What is Business Thinking?
– Ram V. Iyer
A good artist thinks like an artist, a good marketer thinks like a marketer and a good politician thinks like a politician. So, a good business person requires business thinking.
Thinking is the process of using one’s mind to consider or reason something. It is an internal conversation you have with yourself, using words or images. It is the voice within you. You could be trying to figure out “What is 4 times 12?” or search your memory, “What is the most fun trip I have been on?” or ask yourself, “Do I like Amy or Mary more?” or reason, “I met the education expert at an entrepreneurs conference I wonder if such conferences are a good place to meet such experts?”, or try to make sense of something like “What is a good way to think about this?” The answer could be in words or images or input for one of the other senses. It could help you make sense of something or make a decision. The most important element of thinking is asking the right questions. That will trigger your thinking and lead you to analyze and present choices which will lead to better decisions.
If you want to become good at business, you must become good at business thinking – developing and practicing a method to have regular internal conversations with yourself about various aspects of business. What are the right areas to think about and what are the right questions to ask yourself?
Many people have difficulty thinking about business, or at the very least thinking about it consistently. If you are a techie, you may be thinking about technology and not business; if you are a marketer, you may be thinking about marketing and not about business; if you are focused on recreation, you may be thinking about the weekend and not business. If you are interested in succeeding in business, you must develop and constantly practice business thinking.
None of us are born business-minded. As adults, one of us developed better business thinking over time. It is a skill that is learnt from those with knowledge and experience, learnt from observation of successful (and unsuccessful) business people, and guided by experienced people. Have you noticed that people raised in business families are ‘business-minded’? That is not genetic but rather an acquired set of skills.
What I have excluded here are the knowledge and skills which you can learn in a typical business management school – finance, marketing, human resources, operations management, strategy and such. There are many people with MBAs from top schools who lack ‘business thinking’ and therefore have limited success or fail in business.
We human beings are driven by our desire to get what we want, and constantly seek the easiest and quickest ways to achieve our ends. We also focus on what we want or should get, but don’t necessarily think about the other person (who is also looking out for himself or herself). You may want better compensation or recognition as an entrepreneur, but your client on the buyer side is looking for more value from you too. Business, after all, is an exchange of value between two parties and one of the parties pays money to the other party for the value received. We often forget that.
““Following the herd is often the cause of many problems because they overlook the business thinking required for success.”
Business thinking is the deliberate consideration of the various stakeholders, their needs and problems, and the value exchanged between the parties in a business transaction.Business thinking is more fundamental for success than business acumen and functional competencies like finance, marketing, strategy and marketing. Failing to consider these fundamental aspects of business thinking can lead to limited success or even failure. Let me give you a few examples. Many people develop products or services in their business for a customer without knowing who the customer is. Yet others fail to seek the customer’s input, feedback and concurrence on whether their product or service meets the needs of the customer. And there are many who provide a product or service to meet the customer’s needs but fail to negotiate and collect an amount of money that provides a profit. Thinking about each of these elements is important for business success, and sometimes, failing to think about them could lead to business failure. Remember, success requires all of these things to be done but failure can result from just one of those going bad or being left undone.
The key to business success is in who you become as a person, less about what you do. Both of them are important but one is more important than the other. Who you are is defined by your foundational elements – your beliefs, your values and your principles and rules for living. That is your mindset – your mindset.
The ability to think is within each of us but we are not born with business thinking skills. However, it can be learnt, practiced and developed by anybody over time. It is essential for sustained business success. You too can develop business thinking and become business minded.
I coach and conduct workshops for entrepreneurs, business owners and business leaders to help them achieve greater success – based on my personal experiences, interviews, research and thinking. You can learn more about the business thinking workshop for individuals and groups at https://www.businessthinking.com/workshops/business-thinking-for-business-success. If you are interested, please reach out to me.
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