For business owners, an entrepreneurial mindset is common. But, when you have a natural talent for spotting opportunities, it can be a challenge to choose where to focus. Business Mentors offer tremendous support in supporting owners with decisions, and a critical thinking process can also help.
When you see an opportunity or are trying to determine your next business move, it helps to first get clear about the question at the heart of the issue. For example, if the premises next to your own comes up, you may wonder if you should take up the lease for potential expansion.
You’re likely to have a lot of questions. How competitive is the price? What rate of growth would you need to justify the expense? Rather than try to answer all of these at once, you can begin by identifying the main question and focusing your thinking on that.
The main question should be one that you can answer in the time you have, and that can guide your action. Once you’ve identified the main question, you can break it down further so that it becomes easier to answer. For example, you could easily find out, ‘how much is the rent? ‘How much is the rent of similar buildings?”.
Beware of biases
As you think about our business, look out for the trap of biases. Many biases arise because our minds must sort through vast amounts of information in a busy world, so we use subconscious filters. For example, when you’re looking for your red car among a bunch of others, you naturally ignore all the blue cars and maybe even other things happening around you.
Biases create blind spots. If you're looking to hire someone and ignore candidates that don't match your predetermined ideas, you could lose out.
Psychologists at Harvard, the University of Virginia and the University of Washington created "Project Implicit" to help build understanding about unconscious bias. You can take the test online.
One of the most powerful ways to guard against biases is to get a different perspective from your own. That's the value of a Business Mentor. A Mentor can be a fresh pair of eyes and draw on different experiences to help you test your thinking.
Look out for logical leaps
Building up your answer logically is the next step in critical thinking after breaking down your question and checking for biases. Once you have the right data to answer your smaller questions, you can combine these to uncover a conclusion.
Plato and Socrates have a place in the history of logic, but modern tools show how their philosophy applies in the real world.
The School of Thought lists logical fallacies that are common in business. An example is 'false correlation'. This is when you think one thing causes another, just because they happen together. For example, just because you sell more red widgets in December doesn't necessarily mean people want them as Christmas gifts. The real reason could be that you never stock blue ones at that time of year. And as a result, people are forced to choose red.
Find a fresh perspective
Just like biases, logical leaps can be seen more easily when you bring a new perspective to your reasoning. It's a superpower of our Business Mentors! Our case studies have many examples of how business owners have benefited from bouncing and testing their thinking with someone who cares but is objective.
Sarah from Pure Hair Studio loved the ‘engineer’s perspective of her Mentor, Wendy. Sonja Painter of Thrillzone had a lot to think about when her business model was upended. She was grateful to her Business Mentor, Paul. “It was great to have someone experienced to bounce ideas off.” You can find more inspiration in our case studies.
What opportunities and challenges would you like to bounce off someone with experience? There's a Business Mentor waiting to help. You can find your match today by applying now.