“Don’t out-spend the competition. Out-think them. It’s cheaper, easier and more effective”
Savvy entrepreneurs often outsmart big companies. To them it’s fun. And they seem to do it easily. You can too. All you have to do is think like a true entrepreneur – a real one. Calling yourself an entrepreneur or starting a business doesn’t automatically make you one. To be one you have to think like one.
I once met a dynamic entrepreneur who owned a brick making business among other things. Let’s call him David. One of his competitors was Goliath Bricks a big public company. Yes I changed that name too.
Goliath Bricks decided they would put David out of business. They decided to dump tons and tons of bricks below cost into the local market in which he operated which was a provincial town in the State of Victoria Australia.
This went on for months. Nothing happened. David’s business kept flourishing. The big time executives at Goliath Bricks couldn’t work out what was going on. All the bricks they were dumping into the local market kept selling out fast. Surely this was hurting him. They investigated.
As it turned out, David was buying all the bricks through another company he owned, at way below normal cost, and reselling them back into the Melbourne market, Victoria’s capital city, for a nice big profit.
David was thinking like a true entrepreneur. The big company execs were thinking like big company employees.
So what does thinking like a true entrepreneur mean? Well, Thinking is different to having knowledge. And there’s not just one way of thinking, especially in successful enterprises. If one way of thinking were enough, 95% of start-ups would succeed.
The A.B.C Principle
One way to enahnce your Entrepreneurial Thinking is to apply The A.B.C. Principle. It’s a simple business thinking tool. After all, Entrepreneurial Thinking which is your key weapon for outsmarting big companies.
There are three different Thinking Spaces A, B & C. Master all three and you can be a true entrepreneur. Outsmarting big companies will then become second nature.
A – The Abstract Thinking Space
Einstein once said “What counts can’t always be counted, and what can be counted doesn’t always count.” That is what abstract thinking is all about. It’s not tangible. It doesn’t fit into a spreadsheet. But the results that flow from it can. Thinking skills. Beliefs. Confidence. Imagination. Visionary skills. Optimism. Consciousness. Mindset. And that’s just for starters.
B – The Business Intellect Thinking Space
B encompasses all the measurable business knowledge and skills we acquire. Facts. Figures. Data. Strategies. Analysis. Systems. Qualifications. This is where many business people feel most comfortable. It’s Business Execution Intelligence. Most big companies become over reliant on B thinking.
C – The Creative Thinking Space
C is where great ideas are born. This is a natural part all of us. Not just ‘arty’ types and designers. You use this thinking space every morning during the simple act of selecting your outfit for the day. This is the space that supplies the fuel for your entrepreneurial engine.
Your Thinking Space Comfort Zone
The A, B and C Thinking Spaces naturally overlap. For each of us one of them is our comfort zone. Moving out of that comfort zone and into the other two Thinking Spaces is what entrepreneurs do best. Corporate executives and big companies don’t do it anywhere near as well as entrepreneurs. Some hardly do at all.
Think of it as a diagram. Imagine these thinking spaces as three circles which gently intersect and overlap each other. Draw the three overlapping circles on a sheet of paper, as though the centre of each circle is at each point of a triangle. The three circles intersect in the middle of the page. Do it now. It will take two seconds. You’ll end up with an odd shape space in the middle where the circles intersect. This is the crucial zone where all three A, B and C circles meet.
The Entrepreneur Zone
That odd shape in the middle of your diagram is where the three Thinking Spaces are in harmony with each other. This space can be elusive. I call it The Entrepreneur Zone. It’s the best place to be if you want to think and behave like a true entrepreneur.
How to Get There
Three simple steps can help you move into The Entrepreneur Zone:
1. Acknowledge that all three Thinking Spaces exist and know that all are crucial to your entrepreneurial success.
2. Respect everyone in the different Thinking Spaces especially those outside of your comfort zone. This is vital yet often overlooked.
3. Learn to think in all three spaces simultaneously. To do that you have to move out of your Thinking Space comfort zone. You have to balance out your learning and your thinking.
This is what successful entrepreneurs do. They won’t describe it like this. Few would have heard of The ABC Principle. But you can be guaranteed of one thing. Applying it is exactly what they do.
It may not be easy at first, but it is that simple. As an entrepreneur you probably do it to some degree already. But are your three Thinking Spaces in harmony? Do you always think in them simultaneously?
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PETER J CAHILL