on 26 Sep 2017 4:09 PM
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Author: Ram V. Iyer

Business intuition could be your edge in business - the difference between normal success and spectacular success. Some people know exactly what to do (or not do) and when. I am sure you have marveled at how they know what to do and when. They are usually among the most successful in business and in life. They have well-developed intuition in business.


Business is competition. 

In business, you have to make better decisions and outwit your competition, relate better to your customers, employees and suppliers than your competitor to win. Bosses, investors, customers, employees, suppliers and the public back the horse that has the best likelihood of winning - people back WINNERS and abandon losers in a heartbeat. What is your edge in business? How will you become the horse that everybody wants to bet on?


Competitors Abound

There is intense competition in business. The US alone has some 28 million businesses which is greater than the population of Australia. If you are a solopreneur, there are 22 million others like you in the United States, a number greater than the population of Sweden, Denmark and Finland combined. If you are a business owner (with employees), there are 6 million others like you in the US, greater than the population of Denmark.  So, whether you are a solopreneur, a business owner with employees or an executive at a company, you need an edge. The best way to build an edge is to build upon your uniqueness. And, the best way to get a customer to buy is to understand and meet their need.

A business degree doesn’t cut it – useful but not enough differentiation.  There are more MBAs and business school graduates and business people than you can shake a stick at. 


Intelligence & Smarts

Everybody is born with intelligence but different people develop different smarts as they grow into adulthood and become true professionals.  Most people I know confuse their intelligence with smarts. Intelligence is ability; smarts are capabilities (specific to a trade, topic or industry). A smart engineer is not automatically a smart doctor just because he is intelligent; a smart salesperson is not automatically a smart graphics designer. Many intelligent people fail to develop the smarts required for success in a particular field and then wonder why they are not as successful as ‘less intelligent’ people. The difference is smarts, not just intelligence.


Business Smarts

Few people consciously develop business smarts which may explain some of the 70% failure rate among businesses.  While business schools teach various subjects in business and companies train people for the positions they occupy, nobody provides people with a framework of what is required as business smarts and teaches them what is required to succeed in business.  Some people figure it out, by design or chance, and make it; most do not.  Here is a list of business success factors I’ve put together from my years of experience –


The World is Not Black and White – It’s Mostly Grey

Some people see the world as black and white - 50/50 for our discussion.  However, the reality of the world – and business in particular – is that it is probably 5% white, 5% black and 90% grey.  The greatest business leaders are the ones who know how to excel in the grey zone.  They look at all the available data – good, bad and incomplete – and make a decision nevertheless based on their gut.



Most people use only a portion of their brain, less than 10% according to most experts.  They are limited by linear thinking, lack of data, bad data or poor analysis.  Even if you improved the data, you are playing within the 10% of the brain.  Few people tap into their super-brain – their right brain and their subconscious that is able to perceive, fill and connect data and dots that our normal intelligence is incapable of.

Every person is sitting on super-intelligence within each of them – their intuition – that when combined with their learned and developed business smarts truly gives them the edge.  It simply turbocharges each person’s intelligence.  But, few know how to develop and regularly access this super-intelligence and combine it with their knowledge, skills and experience into super-smarts. If they did, they could make better and faster decisions. The insistence of the mainstream academics on ‘fact-based decision-making’ makes it all the more difficult.

Some of the greatest business leaders owe their success to ‘knowing without thinking’ – their intuition. It is an unconscious ability to know what to do, where to go, when to go even though they may not necessarily know why. Great business leaders have this uncanny ability.


How Does Intuition Give You an Edge?

Logical thinking is linear – you can process one thing at a time, one after another.  Intuition, on the other hand, enables you to ‘think’ non-linearly – connect dots that you know and many that you do not and gives you an answer.  While the logical mind focuses on available data, seeks missing data and is incapable of dealing with wrong data, intuition zips through, fills the gaps, connects the dots and provides the answers. 

Intuition is ‘non-linear thinking’ and could be a great competitive advantage in business which is after all competition.

Everybody can choose to develop the ability to regularly access their intuition to augment their linear left-brain thinking to make better and faster decisions, giving them the edge required in business. You can choose to live with your current intelligence or embrace your super-intelligence.



You can listen to my interview on developing business intuition and its advantages on Business Thinking Radio with Ram Iyer at:

Get a free PDF copy of Sid Walker’s book, TRUST YOUR GUT at

If you are interested in a weekend retreat with Sid to learn, develop and practice accessing your business intuition, please send an email to [email protected].

Business success factors: Your Instincts and Intuition