I’ve been talking (and have talked) to a few people about running their own business or taking an idea or current business to the next level. The more recent pair already had existing businesses and were looking at expanding to a more formal setting. It was interesting discussing matters with them, partly because I own and run a mildly successful business and partly because of how it illuminated the things I had learnt the hard way.
I never had a mentor when I started this business, partly because I felt I knew or could learn everything I needed to run it and partly because I had a strong network of friends who could provide guidance and information when I needed it on specialised topics.
One thing they didn’t teach me was the title of this post – a Business Mind.
What Is It?
Ever walk into a restaurant / grocery store / other business and then, just for fun, start scanning the business as an entity? Do you count the number of customers? Guess at their average transaction value? Take a stab at their expenses to figure out their revenue and expenses? Maybe even consider what processes / sales / marketing approaches you’d take. All the with knowledge that this is idle speculation?
Yeah, that’s what a business mind is. It’s a way of looking at the world that sees dollars and cents, processes and people and it’s something that’s hard to shut off. Even in a random conversation with strangers, I find myself falling into that state of thinking.
For the Greater Good
When you start analysing businesses, especially those outside of your own area you are attempting to pick up new ideas. Oh, sure – you might want to invest in those businesses later if you are rich and successful. Mostly though, as an entrepeneur you are looking at these businesses for ways to make yours better. It’s why it’s hard to turn off – any little good you can eke out can be applied to your business.
In addition, it’s a puzzle. Perhaps because I’m a Geek, my mind likes puzzles. Business is the biggest, most challenging puzzle there is. The rules constantly shift, the players are numerous and unknown at times and there’s no set ‘win’ condition. You can just keep playing.
Pieces on the Chess Board
Unfortunately sometimes you get too carried away. You get drawn into your own world, and start forgetting that the people you are analysing are more than chess pieces.
You forget that not everyone has the same win conditions in their mind as you do.
And as a businessman, you always look for the downside. You are always looking for the problems. Which can be weird when you are talking to friends and family who just want some help.
Sometimes, turning it off is your best call.