Like most good ideas, the Business Thinking Institute started with personal setbacks and the search for answers that led me to wanting to do something about it - prevent people from wasting time and effort on issues for which there are known solutions.
I have worked in business for over 30 years and reached several highs and lows but I was unable to achieve spectacular business success. I have the drive and the credentials - two masters degrees, one from MIT, a business degree, extensive network, knowledge and skills - experience and constant learning but it seemed something was holding me back. I looked at many external reasons and talked to many friends and accomplished people who gave me advice which didn’t answer my question. I looked into every popular answer to my problem and ended up not finding the answer to what vexed me. Then, it dawned on me.
I realized that I had some of the 'silent killers of success' - inside me. I then set out to identify, understand and figure out a way to shatter them. I then realized that millions of others have the same 'silent killers of success' - even successful business people, entrepreneurs and people working in businesses. Each of them could achieve greater business success if they eliminated the 'silent killers of success' and attained competency in the business success factors.
THE SILENT KILLERS OF SUCCESS
The popular press and business schools talk about all the EXTERNAL FACTORS YOU NEED TO HAVE to succeed in business (capital, technology, talent, etc.). What I found was that failure to succeed can also come from WHAT YOU DO HAVE THAT ARE BAD OR WRONG - the 'silent' factors that are INTERNAL to you may tend to ignore or overlook as irrelevant or unimportant. Think of these as BAD INGREDIENTS or WRONG INGREDIENTS that are DETRIMENTAL TO YOUR BUSINESS SUCCESS. If you have these bad ingredients, it does not matter what good ingredients you do have – you will only achieve limited success or fail in business. As an analogy, if you use bread covered in mold, the delicious organic peanut butter and jam still make for a bad PBJ sandwich.
I also realized that experts and society-at-large focus on how you can succeed and how your glass is half-full. They focus on the 'positives' as nobody wants to give you 'bad news' (read this article I wrote - Business Advice is Much Like Modern Medicine). They make you feel like the person who is about to cross the finish line as the winner. Adding clean water to a glass half-full with dirty water only makes a full glass of dirty water. Remember a rather obvious thing that most people forget - you can only achieve success if you avoid failing; you can only sprint to success if you are not dragging a ball of bad habits (your 'silent killers of success') that prevent you from succeeding.
I didn’t stop there. I kept looking for the 'formula for business success' - a list of the major ingredients for business success but never found it. I found many people holding up one ingredient or a few ingredients that were important but insufficient - a.k.a. consultants and 'experts' who hold up one attribute and claim that 'it' will help you achieve success. Success is an AND function - you need many things in order to succeed (failure is an OR function). You know that but many humans still look for the 'magic pill', the 'one thing' that will provide the 'short-cut to success' quickly, without effort or risk.
I also did not find a roadmap and system to integrate the essential success factors for business success. Business schools teach you the elements of running a business - finance, marketing, etc. - but don't cover many other things you need to succeed in business. They apparently expect you to pick up when you work in a real business - and many people do not because they don't have a framework to fit those into (how do you know what you are missing unless you know what is required in the first place?). So, I spoke to successful business people, psychologists, entrepreneurs, business coaches and several book authors. From all those discussions, I put together a BUSINESS SUCCESS FRAMEWORK, essential factors for business success. You can identify your gaps (all of us have gaps) and then systematically acquire and implement these success factors to enable greater business success.
Next, I needed to put together a plan to systematically eliminate the silent killers, acquire the business thinking, knowledge and skills to succeed in business. For that, I needed to get my head around each success factor. I needed to assess where I was and what I was missing. Unless you know where you are (current position) and lay out a path to business success (think of it as your GPS or map that guides you to your destination), you will wander aimlessly guided by gurus and charlatans. I started to develop and collect assessments, content, tools and exercises to fill the gaps.
My goal is to educate 1 billion people about 'business thinking' by the year 2040.
The world's population continues to grow while the rate of business formation and employment at businesses continue to shrink. Those, in turn, will push more and more people to become INDIVIDUAL business people - solopreneurs or single-owner companies - working as freelancers. They need to develop 'business thinking' in order to successfully compete with business savvy people. As we help develop 'business thinking' as a competence across the globe, it will create more stable families and communities, leading to a better society for all of us. If we don't, what will result is the high concentration of wealth with the 'haves' and the 'business savvy' leading to imbalance and social chaos.
Whether you recognize it or not, everybody is in business - you rent your brain or your brawn to somebody who pays you for it by the hour, week, month or year. Fewer and fewer people will work for the large companies that our parents' generation did. With fewer companies being created and the existing companies becoming more productive (they will need fewer employees to do the same work or generate the same revenues), more and more people will have to be self-employed. That means, MORE PEOPLE WILL BE IN BUSINESS FOR THEMSELVES. But, did anybody teach you how to define your marketable skills, package and monetize them, find and sell to customers, generate profitable revenues, manage your profits and save for retirement while providing for your family? Well, nobody taught me either. If you do not have these skills, you have to settle for a much lower income and standard of living. In business as in life, if your competitor/s are savvier than you, you will 'lose'. If you do not maximize your value, the world will hand you a (low) value you will have to accept.
I have found two things about people:
Firstly, many people would rather fail than let anybody else find out they need help. It is only the smart and committed people with a growth mindset that recognize their gaps, seek help and achieve greater business success. You may be in a senior position, be a millionaire or have blue chip credentials. It is entirely logical for you to have gaps and seek to fill those gaps (and get help).
Secondly, people who obsessively look for 'free' stuff tend to be dabblers (not committed) to business and tend to fail in business. If your focus is purely on saving money, you are not focused on growing yuor business and its revenues. If you spend one hour to find a $5 item for free, you are valuing your time at $5/hour. At $5/hour, it will take many lifetimes to become a millionaire. On the other hand, successful and committed business people pay the $5 and make quick progress. They build their businesses on the backs of other people who are passionate and more competent at certain things that can be 'bought'. Who do you think will achieve greater business success sooner?
If you desire to achieve greater business success and committed, I invite you to join the community. Let's grow the pie. You can take a big piece. Raise your standard of living and improve the community you live in.
On this website, we are systematically harnessing the knowledge of successful business people (role models) and those seeking greater success in business. For each ‘Business Success Factor’, we are developing quizzes (assessments) to identify your strengths and gaps, assembling expert coaches who can help, identifying books that can inform and educate, collecting tools that can teach and reinforce, launching a podcast series that can elicit insights from experts, organizing a community of experts that can help and encourage, collecting inspiring quotes and collecting gift items that could inspire and enable you to achieve greater business success. We do all of this while providing the help you need in a discreet manner. Every day, you will acquire more skills to help you become the bigger business success you are capable of. If you are committed to becoming a business professional and achieving business success start by taking the first quiz ‘Are you wired for business success?’.
I will be on the journey with you. You can discreetly access the website from your PC, tablet or smartphone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (membership page). Remember, business success has to start in your mind and with your commitment long before you will see the big titles, fame and fortune. If you make the commmitment, you can achieve greater business success and we can help you - EVERY DAY.
Ram V. Iyer
Princeton, New Jersey