I love to play chess. I play it often with my daughter, and thoroughly enjoy seeing her strategizing against me. Studies have proved that playing chess enhances kids’ learning skills in math, science, and technology. There is also a huge correlation between chess tactics and entrepreneurial skills. For me, it’s no surprise to learn that so many young chess masters go on to become successful entrepreneurs later in life.
The practices of thinking strategically, analyzing a landscape of options, accurately weighing the consequences of each move, and thinking ahead about potential moves in the future, are all essentially what successful entrepreneurs do. In a game of chess, you learn from your own mistakes and benefit from recognizing move patterns and blunders made by your opponent—which become strategic knowledge for your own use in future moves.
As an entrepreneur, I spend a good amount of my time researching and analyzing the market in which I operate. I am fully aware of my competitors, their strengths, and their weaknesses. I consider every step cautiously (mostly because I have made big mistakes in the past that set me back quite a bit!), while trying to anticipate the rippling effects of each move. My love for the game of chess, coupled with the wonderful time I get to spend with my daughter while playing it, has helped me think through my business decisions more thoroughly, and it has served me well.
The fact is, though, one rarely wins a game of chess without understanding the rules of the game. If you don’t know how to play, you’re out. Similarly, small businesses aren’t likely to succeed without a strategic plan – one that’s focused, yet attainable, and developed around the rules of the market.
As I celebrate the fourth anniversary of my business, I can’t help but to stop and ponder how I have managed to make this business endure. The agency was born out of my need to have a job and make a salary during the economic downturn of 2008-2009. Pulse is still a startup, but it has some healthy roots now. I attribute our success to the hard work of my team, of course, but also to the numerous occasions where I’ve had to use my chess-playing skills to make sure that my next move would place us in a more prosperous path.
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