Happy Monday everyone. As I sat here wondering what to write this blog post about, I reflected on an episode of The Simpsons I watched wherein Homer, in his new position as food critic, cries out “Aaw! it’s so hard to get to 500 words…” while attempting to write a review. I then realized how useful much of what Homer has said and done can be when applied to small businesses. So, as some easy reading this Monday, here are five business tips courtesy of Homer J. Simpson.

1. A good assistant can make all the difference – “Simpson and Delilah”

You don’t belong here. You’re a fraud and a phony, and it’s only a matter of time until they find you out.
Gasp! Who told you?
You did. You told with me with the way you slump your shoulders, the way you talk into your chest, the way you smother yourself in bargain-basement lime-green polyester.

There are two great lessons we can learn from Homer’s foray into hiring an assistant. The first is that a lime green suit looks good on no man, regardless of how much hair is on his head. The other is to know what you need in an employee. Before you call in all of those potential applicants, draft up what you want to see in them.

Dynamic? Focused? A little withdrawn? A multi-tasker?

Homer needed someone to push him towards his potential, and hopefully you have an office environment that encourages the same thing. While your new hire probably shouldn’t mock what you are wearing, a little bit of pre-interview prep can make all of the difference in choosing your next employee.

2. Sometimes, you just need to step back and crack open a Tab – “King-Size Homer”

[reading screen] “To Start Press Any Key”. Where’s the ANY key? I see Esk, Catarl, and Pig-Up. There doesn’t seem to be any ANY key. Woo! All this computer hacking is making me thirsty. I think I’ll order a TAB. [presses TAB key] No time for that now, the computer is starting.

Homer’s excellent comedic timing sometimes shadows the pearls of wisdom created by his reactions to the world around him. Mr. Simpson may not completely understand how to use a computer, but he does not panic. Instead, he takes a step back and collects himself. Analyzes his situation, every possible move being weighed in his mind, like a grand-chess master hoping to corner his opponent. And then, when he can find no path, he steps back and decides to crack open an arguably delicious Tab Cola.

It is that reaction away from the problem that brings Homer to its solution. Whenever you are sweating a deadline, or are hung up on a project, take a quick walk to your kitchen and grab something to drink. A few seconds away from the stress can do wonders to unclutter your mind.

3. You can always take the time to improve yourself – “Homer Goes to College”

Woo-hoo! I’m a college man! I won’t need my high school diploma any more! I am so smart! I am so smart! I am so smart! I am so smart! S-M-R-T! I mean, S-M-A-R-T…

Homer is in his mid to late thirties, depending on the season and the writer; well past what we would consider the “college going age.” But here he is in all of his glory, destroying his GED, which has gotten him jobs ranging from Kwik-E-Mart part timer to Astronaut, as he prepares to embark on a quest for a college degree.

Homer was simply not satisfied… and was being threatened with termination from the nuclear plant. At any rate, he shows all of us that it is never to late to try and improve ourselves, or our business. Your company may be wildly successful in its field, but you shouldn’t just settle on that. If you can, look to expand to other shores and other products in an attempt to make your business even better.

4. Know the power of a Name – “Homer to the Max”

[Homer is buying a shirt] … And I want the monogram to read “M-a-x P-o-w…”
Store Clerk:
Sir, traditionally, mongrams are just your initials.
Max Power doesn’t abbrieviate! In his name, each letter is as important as the one that preceded it. Maybe even *more* important… No, *as* important.
Store Clerk:
And if there’s any room left, add a bunch of exclamation points and a pirate flag!

When Homer changes his name to Max Power after a TV show destroys all the credibility and goodwill attached to Homer Simpson, he heads into town to get his new title forever emblazoned on a new shirt. And he isn’t willing to simply settle on two simple letters; he knows he has to push his brand. Max Power. And a pirate flag with some exclamation points.

Homer knows the power of a name, and so should you. Your company’s name and logo is its brand, and with them comes all the hard work you put into marketing and establishing trust with your customers. While I wouldn’t recommend any pirate flags or gratuitous punctuation, you should follow Homer and try to get that brand more recognition. Also, be sure to protect your company with a trademark or a copyright, or else you too may have to think of something new, and it may not be as cool as Max Power.

5. Find love in your work – “Das Bus”

Is that my good butter?
Can’t discuss that now, Marge! I have to write another delicious memo!
(Homer takes a pencil from the butter and licks it.)
Mmm… memo…

Finally, Homer reminds us to love our work, or at least find the small things that make life enjoyable. Memos are terrible, monotonous little reminders of work that have to be carefully formatted and edited. But Homer, in his wisdom, links the headache of paperwork with the deliciousness of pure butter.

It really is the little things that get us through the day. You should enjoy your work, and enjoy what you do. So grab a nice cold Tab, some monogrammed shirts, a bit of butter and a donut with some purple in the middle; after all, purple is a fruit.

Have a great week everyone!