What does a jigsaw puzzle have to do with building a business?
The process of making a jigsaw puzzle begins with marrying an image with template of what pieces are to be cut
Jigsaw puzzles are first printed onto a board and either laser-cut or pressed with a sharp die to cut the pieces Then they are separated into individual pieces, packaged, and inserted into a box with a reference image on the front.
Businesses are first planned with keen details of how it will look when complete or at a certain stage. This business plan indicates details of how divisions, departments, and individual roles might interact with each other as well as the flow of information.
Assembling the puzzle is a mental activity that is great for all ages. It stimulates memory as well as critical thinking and patience. If you have ever run or started a business, you know that they require a great deal of memory, critical thinking and persistence.
Whether it has 24 pieces or 2500, each and every piece is unique and critical – equally critical to its completion. The typical method for assembly starts with finding corners and edges, as they are easy to identify with their straight edges and limited quantity. When it comes to filling in the rest of the puzzle, we shift into various organization techniques as we reference the finished image to predict its location.
Businesses require vast amounts of memory, critical thinking, and persistence. It is also important to understand that each department, team, and position are vital to the entire organization despite them having wildly different budgets. Many entrepreneurial attempts are thwarted by too much emphasis on only one aspect of the operation.
As we assemble our various businesses and teams we can take a similar approach and define some perimeters.
- What we will not do (at least for next few years)
- Foundational purpose (why we started in first place)
- Characteristics of the business reputation (brand) that we intend to create
Just like puzzles; businesses can be quite rewarding to complete on a small and simple scale. This is a great training ground for developing the various intangible learnings, memory tricks, and methods of organization that can be further refined on larger projects.
Perhaps what I like best about assembling jigsaw puzzles is the undeniable sense of making progress towards completion. This helps visually build momentum and rewards for the time invested in it. In the end, assembling a jigsaw puzzle or a great business is more about patience and persistence than one particular skill or another.