Do You Think with Your Right-Brain or Your Left?

By Randall Orser | Small Business

Getting business liftoff with a brilliant website, fancy storefront, or plentiful first-time sales is terrific, but for long-term success there are many more pieces to add to the business-building puzzle.  Building a business is just that—building an entity one building block at a time.

What stage of the building process are you in:  development, revision, maintenance, or expansion?  How do you measure your progress?  How will you know when you’re slipping off-course or need a change of direction?  How do you course-correct?

Charting the Course from Various Angles

How you measure your results may vary depending on the type of thinker you are.  Are you a right- or left-brained dominant thinker?  Looking at how these two types of thinkers respond to situations can offer insight into business dynamics and perhaps help you understand why you do what you do.  Have a look at these two approaches to see if you can identify yourself or your business partner(s) in the descriptions:

  1. Right-brained thinkers are artistic or creative.  They are full of ideas.  They see possibilities.  To some right-brained thinkers, facts and figures are confining obstacles.  They love trying new things.  They love seeing things in full colour.  They’ll go to great lengths to make their creative ideas work.
  2. Left-brained thinkers, on the other hand, are practical.  They see business in dollars and cents.  Surveys, historical proof, traffic counts, facts, data, and the like, are important to them for decisions making.

So, What’s Better?

A good left-brained thinker will look for underlying causes of plummeting numbers, look for logical actions to take, and course-correct.  He may be good at saving the business money and protecting profits.  He may be instrumental in securing ongoing financing.  A left-brained thinker is good at keeping the business in the black.

This practical thinker may be tempted towards knee-jerk reactions though.  He might become tempted to take drastic measures to bring the numbers up.  The left-brained thinker is cautioned, though, not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  Perhaps tweaking a product or service can help recharge sales.  Firing the best employees in a quick-ditch effort to save money on payroll might end up costing more money in severance payoffs, legal bills and then rehiring and training costs further down the road.

Practical thinkers can benefit from having the viewpoint of right-brained thinkers who are possibility and bigger-picture oriented.  The right-brained thinker may be skilled at seeing untapped markets or have just the right trick up his sleeve that might boost sales.  While the left-brained thinker makes decisions based on logic, he’ll be wiser to consult with his right-brained counterparts in order to make the most prudent decisions that align with the values and long-term goals of the business.

The right-brained thinker may be willing to hang in there long enough and through difficulties to see his ideas fly.  On the downside, he may have so many varying ideas that he fails to focus or launch the right idea in the right niche at the right time.  The right-brained thinker may benefit from having the input of a left-brain thinker to help him measure the practicality of his dreams against the cost of doing business and profitability.

Consider All Viewpoints

Typically, individuals with a strong left-brained bent may have trouble understanding the enthusiasm of their right-brained counterparts.  They can sometimes become impatient with creativity and find it hard to invest in mere concepts.  Equally, right-brained creative types can become impatient with numbers-driven left-brained counterparts.  It takes awareness to see the dynamic of this type of dual thinking in play.  It’s important that each personality type respect and value the contributions of the other.

A good mix of right- and left-brained thinking is ideal.  As a business owner, you may be well equipped with a little of both.  If not, building a balanced team or counting on outside business coaches or advisors to fill the gap may be beneficial.

Develop Consistency

Making changes too often either because of a lack focus, or as a knee-jerk response to falling profits, may actually circumvent your ability to build a solid reputation.  Customers might never fully understand what your business is about if you continually hopscotch around.  There won’t be consumer buy-in if they perceive you as unstable, flighty, lacking confidence, or if you send conflicting messages.

Take a personal business inventory now.  Choose your focus.  Narrow down your moneymaker and your niche.  Craft a vision that will keep you on course and help guide you when difficult decisions need to be made.  Be aware of economic trends, examine your operating cycles, and be willing to ride a few rough waves.  Use a balance of right-brained creativity with left-brained facts and evaluate your progress from a variety of viewpoints.  Most of all, remember that a successful business is never truly finished being built.  It takes ongoing fine-tuning to get it where it needs to be.


About the Author

President/CEO Number Crunchers® Accounting Inc. Learn how to just say stuff it to this bookkeeping thing with our 'Just Say: "Stuff It" To Bookkeeping program.