There are always lessons to be learned when starting a business. Sometimes they come easy, but more often than not, and like most things in life — we learn the hard way. Whether it’s how we address snotty customers and clients, how we manage money, or whether we’re brave enough to confront our own setbacks. Things like getting to work on time, coordinating tasks for ourselves and our staff, and a plethora of other processes and duties that can make owning a business a real challenge.
While many entrepreneurs are known to seek additional coaching and tuition to help them develop their skills, poker is one casino game that can help you master much of the basic necessities when it comes to running a business. Below are 6 key ways poker can equip you with the right aptitude for reaching and completing your goals.
The first if not most important thing that poker can teach us is the value of money. When we say value, we don’t simply mean how much you should be aiming to make or invest, but rather how you deal with situations where your business could incur losses. This could be through haphazard circumstances such as losing a big contributor or shareholder, a reimbursement for a product or service, or a sudden increase in rental price where your offices are based.
Even though you can never be truly prepared for such scenarios, money management is still vital if you want to be able to recover from such losses as quickly as possible. Poker players need to act as their own bosses, accountants and financial advisors when deciding how to place their stakes in a game. In one single round of hands, they could have more money on the line than what your company is worth altogether.
You don’t have to be stingy with cash, but being able to allocate it to the right places and having some contingency if things go wrong is one of the biggest success factors with any business.
Assessing the dangers and benefits of situations is something we do every day in our lives. When you own a business, you’ll be doing this with every new question and opportunity that pops up; constantly assessing if it’s worth employing X more people, whether you can live up to expectations and meet the requirements of a new client, or if you should really make 1,000 orders of that coffee brand because the stock market just crashed. There is a lot to consider when you’re analyzing the pros and cons of any business moves. This is exactly the same when you’re assessing what cards to keep and discard in poker too.
Planning and Patience
There are countless occasions where poker players end up folding dozens of hands one after the other. You only have to tune into the WSOP to see players making this play for hours, or up until the boredom sinks in and they begin playing weak hands out of frustration. This can often leave them in a vulnerable position and see their entire stake put on the line; however, there are other players who use this “downtime” to their advantage, and feel they can better discern the behavior of their opponents.
In business, planning and patience are crucial elements of success. You wouldn’t execute a campaign without properly assessing how much time and resources you’re going to need, nor would you wait so long that you would miss key opportunities in the market or the chance to promote your services.
A player’s poker face can make or break their success in a tournament. They only have to flinch slightly for the other players to catch wind of what they’re holding in their hand, and if it’s a look of desperation of disappointment, they can pretty much kiss that round goodbye. Some players are so put off by the idea of being constantly analyzed that they show up to the tournament in masks, sunglasses, big hoodies and other items of clothing in a bid to conceal their expressions.
While you wouldn’t show up to a meeting with a client dressed in such a manner, as a business owner there will be certain situations where you may become upset or even angry at the outcome. It’s imperative to keep your cool when faced with these scenarios, because it could be the difference between closing or losing an important deal. Not being in control of your emotions could also cost you the respect of your peers, staff and customers — potentially resulting in a lawsuit if you’ve reacted to something inappropriately.
Dealing with Pressure
Endurance and the ability to cope with pressure is something that will crop up all of the time when you own a business. There are hundreds of entrepreneurs with start-ups that have cracked and failed under the pressure of being business owners. You can pretty much guarantee that the ones who have made it have worked tirelessly, missed many nights of sleep, and had to remain focused throughout the toughest of times to reach the point where their business is successful.
Poker is a game that consistently teaches us endurance and how to function under pressure. Players need to stay tenacious throughout the whole tournament if they want any chance of walking away as the victor. There can only be one after all, and it’s this that leads many to drop out after the first few days.
Learning to Fail
Last but not least, failure is something that most business owners know all too well, and while it can’t exactly be deemed a skill, it’s certainly a valuable lesson. Of course there are exceptions, but very rarely has anyone hit the ground running when it comes to starting a business.