The game of chess is one of the most strategic games in the world. There are similar strategic aspects that are apparent in both Chess and everyday business. The success of any business relies heavily on the strategy that is used to get there. Chess is a game where you try to eliminate the King, the most important piece on the board. In business, you are always trying to eliminate or out sell your competitors. In Chess and business, there are step-by-step processes you need to take in order to get that “Checkmate.”
Know the rules
In order to be able to play the game of Chess you have to know all the rules of the game. You need to know how each piece can and can’t move along the board. If you only know how a few of the pieces on the board move, it is very unlikely that you will win the game. In business, in order for you to be successful, you need to know your industry inside and out. There are so many rules and regulations that constrict what you can and can’t do as a business. You must know all the rules that allow your business to run legally, from registering your business properly with tax authorities to having all the licenses or permits in order to run your business. This is similar to having your Chess pieces set up correctly on the board when beginning the game. Everything must be known about running your business legally in order to operate, just like your board must be set up correctly in order to play. Not knowing your industry is a quick way to fail. Your competitors are going to know the industry that they are in; not knowing everything in your business puts you at a very large disadvantage. You don’t want to start your Chess match playing without your Queen, the second most powerful piece on the board.
Know the pieces
Every Chess piece on the board is a valuable commodity. Every piece on the board can help lead you to a victory. Some pieces are limited by movement, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t valuable in the path to success. A pawn, the piece that has the most limited amount of movement can be the piece that leads you to a win. A queen, the piece with the most ability of movement may be the most likely to cause a win, but any good Chess player needs to be able to play without their Queen.
In a business, every employee is valuable, everyone from the Janitor to the CEO; they all play a role in the success of the company. In any business, no matter the size, the employees are what make the business run. You must know how each employee’s role makes it possible for a business to make money. Some employees may be more powerful than others, may have different qualifications, but you want to use all of this to lead to one thing, the “Checkmate,” or your business overtaking the competition.
Have a Plan
In Chess, everyone has a plan on how they plan to start out the game, and then their play evolves around the play of the person they are playing against. Plans obviously change, but it is a good idea to have a well thought out plan or strategy when trying to win. Business is no different; there should be a goal or direction that you work towards. There should be a plan in order to help achieve this goal. This plan is very likely to change as you run into unexpected obstacles. Part of the plan should be to predict what problems might come up. In Chess, you want to try to predict where the opponent is going to move in the future. It’s not an easy task to predict the future, but you can look at trends in play style and how your opponent has played the game so far. Business is the same. There is no way to predict exactly what is going to happen in the future. There are, however, ways in which you can strengthen your business by learning from challenges and obstacles you face along the way, and the methods you use to overcome them. You can also study trends of similar businesses or competitors with the intent of learning from their mistakes in order to better help your business. This goes back to knowing your industry, being adaptive to changes in the marketplace, and growing your skills and business techniques overtime.
In Chess, you are often put in situations where, in order for you to better position yourself for a win, you must sacrifice a certain piece. This sacrifice is key for your ultimate success but you do have to give up something that is valuable to you. In business, you are always faced with situations where something has to be sacrificed, whether its something that comes down to a budget issue or the biggest sacrifice, especially in a startup, is time. Time is the biggest commodity, it is something we can’t get back but it is necessary commitment in order to be successful.
Every aspect of how a business is run comes down to strategy. Just like in Chess, there are millions of strategies that can lead to success. It all comes down to finding out what is best for you and your company.
Christopher A. Towle is a marketing professional for a very large media corporation. Christopher is currently enrolled in the Master of Entrepreneurship program at Western Carolina University. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any other links remain intact. Copyright 2014 by Christopher A. Towle.
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