you like it. Heat maps, scroll maps, clicks, there is just so much that this company offers.
#4) Risk-Taking Behavior
Remember when your high school counselor told you that you have “dangerous risk-taking behaviors”? Well, instead of scolding you, they probably should have channeled all of that energy into a business class.
Nintendo has always been a radical daredevil of a company. Remember who came out with a motion detecting game console first? Yup, that was Nintendo (the Wii) back in 2006. They have always been on the cusp of the latest technologies.
Taking risks can be scary (particularly when involves money – especially when that money isn’t yours) but that is the kind of behavior that can get you results. If you don’t trust in your instincts, hire some other instincts. Like I said before, a well-developed and innovative research and development team is your best asset.
#5) Make People Fall In Love With You
Over the span of 30 years, Nintendo has come up with some memorable characters. We all have our favorites and their images, songs, and sayings are all ingrained in our brain. Sometimes I still hear the Super Mario Bros. underground level music play when I head down to the basement to work in my shop. I’m working on installing a theme song for every room in my house (my girl just doesn’t know it yet).
Those characters will keep bringing us back to Nintendo. They will always be able to sell Duck Hunt t-shirts to my immediate family. We spent a lot of time with those characters growing up. They are a part of our immediate families. All companies should have that amount of love from their customers. That loyalty is undying.