10 Powerful Tactics For The Aspiring Entrepreneur
Being an entrepreneur is not just about business and money. Entrepreneurship requires a powerful skillset to succeed. Entrepreneurs are not just business owners — they are leaders of all kinds: people who are willing to step forward and take a risk, solve an issue or bring positive change to the world be it in their own ventures or their 9–5 jobs.
Being a leader is a result of power and to attain and maintain power, writer Robert Greene has come up with the fundamentals in his best selling book “48 Laws of Power”. The book comes with a concise explanation of how to use each law, where it applies and how it has been used by top leaders in history. Since it was published in 1998, the book sold over 1.2 million copies, it has become a cult classic in the hip-hop scene with rappers such as 50 Cent, Jay Z and Kanye West backing it up. The tactics in the book are so powerful that it has been banned in several prisons.
For the purpose of this article, I picked 10 of the most relevant laws that every entrepreneur should master and in fact, everyone, in general, would benefit by practising regularly. (ordered by law number)
- Court attention at all cost (Law 6)
Ultimately, the sources of your power are other people. You want to put yourself out there and be seen. In Greene’s words: “What is unseen counts for nothing”.
You don’t have to be crying and begging for attention — that would be a transgression of the law. Occasionally, and deliberately appear inconsistent — in the subtlest of ways.
Following the next rule will give you a better idea of how to get wanted attention and that is:
2. Win through your actions, never through argument (Law 9)
You must learn to demonstrate the correctness of your ideas indirectly. Not only does the law insist that you should always choose action to paint a picture, but it is related to several other laws where it is clear that argument has no space. Law 36, which states that ignoring things you cannot have is the best revenge. Talk is cheap, you do not want to be dragged in futile engagement.
3. Learn to keep people dependent on you (Law 11)
"You will always need others as allies, pawns, or even as weak masters who serve as your front."
Create a dependency by going above and beyond, by delivering something different, something of unique value that would leave an emptiness if gone. Create a need for yourself in the face of the people you work with by following Law 25 — Re-create yourself.
4. Concentrate your forces (Law 23)
To comply with this law, you must focus on one thing or one person at a time. Do not scatter your energy and resources in many different directions. This is where the art of prioritising and the art of timing come in.
“The one thing you can control in life is your effort. That’s all, and that’s everything.”
— Mark Cuban
5. Enter action with boldness (Law 28)
Boldness is one of the must-have qualities of every entrepreneur. There is no place for hesitation and doubt, that only creates obstacles in your path and gives time for your opponents to make a move. You have to be determined, bold and take a risk. Don't go against your gut, but don't waste time for what won't serve you.
6. Learn the art of timing (Law 35)
There is no power to be gained in letting go of the reins and adapting to whatever time brings. You have to remember to check in whether the time is right before you take a risk. Define clear goals and know the path you are on.
7. Despise the free lunch (Law 40)
"What is offered for free is dangerous — it usually involves either a trick or a hidden obligation. What has worth is worth paying for."
Like the river that flows and circulates, money that flows generates abundance, wealth and power in ever-larger circles. Be bold and generous with your money, in the same way, that you are with your actions. Keeping money circulating is a sign of generosity and a magnet for power. Generosity attracts people, but use money strategically as what it is, a tool. Free things sometimes come at a higher price than the money you could pay.
8. Work on the hearts and minds of others (Law 43)
"The men who have changed the universe have never gotten there by working on leaders, but rather by moving the masses. "
— Napoleon Bonaparte
A big portion of the 48 laws touches on the importance of emotional intelligence. The ability to connect with others, understand their passions and successfully seduce them into moving your direction is a major source of power. Law 26: Play the perfect courtier illustrates the best practices to win people over — never be the bearer of bad news, be frugal with flattery, avoid ostentation, fit the spirit of the times etc.
9. Preach the need for change, but never reform too much at once (Law 45)
Revolutions are rarely immediate, they take a lot of planning behind the scenes and similarly, if you are an idealist and aim for disruption, you have to make sure that the changes you make seem less innovative than they are. This law could as well be tied to Law 3: conceal your intentions.
People are creatures of habit. They don't accept easily change, and this is why going too boldly too soon could play a trick.
10. Assume formlessness (Law 48)
The final and possibly most important law. To be formless means to be adaptive and flexible, open for change and ready to solve the next problem, understanding the natural flow of life itself. You should never act defensive and fragile, as it reveals a clear form.
"Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
— Bruce Lee
These ten laws of power overview some of the soft skills entrepreneurs need to become good leaders and successful in business. The book "48 laws of power" includes a compilation of less moral tactics as well, but those everyone should be aware of, making the book an insightful and useful tool for any reader.