Chess is a game played by 2 individuals sitting across each other over a board that has 8 x 8 squares and 32 pieces. Popularly known as the King of Games, Chess is a game of strategy to outwit your opponent. Chess is not a game where you can bide your time till your opponent makes a mistake to go for a win. This is a game where you will require all your ingenuity to counter each move of your opponent, to take risks which will ultimately create opportunities to press for victory. Chess has life lessons for all of us and more so for the passionate entrepreneur, who is taking small steps to build his business empire. To become a successful player, you need a few basic characteristics and these characteristics are equally important for an entrepreneur to achieve his goals.
Let us consider a few valuable lessons that an entrepreneur can learn from chess. I have compiled 5 basic characteristics that a Business Entrepreneur requires to succeed and these are lessons learnt from playing chess.
“Nothing is as important as passion. No matter what you want to do with your life, be passionate.” – Jon Bon Jovi. To become a successful chess player, you need to develop immense passion for the game. Passion makes the difference between a successful chess player and an ordinary also-ran chess player. This is equally true for an entrepreneur too.
Without passion for the business that he is venturing into, success will be a distant dream that could never be achieved. This is also one of life’s most important lessons and is applicable to anything that we do.
Passion drives the business and every move of the entrepreneur should reflect this deep passion. If the entrepreneur is the engine then passion is the fuel that will drive the engine and achieve its goals. If you lose your passion, then it is advisable that you move on to something that you are more passionate about and believe in.
2. Planning and Strategizing
Planning and strategizing for a game is vital for any chess player. Each move and each counter move has to be planned in advance to achieve success. The purpose of the game is to immobilize the opponent’s King and this requires dedicated planning. This is similar to the way an entrepreneur should plan all his moves to perfection. Right from the launch of the business venture, to reaching the goal, all the moves should be meticulously planned and executed. There should be plans for any eventualities so that they can be overcome and you can move on to the next level. The best of efforts should be given to plan each move carefully so that your ultimate goal is reached. While planning you should understand the market that you are venturing into and the pitfalls you may have to face in your journey to success. You have to plan for all these eventualities.
3. Know Your Resources
The chess player should thoroughly know the different moves of all the 16 resource pieces that he has at hand. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each of these resources is vital for success. Similarly, an entrepreneur should understand all the resources that he has under him, in this case the people working under him. He should be able to identify their strengths and weaknesses and be able to judge their potential. This will enable him to designate each person in the right position. Having the right person at the right place is very important for the success of any business. Any mistakes here could be the difference between success and failure. This understanding should also include the people that he would be associating in the course of the business. Only a proper knowledge of all these resources would ensure the success of the business.
4. Risk Taking
A chess player has to make certain risky moves in the course of the game to force his opponent to leave an opening for him to take control of the game. The outcome of the risky move may be successful or may end in failure. But, then it is important that you take these risks to win the game. As Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg said, “In a world that is changing so quickly, the biggest risk you can take is not taking any risk.”
The entrepreneur should also be able to take risks in the course of his business growth. Playing safe will not lead to success. He should be able to identify calculated risks which are more likely to pay off. As an entrepreneur he should be able to explore the unexplored. By exploring the unknown you are treading a different path that may power you towards greater success. The onus is on you to evaluate the move before taking the plunge.
5. Use your Opportunities
Chess is a game where you use the opportunities that come your way with clinical precision to checkmate your opponent’s king. If you fail to recognize an opportunity that opens up, you are surely on the way to lose your battle. This does not mean that you have to wait for your opponent to make a mistake thus providing you with an opportunity. All through the game you have to create those moves which will ultimately give you the opportunity to go for the win.
Entrepreneurship is also about taking the opportunity that comes you way to press for success. For this you have to be alert to the nuances of your business, its positive and negative sides, and the overall changes that are taking place in the business. You should master the art of being one step ahead by using even the smallest opportunity that comes your way.
Finally, Chess is a colorful game as well and teaches us to accept both victories and defeats with grace and equanimity. In chess you are the King who controls all the 16 pieces on your side of the board. The victorious King should treat his fallen enemy with compassion. Similarly as an entrepreneur you are the King. You should gladly accept all the veneration that comes your way in victory and be able to take your defeats in you stride and work harder and with more dedication to achieve success.