Aníkúlápó: Rise of the Spectre: 5 business lessons

The series continues the story of Saro, who messes around with powers beyond his understanding, and Arolake, a lover girl just trying to find a loving home to rest her head.

Rise of the Spectre is about the supernatural order and power tussles in the old Oyo empire, but there are also business lessons in the series for everyone.

Here are five business lessons from Aníkúlápó: Rise of the Spectre:

At the beginning of the series, Saro is denied entry into what is considered heaven because of the debt he owes having resurrected 20 people from death. He is tasked with returning to the world of the living to kill those 20 people but only gets as far as killing three before he finds a way to return fully to life without completing his task. This comes with consequences, just like missing business targets does.

The series isn’t explicit about Saro’s ending in the afterlife, but since he didn’t meet his target, you can bet your business degree he ends up as one of those stone statues with cringe VFX makeup.

When Saro’s failure to complete his task traps the three people he already killed in limbo, they strike a deal to help him so he can finally transport them to the afterlife after three years. To make his limited time comfortable, they start supplying him with palm wine, best described as manna from heaven.

In little time, Saro sets up shop and starts getting customers from all over the village who quickly realise his palm wine is better than the one supplied by Karounwi, the local tapper, who immediately loses his clientele.

Sure, Saro has an unfair advantage, but this is still a useful demonstration that the quality of the product is a crucial deciding factor for customers, and that’s why they’ll stay with you or ditch you for a better option.

You can always trust Saro to do a double cross. He did it to Arolake, heaven’s gatekeeper, and the three trapped souls. Everyone who deals with him always finds out at some point what a foolish mistake they’ve made.

While this can make for an entertaining story onscreen, it’s not an admirable business quality. When you strike a deal with another entity, it’s simply expected that you keep to your word and do the things you’ve promised as faithfully as you can. Saro finds out the hard way when he double crosses his palm wine suppliers — they turn off the tap and it’s all downhill.

The Alaafin’s failure to also honour his deal to marry his daughter to the son of the Bashorun is one of the central conflicts of the film and could have been avoided if everyone just did as promised.

Perhaps the most important lesson here is business won’t always be a smooth ride. Karounwi is his village’s sole palm wine supplier and enjoys everyone’s goodwill until competition shows up with a better product. It’s a devastating end to his monopoly that takes him by surprise, rendering him without a next course of action. Desperate, he uses his daughter, Olatorera, as bait to figure out his business rival’s secrets and ultimately loses her to his charming ways.

Saro also never thinks about alternatives until his supernatural supply runs out, which is funny for someone who never planned to fulfil his end of the bargain and should have seen the outcome coming. He has no plan for when the tap is turned off and his business is completely ruined.

No matter how good the going gets, it’s important to always have a strategy for when the wind starts blowing off course for whatever reason. Don’t run a business on vibes.

When Karounwi has a business crisis, he cries, guilt-trips his fleeing customers with emotions, and keeps losing until the stroke of misfortune that befalls Saro favours him. But when Awarun encounters a business crisis, she taps into her network and finds a solution that keeps her in business without breaking much of a sweat.

Keeping a clear head about problems and seeking out sensible solutions will always be a business advantage.

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