Physics for Business

Physics for business.

Science rocks. I always loved it as a kid, but as with everyone, there are not enough hours in a day to study everything. So what did I learn in school about physics? If you are anything like me, not much. I’ve learned more as an adult than I ever did as a kid. (Don’t you wish we could go back to school?)

School is back in full swing and there are few kids with their physics textbooks open right now. Granted, these kids are the brightest of the pack. But whether you were in AP classes or not, whether you can wrap your head around these fantastical laws or not, the laws of physics are equal opportunity. They apply to rich, poor, the AP and the average student. They are an immutable force that will not conform to our understanding or bend for our pleadings.*

Did you know there are physics laws for business as well? These natural laws also cannot be violated. No matter how long you have been in business, no matter if you are an entrepreneurial genius or not, you cannot escape their gravitational pull.* Deep down, everyone knows what they are, but like the natural laws of physics, they are so obvious and prevalent that we rarely think of them, and we take them for granted instead.

Here are some that I have thought about recently:

Nothing exists in isolation. Physics laws state that everything in the universe has an effect on everything else. Nothing you do in business exists in isolation either, even though the various disciplines within your business favor compartmentalization. The really big problems of business are not solved in silos. They are not solved in the accounting department, or the marketing department, or the sales department. They are solved by keeping the big picture view in mind. If you are not focused on the end goal, you will discount the very advice you need in order to succeed.

You won’t move unless you are forced to move. Newton’s First Law of Motion states that an object at rest stays at rest until acted upon by some outside force. (This is actually only half of the law, but for our purposes, it will do!) One of the biggest problems in business is succumbing to the tyranny of the urgent. It is so easy to get pulled into the day-to-day affairs and neglect the most important task of working on your business rather than in it. Don’t wait to get hit by a meteorite to create change in your organization. Every business has problems, but the idea is to avoid a few meteorites by thinking ahead. One of my favorite formulas for change is this one: d x v + f > R. Explained: your dissatisfaction with your current situation multiplied by your vision of the future plus the effort you must make to take the first steps must be greater than the resistance to change.

For every action there is a reaction. This is Newton’s Third Law of Motion. “You will miss every shot you do not take”– Wayne Gretzky. You will miss some of the shots that you do take. But some of your efforts will hit the mark. If you really want to create a big bang with your business? You must also create the force to launch it. It will not happen by accident. A variation of this Third Law of Motion applied to the natural and spiritual world is “you reap what you sow”. We receive in direct proportion to what we have given. My income reflects the value I have supplied. If I am not making enough? I must work harder at creating real value for my clients.

Heat changes things. While matter remains constant, the laws of thermodynamics state that heat will change the shape of matter, and that energy is transferred at an atomic level. When the heat is on in our businesses, it changes things at the core. Don’t fear the heat. Sometimes the worst thing that can happen is actually the best thing that can happen. It jolts us out of our ruts. It causes us to see the problem clearly. It causes us see opportunities that we didn’t even know existed. Don’t fear the flame. It makes you a better business.

Things move from order to disorder. This is the Law of Entropy. Left on its own, any system falls into disorder and decay. Small business takes so much more effort than anyone ever imagines that once an entrepreneur gets things over the crest of the hill, the tendency is to take a big deep breath and coast down the other side for a while. Be firmly warned, at that point, you are on the decline. A sustainable business must have systems, and continual improvement. They must be systems that calibrate themselves.

You may have other physics laws for business. I could go on and on but then you might get sucked in by the gravitational pull of my genius and you would not get any work done today. But I know you have genius of your own. I would be very glad to see your Physics for Business ideas in the comments below.

Pssst. Don’t tell your kids, but we have entered an age of education revolution.  We will never graduate. We will be continually learning till the day we die. And it is all good. We are adding to our brainpower and fueling our business energy. That kind of energy moves faster and farther in a business environment than any other energy known to entrepreneurs. May this force be with you.

*Double-entendres fully intended