top of page

Wise Business Advisors - Every Frodo Needs a Gandalf

Recently I was inspired to revisit the Lord of The Rings trilogy and noted how to me there were many similarities between the hero’s journey of Frodo and that of a typical entrepreneur. I appreciate these types of magical films as they prompt me to think outside of norms and help me to see new and revisit old but wise perspectives.

Lord of The Rings is a story about a Hobbit and his friends on a quest against all odds to save Middle Earth. At the time I was watching the film again I was also witnessing someone I knew startup a new company. As I watched the movies again, I saw stark similarities between the film and this real life story unfolding…only the real life story was not working out so well and serving to highlight for me, not unlike the movie, the many critical characters that are required for the hero to succeed in his/her quest.

I think that many entrepreneurs are similar to Frodo Baggins – optimistic, courageous…and unprepared for the adventure they’re about to embark on. Not unlike Frodo, they come from a protected idealistic life safe from the ravages of the wars of business not too unlike the metaphorical Shire.

They have never faced competitors the likes of Gollum who have spent their lives being gradually broken into the most severe parts of the business world. People who will pretend to be the entrepreneur’s friend, waiting for the opportune time to turn the entrepreneur’s real friends against them. The obsessed “at-all-costs” Gollums of this world are experienced and comfortable in the dark places of business, ready to draw inexperienced entrepreneurs into the terrain they know and snatch the ring from them when they’re at their most vulnerable. Entrepreneurs are often unprepared for conflicted friends like Boromir who are susceptible to being seduced by power and likely to turn on them.

Like Frodo, to have hope of success, entrepreneurs require many things but none more important than the committed support of key people such as:

(1) a trusted core team that will stand by them through anything, like Samwise Gamgee, Merry and Pippin;

(2) the wisest of counsels that will be there to help them navigate the inevitable crises, like the great wizard Gandalf; and

(3) skilled battle-wise warriors and protectors that will determinedly lead and clear the path with specific and complementary skills in sales and marketing, operations and finance. In the Lord of The Rings these characters were Aragorn the Swordsman, Gimly the fearless axeman, and Legolas the quick and accurate archer.

As in Lord of The Rings, having all these roles filled by the most competent and loyal team mates possible is necessary for the success of the quest. To some, this comparison may sound extreme and overly pessimistic or simplistic but the statistics have borne this out. In his e-Myth book series Michael Gerber indicates that less than 4% of businesses remain in business after 10 years. In my experience, it is approximately the same percentage of businesses who manage to assemble the team necessary to succeed in their quest.

Against such odds, where does the entrepreneur then start? In my view, just like in the movie…by carefully avoiding the dark wizards like Saruman and engaging the support of his or her own Gandalf – Find a business wizard who has the experience, wisdom and power to help guide and keep the entrepreneur safe as she prudently assembles her team of the most skilled and committed business warriors to succeed on his or her quest. Hopefully a quest to build a sustainably profitable and world-changing business.

If you'd like to learn more about selecting the right business advisor for your situation I welcome you to contact me at the email address or phone number below.

Written By Rob Pilz © Copyright June 25, 2014 Revelation Business Solutions Ltd.

About Rob Pilz

A senior executive, including former CFO, of public and private companies, I have more than 20 years experience building, optimizing and financing businesses ranging from Fortune 500‘s to Delloite’s Technology Fast 50TM. With a talent for bringing out the best in leaders and an expertise in creating leverage, my current passion is building a network of highly conscious leaders generating a virtuous cycle of positive change and wealth. I am constantly looking for ways to improve the odds of business success and have developed a process combining mind, heart and gut to make better faster decisions that I call Zero Point Decision MakingTM. I welcome your questions or comments to my email address at or phone 646-480-0507.

Related reading

Article: "The Expert Problem" by Kara Lilly

Featured Posts
bottom of page