Starting a business is a daunting task for anyone – from the inexperienced novice to the seasoned professional. I personally had no experience in a business setting except for being exposed to small family operations at a young age.
Although I came from a family of small business owners, I did not want to follow how they operated their enterprises because I had seen too much negativity and little success. There was no human factor in any of these businesses and that was something I wanted to change.
However, because I was inexperienced I had to learn as I went along. This meant taking big risks in order to reap rewards later on. I did not have any real formal training. However, I was thirsty for knowledge and had a great interest in observing.
So, when I came across an article about the theory of “first principles,” I was excited. This philosophy dates back thousands of years and is credited to Aristotle. According to Inc. magazine: “The first-principle way of thinking explains that more we understand a subject’s fundamental principles, more we can learn. In approaching problems, this way of thinking asks that you reject the status quo as you think about the problem from a scientific point of view.”
Looking back, I now see that my days of observing artisans closely can be described as a first principle. I would spend hours watching these master craftsmen create carpets. This was something I did out of my own curiosity long before I started my business. I was lucky enough to live in an area where artisans created carpets.
Watching their nimble fingers weave intricate patterns on the massive looms was almost hypnotic. I began to correlate the patterns that were created with the many scenes I had previously observed in nature.
By studying the very essence of carpet making – the artisans – I was able to better comprehend how to construct a business that would make a real impact in the lives of the weavers. I would not have been able to do this if I just decided to start a business without investigating these “first principles.”
Every leader can benefit from taking a step back and looking at the building blocks of their organizations. Without understanding the first principles of your company, you will never get a clear picture of how you should proceed. Take the time to study the foundations and to develop a deep understanding of the first principles. Only then can you lead your company to new heights of success.