Taylor, I especially like your "Organize your resources" tip. Chaos is definitely a waste of resources. How to organize non-tangible resources such as talents, relationships, etc. is difficult. I'd be interested in hearing more of your thoughts on those processes. All this leads to "sustainability" in how we do business and live our lives intertwined as one life.
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Looking to the past to grow the future of your business
Sun Tzu, Zhuge Liang, and many other Strategists from the past have valuable advice that is timeless and applicable to any organization.
With each business I've run or co-run, the sources of inspiration I've turned to sometimes have been classic strategists such as Sun Tzu, Zhuge Liang who offer excellent insights into not only the art of war, but more importantly the art of governing. And while running a business isn't necessarily as political as running a government, it can provide situations where having some good advice can lead to a much better solution than what a business owner might initially come up with.
With that thought, I'd like to offer up some of the wisdom I've gained from reading and following through on the advice of the strategists mentioned above.
1. Acceptance of Advice. Learning to be receptive to others's ideas, even when hearing those ideas may not be what you want to hear. Even if you're a solopreneur, you'll inevitably encounter a situation where you'll seek advice from other people. And sometimes what you'll hear may not be what you like hearing, but it may be what you need to hear. Or you may simply hear criticisms that are applicable to a situation you are involved in.
Learnign to be receptive, really involves learning to turn off that inner critic and listen to what someone says, without letting your pride or ego stop you from considering what you're hearing. A wise business person always takes the time to consider advice. That doesn't mean you have to accept it or act on it, but it does mean considering it.
2. Provide a clear system of rewards and Punishments and stick to it. Having a system of rewards and punishments in place, with clear policies which explain when the reward or punishment is applicable is important for providing a sense of structure and morale within an organization. Following through on the rewards and punishments is also just as important, because if you don't follow through, the perception is that you lack discipline and can be easily swayed.
It's important to note that in any business, even a solo one, not having clear policies and expectations as to the consequences involving those policies can easily sabotage the effectiveness of the business. Having a policy and being consistent with it provides structure for your endeavors. Additionally as your business grows, that structure can help you determine how to grow it effectively instead of haphazardly.
3. Organize your resources Knowing how to organize your resources is always the key to using them effectively. Whether it's an internal resource such as creativity or an emotion or an external resource such as money or a strategic alliance, organizing those resources allows you to determine where and when to apply them. Good organization also makes it easy for you to know where your resources are, as well as knowing what your strengths and weaknesses are. When you know your strengths and weaknesses in business, you can leverage your strengths to help you improve your weaknesses.
4. Act Decisively to deal with problems With any business, at any time, there is always the potential for problems to arise. Acting decisively allows you to take a proactive approach instead of reacting to a situation. Knowing what your vision is, as well as the goals that help you achieve that vision can also help you quickly deal with a situation that might distract you otherwise.
Acting decisively has another benefit in that it shows others that you know how to handle yourself in any situation and also indicates that you know what you want. When people see that in your choices and actions they accordingly get a measure of your character as well as why they would want to to business with you.
These are just four strategies among many, many more that can be found in the works of Sun Tzu, Zhuge Liang and many other strategists. It's worth looking to the past to find strategies that can help you chart the growth of your business into the future.
The Art of War by Sun Tzu
Mastering the Art of War by Zhuge Liang
Sixteen Strategies: The Art of Management by Wang Xuanming
Learn more about the author, Taylor Ellwood.
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- taylor ellwood
- sun tzu
- zhuge liang
- the art of war
- the art of management
- business development
- leadership development