The biggest business owners in the world play chess. Bill Gates is an avid chess player, although he loses in a matter of 9 – 12 turns against the best chess players in the world. But chess is played to help many business owners learn corporate strategy.
Strategic in every sense, chess has been played as a tournament since around 1851, and the game can be traced back to India. Even then, chess was considered a “thinker’s game.”
What principles can make you a better business owner?
1. Always Focus on the Main Goal
The main goal of every chess game is to trap the king. “Checkmate” means that the king has been rendered useless. In the business world, there’s always a main goal. If you go into a meeting, know the main goal of the meeting.
Perhaps you’re talking to a vendor, and you want to ask for a discount. You will need to formulate a strategy to put the vendor in “checkmate.”
You might need to:
- Position your business’s expenditures as an important part of the deal.
- Offer up something, or a pawn, such as a guaranteed amount of monthly purchases.
If you’re planning on selling a new product, know what the end game will be. This means knowing how many sales you need to make to break even, and how you’ll market the product to your own advantage.
Aim your business to be competitive in everything that you do.
2. Every Move Needs to be Strategically Planned
You need to plan before making every move. Grandmasters don’t make a move on a chess set without planning ahead of time. When Bill Gates was beaten in mere seconds, his opponent had a plan going into the game.
Chess masters will memorize opening moves for games and leverage this memorization to take advantage of their opponent’s mistakes.
Setting a series of events in motion is key to winning in chess.
And in business, everything requires a plan. If you’re doing any of the following, you need to sit down and make a plan:
- Starting a business
- Creating a product or service
- Marketing a product or service
- Calling a vendor
- Selling a good
- Holding an event
Everything you do in business should start with a plan to offer the best end result and understand if an idea is viable.
3. Know Your Opponent
Your competitors are your opponents. You must learn everything you can about your opponents, and this means researching the competition, understanding what they’re doing to find success and even understanding your potential partners.
Never go into a business deal without learning about your opponents.
Chess players often have a “similar strategy.” Perhaps they open the game the same way, or maybe they play an aggressive game.
Businesses and marketing teams do the same thing. The best thing you can do in the business world is know your opponent. This means anticipating their moves, out-“playing” the opponent and countering their moves when it’s to your advantage.
Knowing your opponent is an easy way to outwit your competition.