Business and Spinning Plates – Why Professionals Have a Hard Time with Running a Business

How are businesspeople different when compared to professionals?

Various aspects of businesses such as finance, human resources, marketing, and product management all come together to constitute a business. Let’s compare these different elements to a plate.

Consider the act of working on a single task to that of spinning a single plate. Running a business is like spinning multiple plates simultaneously. None of these plates can stop spinning in order for a business to function properly. These plates will eventually slow down due to friction if someone doesn’t keep spinning them.

A professional is an individual who is an expert at spinning a single plate. A businessperson is someone who can spin multiple plates with the help of others.

An illusion many people fall for is that they believe professionals will be competent at running a business. Some common examples include skilled hairstylists that open up salons, IT programmers that create businesses, and chefs that open up restaurants. But the skill required to expertly spin a single plate is vastly different from managing a system so that many different plates can spin simultaneously.

It’s baffling for someone who is so used to spinning a single plate to have to spin an X number of plates all at once.

Going to each and every plate to add more spin to it every time it seems to be slowing down is inefficient and will sap your resources, preventing you from concentrating on long-term goals. It’s important to create a cycle in order to spin multiple plates at once. Games like StarCraft and League of Legends provide good environments where you can learn how to spin multiple plates at once.

StarCraft requires the player to endlessly run production, operations, and resource management cycles. All professional players rinse and repeat the cycle of sending troops, mining minerals, and clicking units.

Most positions at companies branch off into managerial positions and technical positions. Managerial positions eventually learn how to spin multiple plates while technical positions learn how to quickly and reliably spin plates. That’s why I believe individuals in upper management tend to resemble businesspeople.

Perhaps more realistic plans for the future can be established if one recognizes whether they wish to walk the path of a professional or that of a manager/businessperson.

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