chanakya niti

7 Lessons from Chanakya Niti You Can't Afford to Ignore as an Entrepreneur

Think like Chanakya and grow your business with these lessons from Chanakya Niti.

arthashastra by chanakya

An entrepreneur must excel in strategy, leadership, and administration to turn fortunes around. Who better to look up to than Acharya Chanakya, the master strategist, politician, and kingmaker well-known for his role in establishing the Mauryan empire!

To an entrepreneur, the lessons presented in Chanakya Niti will serve as a simple guide of practical Dos and Don’ts. While the historical work comprises 17 chapters with plenty of remarkable teachings, we’ve handpicked a few that you can assimilate quickly.

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#1 Be a Lifelong Learner

The importance of learning and acquiring knowledge is an aspect that Chanakya Niti emphasizes through multiple verses. One of the verses in Chapter 8 confirms that Chanakya believed learning is honoured everywhere. Thus, learning is mandatory whether entrepreneurship runs in the family or you are a first-time entrepreneur.

Chanakya

Chanakya’s appreciation for learning is also evident in verse from Chapter 2. The Chanakya Niti quotes, “Let not a single day pass without you learning a verse, half a verse, or a fourth of it, or even one letter of it.

We couldn’t agree more as several top leaders are known to dedicate time every day to learning something. As this Inc article points out, daily reading is preferred by leaders such as Warren Buffet, Elon Musk, Mark Cuban, etc.

If book reading doesn’t seem enticing, there are various other resources like audiobooks, podcasts, webinars, conferences, research papers, and so on at your disposal. When you set your intention to learn lifelong, you’ll never encounter a shortage of resources.

The Chanakya Niti in Chapter 6 states that one can learn as many relevant lessons from diverse sources. It implies that you have a teacher in every person you meet or a situation you encounter. Pick and choose your lessons from them.

#2 Ssshhh... it's a Secret!

Think of any of the magic tricks you saw as a child or as an adult. What makes it work? The audience not knowing how it’s done! Similarly, as an entrepreneur, be discreet about what you communicate to your stakeholders.

Chanakya Niti

In Chapter 2, verse 7, Chanakya suggests that it’s best to keep one’s plans under wraps until execution. At a startup, this is highly recommended for key business decisions.

However, we understand that you may not find it feasible to be secretive altogether. In such cases, you could still decide who learns to what extent of the information.

This secrecy allows you more control over how a certain decision or scenario plays out. For instance, please read up on these companies whose plans to surprise their clients worked out perfectly. Now imagine if their mission couldn’t remain a secret!

#3 Beware of The Company You Keep

Verses 6, 9, and 19 in Chapter 2 of Chanakya Niti specifically discuss the consequences of blind trust in someone. A bad companion or acquaintance is likely to influence you or, worse, drag you down. It may also turn problematic when the equation goes sour, and they threaten to disclose details that should ideally remain stashed away.

Therefore, in the organization’s interest, an entrepreneur must be vigilant of those who have a say in business affairs. That’s not the only trouble.

Chanakya Niti quotes

In these digital times where the news spreads as rapidly as wildfire, it also matters who is seen within social/personal circles. A meeting with a controversial figure could mean more than bad PR for your business. So, beware of those you engage with personally and as an organization. This Linkedin report suggests that many of the bad CEOs who were forced to exit were found guilty of ethical lapses.

Another way to interpret this lesson on bad influence is in terms of the coworkers and leadership in the team. Remember, Chanakya himself contemplated among two youths to be the future king. One of the two youths, Chandragupta Maurya, was eventually chosen for his resourcefulness and trained to be the King of the Mauryan empire.

So, build your team wisely by hiring the best for the job. This team-building is crucial for a startup so that everyone works in alignment towards the same vision.

#4 Business Preparedness

The Chanakya Niti quotes that preparedness and hard work are akin to positive affirmations for any entrepreneur. Chapter 13 cites that those prepared for the future and who deals cleverly with any situation will be happy.

This preparedness is quintessential in the post-pandemic economy! A McKinsey report shows that organizations with agile practices recuperate quicker and better during a crisis.

