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How and Why Is Business Like A Game?

How and Why Is Business Like A Game?

“Business is a game, played for fantastic stakes, and you are in competition with experts. If you want to win, you have to learn to be a master of the game.” - Sidney Sheldon

The best games in life have higher risks. To be successful, you must know what you want, why you want it and how you can attain it. You have to adapt to current situations that are constantly changing. You must observe, listen and learn from competitors, customers and partnerships to become a master of any game. To win the game, you have to know and understand the rules to play strategically and bend it to your will.

In Economics and Computer Science, there is a concept called Game Theory. It is the study of “mathematical models of conflict and cooperation between intelligent rational decision-makers”. In business, it can be applied to how we deal with everyday situations and decision making. In addition to the decision tree, there are other ways to frame strategies. Having different plans will reveal solutions for unforeseen mistakes. 

What are the common mistakes that business owners make? What rules exists and need to be changed? From observation and personal experience, here are mistakes with simple solutions:

  1. Not asking for what you want
    • If you do not ask, no one will know and nothing will change
    • If nothing changes, then what are you in business for
  2. Not tooting your own horn
    • You know more about your business and yourself than anyone else in the world
    • Be who you truly are and be your biggest fan
    • If you are not excited about your skills and achievements, how can others be
    • To be recognized, you must get noticed. Be sure to get noticed for the right attributes and not for the wrong ones. Only you can determine that
  3. Not accepting uncertainties
    • No one knows everything because no one can predict the future, which means every second later is an uncertainty
    • Nothing will be perfect, but a general approach is fine in the beginning until you gain more experience
    • Since the world is infinite, if you have to know 100% of everything to do anything, you will never progress because no one will ever reach 100%
    • Learn how to improvise as you go along because if your business is unique, who else knows more about it, but you
    • If your business is not unique, go back to Step 1.
    • Learn how to figure out something never been done before to stand out
  4. Not taking risks
    • No one can move ahead without taking risks
    • Experiment and make mistakes. As long as you are learning, you are doing it right
    • Always plan the next step by taking small incremental risks to prove to yourself that you can handle it
    • Busy does not always mean you are taking risks or being productive
    • Learn how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable
  5. Not having fun
    • Business is like a game that is played for fun
    • Fun means challenging yourself, plan out new ideas and invent new tactics
    • What is so fun about doing the same thing over and over again
    • Be optimistic that all failures will lead to a better outcome as long as you learn from it
    • All games have a time limit because nothing lasts forever
    • Every ending has a new beginning
    • Continuously reinvent your business and improve to grow
    • Who does not want to grow and have more fun

If you understand your business inside & out and know the rules of your industry, you can come up with new ideas from every angle. In fact, the mistakes mentioned above can apply to anything, not only your business. Clear your mind, observe from a distance, listen and learn.

Your playing style will differ depending on how you play the game. From an article in Forbes, business is like a poker game. Which of the four types is the current you?

Once you figure out your technique, solutions will naturally reveal themselves step by step. A helpful tip is to ask a big picture question. When you ask the right questions, it becomes simpler to come up with details that will ultimately lead to your desired answers. What are your aspired results?

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