How Businesses Can Learn From Poker

Think the only way to advance your business is with a better degree or by reading business book after business book? Think again. Business skills don’t exist in a vacuum. Instead, you’re likely to see them all around you, and one of the most unlikely places you mind find them is the world of poker. Take a look at these similarities:

Arrogance Means Everything

Arrogance may be a bad thing outside of the business world and the poker table, but in either of those two locations, it’s nothing short of a must. When you sit down at that poker table, you have to have a strong belief in yourself that you’re going to win. The same is true when you’re running a business. You must know that you have something amazing to bring to the table for your potential customers, or you’re going to lose to your competitors every single time. If you aren’t using those strategies you know and can rely on to succeed in either place, you’re going to be out in the cold. Projecting that arrogance can often be the difference between a failed bluff and a successful one, and that’s just as true when you negotiate a new deal that will change everything for your business, or when you’re trying to convince everyone at the table that your pair of twos is a full house that will clean them out.

The Win Is All That Matters

In poker, you’re not playing just to win a single hand. If you were, you wouldn’t even be sitting at the table. The same is true in the world of business. It’s not just for a month or two months. Success in the short term, like the holiday season, means little for your bottom line over the course of the year. The only way you’re truly going to have the top brand in your vertical is if you win the ongoing game. You might win a match here and there with the right advert campaign, but if that’s all you ever take home, you’re not going to build the strong company you want to stand with in the long run. With this strategy, it’s possible to lose a hand here or there without losing the entire game, both at the table and in your company. The key, though, is to win at the end. In fact, you have to be ready to win again, again, and again to make certain your competitors are as far behind you as they can possibly be.

Risk Happens

Every time you sit down at the poker table, you’re taking a risk that you’re going to walk away with nothing at the end of the night. The same is true in the business world. If you wait for the safest places to hide, you’re never going to get ahead of the competition. Instead, you have to continually be aware of the smaller risks you can take that will advance your position. While not every risk is going to be worth it, the better your ability to grab the risks you actually want to take, the stronger chance you have of learning which ones are perfect and which ones mean you need to walk away from the table before things get too hot.

You Will Lose

The best poker players in the world have lost on numerous occasions, but they get back up and keep playing. Likewise, businesses have downtimes, but learning how to handle it when it seems like the world is crashing around you is the key to running a more successful company. Keep your confidence, keep your cool, and you will get through this and make it to the next game so you can find a solid win.

The Best Decisions Keep You In the Game

The business world typically demands decision after decision from you. Poker is the same way. Are you going to ride it out? Are you going to fold? Are you going to double-down and go all in? The dynamics of decision making are a part of both worlds, and learning how to make stronger decisions that will create a successful outcome means that you’re going to be a better player in both venues. Part of it is learning to trust your instincts, but part of it is also thinking through your odds at getting the win you want.

Money Management

This is one of the biggest problems for smaller businesses. They simply don’t know how to manage their funds at the outset, so they’re never sure how to break up the marketing expenses and still manage to include the funds necessary for the right technology to make sure they can compete well. Poker is a little different. The best poker players have to know their limits and have clearly define goals so they know just how long they can bluff before their cover is blown. It certainly takes money to make those risky decisions, but knowing where that bottom line is matters as much in the board room as it does at the poker table.

Keep Learning

The best poker players and CEOs alike spend time learning on a regular basis. By reading, watching the game’s best, discussing moves with mentors and colleagues, you get a chance to stay competitive on a regular basis. Most CEOs will tell you that they never quit reading and learning what they need to know to excel. Good poker players are the same way. They continually look to what’s new to help them improve their overall game, making a solid commitment to simply getting better at it day by day.

You’re making decisions every single day for your company, and understanding how to make the choices that will move you forward and keep you in front of your customers is essential. Take the lessons anywhere you can find them – even if it means spending your day off at the poker table.

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