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Pandemic or not, every business must prepare for success. As indicated in verse 3 of Chapter 17, determination and hard work are the key to achieving the impossible. According to Chanakya, this preparation must be a whole-hearted and strenuous effort, like a lion attacking its prey.

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#5 Act Tough When Required

When starting out, most startups or small businesses rely heavily on others’ expertise and cooperation, including coworkers and other stakeholders. At times, this can put an entrepreneur in a complicated spot.

There may be situations warranting a fallout, a tougher stance, or a demand for respect. Yet your belief that you need those persons for your business growth may limit you from projecting your disapproval. So, how can you project your thoughts respectfully?

The answer lies in verse 10, chapter 9 of Chanakya Niti: even a non-poisonous snake can get away by pretending to be poisonous.

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The lesson here for an entrepreneur is that they must be prepared to act tough whenever necessary. The suggestion is not to turn into a leader feared by all. Yet you must not try to appease everyone or let yourself be taken for granted.

Do you wish to get the balancing act of tough love right? Try within your team first. Here’s how to do it. As for disagreements with other stakeholders, these tips should help to express your mind.

#6 Overcoming Fear

Running a business isn’t an easy job. Being afraid of everything that could go wrong isn’t the best approach anyway. Chanakya remarks that the way to tackle fear when it approaches us is to attack it and destroy it.

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In chapter 3, Chanakya Niti quotes, “They are fearless who remain always alert.” The interpretation is that being alert aids in understanding our feelings and thoughts on a certain issue. This awareness improves our ability to address the challenge more effectively. Be it saying no to an offer, asking for help, or making a tough decision, fear that is channeled properly leads to better actions.

These leaders did not let their fears hold them back. When you are fearful of something, read these inspiring stories and find a way to overcome yours.

You can also look at these motivational quotes of all time by leading entrepreneurs around the world. These will give you the courage to follow your heart.

Remember that fear is fine as long as you’re in control of it!

#7 Focus on The Growth

It is well-established that a business needs a game plan to succeed. Even with a foolproof plan, things may not go on track. The Chanakya Niti, in chapter 13, verse 2, advises that we take stock of the present as that is what can be dealt with best.

acharya chanakya

In business, having information on the past or the future is a bonus. However, to grow a successful business, what truly matters is the decision taken in the now.

Another useful lesson from chapter 14 is to savour the process with faith that it will end well for all. Inevitably, every business needs time to break even and perhaps, further time to rake in the profits. Instead of hurrying up or worrying through the process, it is recommended to wait patiently as a cuckoo does for the spring season when it sings for all.

You’d be surprised to know that some of the most popular companies today aren’t ‘profitable’ yet. However, they seem keen on growing. Take a look at this list yourself! We repeat, keep your focus on the growth of your business.

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Congratulations! You have become a dedicated student of Acharya Chanakya by learning these 7 life-changing lessons.

For those who know us, this is the time for a bonus tip.

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Congratulations! You have become a dedicated student of Acharya Chanakya by learning these 7 life-changing lessons.

For those who know us, this is the time for a bonus tip.

#Bonus Lesson: Learn from Other People's Mistakes

Among all of Chanakya’s teachings, if there’s one that we could say is our absolute favorite and also the easiest lesson for anyone to imbibe, it would be:

‘Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourselves.’

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Yes, entrepreneurship is a vast ocean, and one may never feel fully prepared to step in. Yet you could enhance your learning and preparedness by learning from the mistakes of others before you or those in your peer circle. After all, these are real-life experiences. Make your analysis of where things went wrong and how. Even better, ponder how you may have handled it or how you would mitigate the consequences!

Entrepreneurs must acknowledge that mistakes happen in one’s team as well. Therefore, learning should also encompass lessons from coworkers’ mistakes. This article on types of business failures is something you can read and reflect upon before adding them to your list of lessons on making mistakes.

Summing it up…

Of course, Chanakya Niti quotes are great to include in the opening slide of a team presentation or the introduction to a team-building or morale-boosting activity. But you will experience its true significance when you implement these lessons from Chanakya in real life. They can enhance the way you conduct your business and help you grow exponentially in the long run.

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Tarashme

Tarashme

Tarashme is a blogging website for entrepreneurs. It provides practically useful content that helps them to accelerate their growth.

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