There are many instructive parallels between playing a game of chess and the challenges of running a business.
To win in chess, you have to plan your attack carefully and anticipate your opponent’s moves. While you are attacking, you must not neglect your defence. Moving a piece into an attacking position but allowing it to become isolated is likely to result in the loss of that piece.
Many business leaders fall into the trap of thinking that their customer is their opponent. That’s not the way to achieve success!
Chess is usually a game for single players with one opponent, but in business you don’t have just one opponent. You probably have many. There are plenty of people who could steal the pieces you have left isolated. These pieces equate to the customers you have neglected and left alone.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though, because business is anything but a single-player game. Not only do you have your own team, you can call on lots of other people who will help you to succeed. They include your suppliers, your partners – even your customers.
Go back to the basic reason why your business exists, then look at it from the customer’s perspective – not your own. You will realise that your business is, in some way, enabling your customer to solve a problem or achieve something.
Take this concept of ‘solving a problem’ and use it to sharpen and hone everything you do. Look to remove all the things which don’t add to that singularity of purpose.
Doing this rigorously will make your customer’s life much easier.
It will make selling to new customers – who have similar problems – much easier.
It will make attracting new customers much easier.
It may even save you money and time.
It’s not like a game of chess. It’s much simpler than that. Just focus on doing the right thing to solve your customer’s problems.