Stoic Business Design

Image by Oliver Thomas Edwards

This post is an early draft with some foundational ideas on repurposing stoic philosophy in a business-first approach to designing a startup.

In the fast paced world of startups and entrepreneurship, it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of rapid growth, shiny new ideas, and the pursuit of immediate success. Let’s how ancient stoic principles can be meaningfully applied in developing a new company or startup, drawing insights from Ryan Holiday’s “Courage is Calling” and Jim Collins’ “Great by Choice.”

Stoicism and business

Stoicism is an ancient philosophy that emphasizes self-control, rationality, and the pursuit of virtue. These principles can be applied to business to foster resilience and long-term success. By adopting a Stoic mindset, entrepreneurs can focus on what’s within their control and navigate the unpredictable challenges of the business world with grace and determination.

Courage is calling

In Ryan Holiday’s “Courage is Calling,” he explores the idea that courage isn’t the absence of fear but the willingness to act despite it. This concept is particularly relevant for startups. Instead of rushing into risky ventures, entrepreneurs should exercise courage by carefully assessing risks and making informed decisions. A Stoic entrepreneur acknowledges fear but uses it as a motivator for thoughtful action.

Stoic business design principles

  • Focus on the present: Entrepreneurs can get overwhelmed by thinking too far ahead. Stoicism teaches us to focus on the present moment and the tasks at hand, ensuring that each step is taken with care and excellence.

  • Rational decision-making: Stoicism encourages entrepreneurs to make rational decisions based on facts and evidence rather than emotions or external pressures. This approach helps in building a solid foundation for the business.

  • Discipline and persistence: Stoics emphasize the importance of discipline and persistence in achieving long-term goals. In the context of startups, this means staying committed to the business’s core objectives even when faced with setbacks.

Great by choice

Jim Collins’ “Great by Choice” explores the idea of thriving in uncertainty, which is a fundamental challenge for startups. Collins argues that great companies maintain a steady, consistent approach even in the face of unpredictable circumstances. Stoicism’s emphasis on self-control and resilience aligns perfectly with this concept.

The hedgehog concept

Collins introduces the Hedgehog Concept, which involves focusing on what you are deeply passionate about, what you can be the best in the world at, and what drives your economic engine. Stoicism’s emphasis on self-awareness and self-mastery can help entrepreneurs identify and stay true to their Hedgehog Concept.

Incorporating Stoic principles into your startup’s DNA can lead to a steady and resilient business design. By drawing insights from Ryan Holiday’s “Courage is Calling” and Jim Collins’ “Great by Choice,” entrepreneurs can adopt a business-first approach that prioritizes rational decision-making, discipline, and a focus on the present moment. In a world where startups often chase rapid growth and quick success, embracing Stoicism can set your company on a path to enduring greatness.