“It is not a move, even the best move, that you must seek, but a realisable plan.”
– Eugene Znosko-Borovsky, master chess player. 

Delivering a business strategy is much like playing a game of chess. You must have a deep understanding of the game, outplay your competitors, and begin with the end in mind. But what does that mean in practice? 

Here’s how you can apply the principles of chess to maintaining your business goals.  

Have A Plan  

Starting the year without business goals is like starting a chess game without a strategy: confusing and risky. It’s vital you consider and catalogue the channels required to achieve the ‘big thing’ – these could include checkpoints, tactics and smaller tasks that allow you to progress steadily. You may find it useful to create SMART goals: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound. 

  • Specific: What do you want to achieve and why? 
  • Measurable: What measurements will you use to conclude you’ve met the goal? 
  • Attainable: Do you have the right skills and resources to achieve the goal? 
  • Relevant: Does the goal align with your team and / or organisation? How will the results improve your overall mission? 
  • Time-bound: What is the deadline for accomplishing the goal? 

Don’t Take Unnecessary Chances 

Succeeding at chess takes a delicate balance of bravery and caution. You must practice triumph without taking unnecessary chances that stunt your game wager. Much is the same for running a business. Creating a feasible, yet brave plan with measurable expectation is a key fundamental to maintaining your business goals. It may feel tempting to lean towards complex, high-cost schemes, but doing so creates additional uncertainty: not good for you, or your staff. 

Question Your Competitor’s Moves 

A good chess player will not only consider their own game plan, but their competitor’s, too. Keeping one eye on the bigger picture will help you maintain goals that have an edge over the competition – which could mean the difference between success and failure. Questions to ask might include: 


  • How does my competitor market its product and/or service?  
  • What customer experience technology is my competitor using? Does it have the edge over my technology? 
  • What does my competitor sell, and at what price? Is it feasible for me to match that? And if so, why? 
  • How will my competitor respond to my own business decisions? Will achieving a goal create a knock-on effect across the market? 

A Knight on the Rim is Dim – Keep Your Goals Front and Centre 

Getting caught up in the day-to-day running of your business can stunt the completion of your goals. By keeping them front and centre of your chess board, you reduce the risk of deprioritising your wider strategy and falling behind your competitors. In other words, don’t forget why you’re here and what you want to achieve.  

Don’t Bring Your Queen Out too Early – Quality Over Quantity  

Imagine your goal is the Queen on a chess board. Bringing her out too early will leave her vulnerable to attack – in the same way that cutting corners to achieve a goal could impact your businesses’ performance. Avoid an insurmountable workload by setting achievable benchmarks for yourself: remember that doing too many things at once may hinder both the product or service you provide, and the relationship with your staff.  

Play Over Entire Games 

“Fail early, fail often, but always fail forward”
– John Maxwell (Failing Forward)

A good chess player will review the entire game; adjusting their strategy when needed and learning from their mistakes. Applying this mentality to your business can enhance output: even when it’s looking like a benchmark will not be met. Remember that goals are not finite – you have the power to adapt and shape throughout the year.

If you, like many others, see franchising as a piece in your master plan and would like to learn more about this subject, or how Bodystreet as a franchise operates, book in a call with Master Franchisor Mark Holland via our website.