Warning: click away now if you’re not a fan of gory zombie animated gifs…

We love a good zombie apocalypse here at Simpleweb, so it’ll probably come as no surprise that we’re huge fans of The Walking Dead. Not only is the series moving, brimming with tension and chock full of zombies, The Walking Dead is also a brilliant (and somewhat unlikely) source of great advice for startups. Let me explain…

A good leader can get you through anything


Every great company needs a Rick Grimes to lead the way, hold everyone together and support them through tough times. Here’s a few things Rick Grimes can teach you about leadership…


A great leader is a great communicator. That doesn’t mean they’re just a great talker but a great listener and motivator as well.

“Examine the world’s greatest leaders and you’ll find them all to be exceptional communicators. They might talk about their ideas, but they do so in a way which also speaks to your emotions and your aspirations. They realize if their message doesn’t take deep root with the audience then it likely won’t be understood, much less championed.” – Mike Myatt, Forbes

Don’t expect respect, earn it

Great leaders are respected by their team and, like Rick, you need to earn your team’s respect.

“Leaders have to be able to talk and listen to their employees on all levels of the company. At the same time, they must have the respect of their employees, the kind of respect that’s earned by being honest, having integrity, and being tough but fair.” – Bill McBean from The Facts of Business Life: What Every Successful Business Owner Knows that You Don’t

Lead by example

Behaving one way and expecting your team to behave another will leave them confused and bitter. Like Rick, you should never expect your team to do anything you wouldn’t do yourself.

“You can’t expect people to read your mind. You need to lead by example, help them be successful and inspire them. You don’t have to be an arrogant jerk to get people to be successful. In fact, it’s just the opposite.” Kevin O’Connor, chief executive of FindTheBest.com

Sometimes you have to leave someone behind

Sadly, in the zombie apocalypse, not everyone can be saved. As we’ve seen in The Walking Dead (and just about every horror film ever made), sometimes the weak links are left behind.


In the business world, you too may have to leave someone behind for the good of your company.

“As we know, “bad is stronger than good.” Getting rid of bad people is probably even more crucial than bringing in great people.” – Robert I. Sutton from Good Boss Bad Boss

What comes around, goes around

Would the Rick and the gang have got this far if they hadn’t stopped to help a few stragglers on the way? It’s unlikely.


Likewise, helping others can be rewarding for your business. Take a look at this post on how to get your startup involved in your local community.

But as we all know, being a good guy isn’t always enough to survive, so help others because it makes you feel good, not just because you want something in return.

“I refuse to acknowledge making money as the only thing of value, but just like a body needs blood to function, a company needs money to function… The question is, what does it do with the money? We expand, but we also give back. Companies need to gain value from making a difference, whether that is economically, socially, innovatively or from positive marketing.”  – Christian Stadil, Thornico Group

Know your enemy (but keep your distance!)

To come as far as they have, The Walking Dead survivors had to learn about their enemy and how to bring them down.


You too will need to know your enemy and their weaknesses. That’s not to say you need to take your competition down with a shovel to the brain, but you need to have an idea of what the competition are offering and what you can offer that they can’t.

“A good place to start to evaluate your customer is by looking at your competitors. What are other people out there doing that is similar to your business? What are they doing well? What do your customers like and dislike about the competition? This will give you the insight needed into how to make your product or service even better on price and quality.” – James Caan

However, don’t get distracted by the competition. You have your own plan so don’t worry too much about what everyone else is doing.

“Don’t focus on the competition, they’ll never give you money.” – Jeff Bezos

Expect the unexpected…


…and never assume that you’re safe. No matter how safe you think you are in the zombie apocalypse, you can never let your guard down, you never know what horror could be lurking around the next corner.

“Nearly 1 in 5 businesses suffer a major disruption every year. Yours could be next. With no recovery plan, you have less chance of survival.” – Gov.uk

What lessons have you learned from your favourite TV shows?


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