Blog Expert Series: Two Words That Work Like Magic For Your Business

business-clear-thinkingIn the last Blog Expert post in this mindset series we discussed communication and why it is important for your messages to be clear, accessible and concise.

Now let’s move onto Clear thinking.

Have you ever watched The Apprentice on TV?

This hugely popular show follows a group of young aspiring entrepreneurs as they battle each week to become Lord Alan Sugar’s (UK version) latest protégé.

Apart from the entertainment generated from listening to people telling the world how successful they are and then going on to mess up again and again, the programme is also notable for the way in which it highlights the attribute of clear thinking in the workplace.

Lord Sugar is famously down to Earth, and comes out with a huge number of funny comments relating to business which make the programme one of the most quotable on television today.

One of the things the mogul is notorious for is the ability to cut through the obscure issues which business sometimes throws up, and get straight to the point in any given situation. Sugar is a classic example of clear thinking in practice – someone who sat down with an idea when he was much younger, worked hard at it, and devised a number of additional enterprises to supplement his business empire as he progressed.

Why do we need clear thinking, as small business owners?

When we run our own online enterprise, we seem to be beset from all sides by people wanting to sell us things, give us advice, work with us or ask us to work for them.

The minute our business becomes registered and recognized, the onslaught of sales calls, persuasive promotions and unscrupulous scams come our way.

Having the ability to step back from the deluge and understand what we are aiming to achieve, and how we will get there, safeguards us against potentially investing in poor products, or agreeing to certain ploys such as expensive marketing campaigns or fruitless advertising, unnecessarily.

When we go about our daily tasks as business owners, it can be easy to get sidetracked by different activities.

Our ‘things to do’ list expands each day, and we often don’t get the chance to take a little time out and assess our situation. However, it is this very distance and space which affords us a chance to cut through the ‘noise’ or our everyday tasks and remember where we are headed as entrepreneurs.

What techniques aid clarity of thinking?

The ability to achieve the relevant detachment to see our business in perspective and make sound decisions about our strategic approach isn’t a natural trait in most business owners.

In fact, we are far more likely to resort to intuitive decisions than analytical ones, responding to situations and people because we like them rather than because we have carefully evaluated them for the return on investment which they can offer.

The following techniques will support you to manage the decision-making process for your business with detachment, sound judgment and logic.

Consider the following:

  • Does the decision I am about to make fit in with my overall business direction?
  • Before I make a financial investment, have I shopped around, compared equivalent products or services, and chosen the one which makes the most sense from a delivery and financial perspective?
  • Have I taken time out to objectively evaluate my business, to ascertain whether or not I am progressing according to my strategic approach?
  • What can I do to make processes more efficient? Are all of my activities each day supporting me to achieve my goals?
  • What would Alan Sugar do?!

OK, so the last one may not be as useful to you as the previous tactics, but it may support you to cut through the many business calls you have to deal with, and field unwanted approaches from companies trying to sell you unnecessary products.

If all else fails, and a service provider lets you down, you could always quote the Amstrad owner himself – “You’re a loser. It’s a shambles. You’re fired.”

Previous posts in this blog expert series, the Six ‘C’s of blogging success :




Do you find time for clear thinking to move your business forward?

Please share your views in the comments below.


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17 Responses to Blog Expert Series: Two Words That Work Like Magic For Your Business

  1. Ryan Biddulph January 10, 2011 at 8:49 pm #

    Hi Andrew,

    Accurate tips here which aid in helping one gain clarity of thinking.

    You aptly note how quickly stuff flies in your direction as your business expands. As your presence expands expect all types of offers, suggestions and opportunities to find you.

    Also, the objective analysis you mention is critical if you want to progress. Put your ego aside. Observe your business in the light of truth. Feel free to ask some of your business buddies to offer a fair and honest appraisal of your business. If they are true friends they will be happy to help with their unbiased opinion.

    Hold to your intent. Focus on your purpose. The cool thing about having a strong definite major purpose with your business is that you learn to sort out BS immediately. No wavering of mind in a focused entrepreneur. Most of the garbage flung at you simply flies by without distracting you.

    Thanks for sharing your insight Andrew.


    • Andrew January 11, 2011 at 11:51 am #


      Asking others for feedback and advice is crucial. It’s a shame so many business owners don’t.

      I believe too many business owners feel they should already have the answers and asking for advice is a failing.

      I see it as a strength…the fact that you can ask.


  2. Jenn January 10, 2011 at 9:40 pm #

    Lord Sugar! What a name!

    Anyway, clear thinking for small business owners usually relates to creating some sort of business focus. I see a lot of small businesses out there that don’t have a clearly defined business plan. Taking the time to hone your focus will result in clear thinking moving forward!

    • Andrew January 11, 2011 at 6:23 pm #


      First he was simple Alan Sugar. Then he became a Sir and now a Lord!

      I agree…so many lack business focus. If you can’t do it on your own…get help.


  3. MicroSourcing January 11, 2011 at 8:25 am #

    Setting aside one’s ego could prove difficult for some, because it’s their ego that drove them to be self-employed in the first place. Business owners will then have to realize that it’s more than just calling the shots.

  4. Dennis Edell January 12, 2011 at 4:47 pm #

    “I believe too many business owners feel they should already have the answers and asking for advice is a failing.”

    Right on the nose man. “Who will ask for advise of the man that asks for advice” is what they think…a vicious and unnecessary circle.

    • Andrew January 12, 2011 at 7:12 pm #


      There is someone out there who knows more than what we do about every single subject.

      Having the ‘talent’ to ask for advice is a strength!


      • Dennis Edell January 13, 2011 at 10:00 am #

        Exactly right, very well put. 😉

  5. Dan Lew January 17, 2011 at 10:45 am #

    Hey Andrew,

    I think as time goes on and we become more experienced, stopping and thinking before acting becomes a lot easier. I think taking a few deep breaths and doing some daily exercise activities makes your mind clear and ready to power on..

    Have a great day,


    • Andrew January 18, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

      Very true, Dan.

      I do a lot of my thinking while at the gym.


  6. Timo Kiander March 10, 2011 at 8:16 pm #


    Great article on clear thinking!

    I feel that the number one is the most powerful one (at least for me): “Does the decision I am about to make fit in with my overall business direction?”

    Although, I think that all the points are excellent, but that first one resonated with me the strongest. I think that doing this alone will erase some of the distraction and you are able to see the picture more clearly.

    • Andrew March 11, 2011 at 8:57 am #


      I agree. I have to force myself not to be distracted.


  7. Jan Smith March 21, 2011 at 8:08 pm #

    Staying focused is the hardest thing for me to do because there are so many different opportunities that open up. I think if I had have had a ‘check list’ like the one offered here, I would have been considerably better off today. Still, on the upside, I have learned a lot!

    • Andrew March 22, 2011 at 9:00 am #


      We are all learning. It’s a big step to agree that you need to improve.

      Now…it’s action time…



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