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Poker, Chess & Business - How to Mentally Prepare to be a StartUp


When someone wants to start a business, most times the first question (or google search) is, “What are the first steps to starting a business?" One time, just one good time, I would love for an honest response to be - who the hell really knows?!

The truth is, there is not just one cookie cutter answer or approach to starting a business; besides licensing, registering, insurance, etc. – that’s obvious.

If the focus is just to start a business, that can be done almost completely online with a few clicks of a mouse and very minimal human contact. But if the focus shifts to what are the best ways to stay in business, more entrepreneurs could go from just starting a business to actually running a business.

In my experiences as an entrepreneur and most recently as a community resource, I feel that knowing what frame of mind to be in is just as important as having a viable business idea. I think that anyone looking for their slice of the entrepreneurial pie should approach it as though they are about to go into an intense competition; a competition of poker and chess.

Now I’m not saying that starting a business should be approached with the same respect that you give a deck of cards and carved out game pieces. However, the mental preparation that is needed while playing poker and chess is a great starting point for those seeking guidance on what to actually expect when becoming a startup.

To help ease the multitude of step-by-step guides, how-to checklists and LLC formation ads, here are my top tips to prepare yourself for being a business owner:


Know the rules before you start. It is always important to understand what you are getting into prior to starting. Knowledge is definitely power. 


Don’t be afraid to bet on yourself or take risks. Having fear is normal when taking risks, but that is just part of the process. Be willing to take a chance on yourself.


Pay attention to your competition. Knowing who you are up against needs to be a part of your thought process. You will not be the only one that wants to be the best.


Make calculated moves to stay ahead. Being able to anticipate what can happen beforehand is a definite advantage. Take your time, think about what you are doing and make sure it’s worth it.


Leslie Walton, MBA A Cents of Change Founder & CEO

info@acentsofchange.com