Biz Lessons We Can Learn from ‘Joy’, Jennifer Lawrence’s Latest Movie

 

The movie ‘Joy’ opens with a distraught Jennifer Lawrence, finding herself living a life she didn’t imagine. She had big dreams when she was a child, inventing alternate worlds and beautiful paper crafts. Now an adult and on the brink of having to make some big decisions about the next phase of her family’s life, she decides to take a big chance… one that, if you’re reading this, you likely know very well. She decides to pursue her dream of working for herself.

“In America everyday, people make what they will of themselves. I’m going to do something” Joy says. The story is based on the life of Joy Mangano, self-wringing Miracle Mop inventor. Beginning 25 years ago, the film follows Joy (Jennifer Lawrence) as she climbs from begging to have her idea featured on popular home shopping channel QVC, to being a literal household name, gaining mogul-status in her industry.

The movie is definitely not to be missed – it’s chockful of business-savvy and wisdom. But in case you’re in a rush (what entrepreneur isn’t?) and want to get straight to the goods, here are three lessons you can take away from Joy’s incredible story:

 

Make sure people actually use your product before you try to sell it

It seems counter-intuitive to build a product and go to market before anyone’s actually used it, but it happens more than you’d think. It’s how things like this happen. And this.

A review process (or ‘Usability Testing’ if you’re fancy) is vital to a successful product. It helps you understand your product and make improvements based on user feedback.

In the movie, Joy’s own family acted as a sort of review board, sounding off on her predicaments and decisions are she carried along.

“The user will always be right, and it takes only three users to uncover 75% of [user experience] problems” says Ai Ching Goh, CEO and founder of Piktochart. “Never compare the way someone uses your product to the ‘right way’ to use it. The user’s way is the right way, and that’s where we can learn to grow.”

Function is just as important as form

A single mom with a day job, the idea for Joy’s first invention came to her as she realized she was wasting time with an inefficient mop. She set out to design one that worked faster, better and differently than those that were on the market. Function is the single most important part of product design. If you have a product that looks beautiful in your home but doesn’t do what it’s supposed to, you’ve failed.

“I’m an inventor. When I’m designing a product, everything in my mind is about, how it’s [sic] going to make your life simpler. I guess that’s just how I look at things” Joy writes on her website.

 

But when it comes time to sell, make sure it’s presented with sparkle

In one of my favorite scenes in the movie, Bradley Cooper’s character – a shopping channel big wig who helps Joy understand how to present her mop – asks her to look at the presenter’s hands. “It’s all about the hands” he says as the camera pans to the product being held by the show’s host.

How you present your product to the customer plays a huge roll. What’s that thing they say? You’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression.

“[Product] samples and prototypes make your vision more real to customers. But whatever visual avenue you choose, be sure to make sure it’s good quality” quips Howard Lis, COO of Hubba.

 

Images courtesy of 20th Century Fox