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The Chess Master: Can Short Term Action Interfere With Long Term Strategy?
Published on Dec 14, 2012
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By Matthew Toren
When a chess master sits down at the table to face an adversary, his mind is filled with an endless combination of short term tactics and long term strategy. Before one piece is even moved an inch, the chess master has considered dozens of possible routes the game could take based on the style of himself and the opposing player. With a dedicated team of supporters and analysts, he’s carefully mapped out a game plan and will do everything he can to make sure the game unfolds accordingly.
But There Are Two Players
Of course, the opposing player has made the same painstaking preparation. What follows is a head-to-head confrontation of two meticulously designed strategies that influence and shape each other from the very first move. In order to make sure their own plan takes a dominant role, they implement a series of tactics each move, intended to force the opposing player to yield to their own will. A move that employs more than one tactic is especially beneficial, as it saves time through efficiency. The race to the finish line of the battle of wills has begun.
Finding a Balance
Every entrepreneur must find an appropriate balance between short term and long term thinking. Without a clear vision of your ultimate goals, you’ll end up confused about which path to take and when. It’s hard enough to know which direction to turn when you come to a fork in the road. Don’t make it harder on yourself by not having a destination in mind. At the same time, if you’re too preoccupied with the distant future, you’ll miss out on opportunities and tactics that can generate short term success and guide you toward your endgame.
Visualize and Actualize
First thing’s first. There is no way to form a successful strategy without clear goals. Take the time to write down and visually represent exactly what you’d like to achieve and when. Give yourself realistic timeframes to realize your accomplishments, but don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. From there, formulate your strategy to dominate the chessboard of business. Long term planning involves dedicating plenty of time to branding activities and networking connections. A solid brand identity that co-exists with strong professional relationships makes for a nearly indestructible business model. Additionally, give your business a lot of space for improvement. You don’t know what kind of opportunities will present themselves, and you’ve got to have room to spread out in multiple directions. Investing ample time and resources into research and development will ensure that you can spread your wings later on. Finally, when you begin to branch out and hire employees, be sure that they clearly understand your vision and strategy.
Become a Chess Master
With a clear vision in your head and a well-thought out strategy that reflects that vision, you can focus on the day-to-day aspects of running your business with clarity and efficiency. Be like the chess master as you consider your tactical options. Short term tactics like temporary sales and offers should contribute to your long term strategy. As in chess, if a move contributes in more than one way to your plan, it is exceptionally valuable because of the time it saves. To make sure your short term methods are effective, monitor the performances of your marketing efforts and the productivity of your team meticulously. Without tangible feedback, it’s nearly impossible to discern what’s contributing to your strategy and what is simply moving you sideways or even backwards.
Remember, every short term action you take should be made with your long term strategy in mind. Visualize, actualize, and monitor, and then sleep easy knowing that you’re moving forward with lucidity and determination.
Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of the award winning books, Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right. Their latest project is a free classified ads network called: iSell.com.