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How Business Owners should start Looking at the Bigger Picture

How business owners should start looking at the bigger picture

When you own a business, it is very easy to get caught up in the small intricate details of running it. There is always something that requires your attention, and there is always some or other decision that needs to be made. While details can be very important, a key to many business owners’ success is their ability to look at the bigger picture.

In this article, we will have a look at the importance of big picture thinking and how you can cultivate better big picture thinking.

Why big picture thinking is so important for entrepreneurs

Big picture thinking is important for everyone, but even more so for entrepreneurs. Business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs need to be very aware of what is happening around them in the business landscape, as well as be aware of their own goals and visions if they want to make the right decisions.

Allows you to identify opportunities and better ways of doing things

By looking at the broader landscape of the industry you’re involved in, as well as the mechanics and processes of your business, you’ll soon be able to identify business opportunities that may come in the form of marketing opportunities, opportunities for collaboration, and opportunities to grow your business. You may also find better, simpler, and more effective ways of doing certain things.

By continuously finding ways to improve your business, you should have your business running in its most optimal condition.

Understanding the big picture allows you to communicate it to your team

If you don’t understand the bigger picture, how on earth is your team supposed to? As a business owner, you are your employees’ leader, and it is your job to communicate to them what is most important and what they should be prioritising. Knowing and understanding the bigger picture as clearly as possible will allow you to communicate it effectively to your team. And therefore, everyone will be on the same page and will be able to work cohesively towards your goals.

Prioritises the real reasons for doing things

When you know and understand the bigger picture, you understand how certain processes affect one another. You won’t simply be doing things blindly; you’ll have an in-depth understanding of all of the processes that take place within your business, and you’ll know the reasons for doing them. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to prioritise processes in order of importance based on the way that they affect the greater scheme of things.

Getting ahead of your competitors

When you focus too much on the smaller details, you work with blinders on and usually have absolutely no idea what your competition is doing because you’re so focused on what’s in front of you. But big picture thinkers usually have a good idea of what others in the industry are doing, and they can use this information to their advantage by using it to make decisions as to how to best get a step ahead of their competition.

Fulfil gaps in the market

Knowing which gaps in the market need filling is definitely a trait of a big picture thinker. It takes insight and clear understanding to identify when there is a need for a particular product or service. Identifying gaps in the market will help you to truly propel your business forward and give it the best chance at being successful.

How to develop big picture thinking

So now you have an understanding of the importance of big picture thinking for entrepreneurs. But what if you battle to look at the big picture? What if you always find yourself getting caught up in the small details? Don’t worry; the world we live in is exceptionally detail orientated, and it is difficult for many of us to adopt ways of looking at the big picture. But ways in which you can develop this type of thinking include:

Identify what is stopping you from looking at the big picture

First things first, if you are battling to look at the big picture, you probably have a few things that are standing in your way. And it’s time to get rid of them before you can move forward!

Some things that could be holding you back from looking at the full picture include:

  • Limiting beliefs- Maybe you are very self critical and believe that you are incapable of expanding your mind and getting a view of the bigger picture. The very first thing that you should do is to get rid of your limiting beliefs and start believing in yourself.
  • Stress- Stress is another definite factor in the hindrance of big picture thinking, as well as a lot of other things. Stress can actually be quite addictive so de-stressing can be difficult and may make you feel guilty at first. But find things that make you feel calm, as well as motivated, and lean into them. Don’t stress over the small stuff! It’s not worth it!
  • Distractions- Stop getting distracted by those tiny little details. Stop spending hours scrolling through social media. You need to prioritise what is truly important and try to remove any unnecessary distractions from your work life.
  • Seeking perfection- for things around you to be ‘perfect’, you’ll need to be exceptionally detail orientated. But what you need to realise is that nothing can ever be truly perfect. When you start prioritising progress and understanding over perfection, you’ll start to get better at big picture thinking.
  • Not delegating effectively- When you don’t delegate effectively, you end up having to do everything yourself, which gives you no time at all to think about the bigger picture. Learn the strengths and weaknesses of your team so that you’ll be able to delegate confidently and effectively.

Each and every entrepreneur will be faced with different challenges when it comes to your big picture thinking. Examine your situation closely to understand what may be holding you back.

Albert Einstein, one of the biggest big picture thinkers ever known, was known to forego wearing socks as he viewed it as pointless and a waste of time. He was really dedicated to removing distractions from his life in order to focus on the bigger picture of creating his theories. While you don’t need to be as extreme as removing the ‘distraction’ of wearing socks, you should use Einstein as an inspiration.

Cultivate creativity

Big picture thinkers are also known to usually be highly creative and ‘out of the box’ thinkers. While not everyone is naturally creative, everyone has some sort of creativity in them, and this creativity can be cultivated! The good news is that creativity is fun! Try to find creative activities that you enjoy, such as writing, dancing, music, art, etc. and tap into this area of your life. You’ll be amazed at how it will benefit the way you think, as well as other areas of your life.

This increase in creativity should help you better adopt new ways of doing things, including big picture thinking.

Adopt a different perspective

To become more comfortable and confident with big picture thinking, you’re going to need to practice adopting a different perspective. When you only see things from your point of view, you can become very one-track-minded, which is not good for big picture thinking. Try practising different perspectives by putting yourself in others’ shoes and viewing situations from a variety of different viewpoints.

Look around you as well as above you

While big picture thinkers are known to walk around ‘with their heads in the clouds’, they are actually very much aware of what is going on around them. Practice vigilance and always be hyper-aware of what is going on around you.

When it comes to looking above you, know where you and your business stand in the greater scheme of things, and always keep an eye on what those who are better than you are up to.


If you want to get better at big picture thinking, journaling and brainstorming are going to be your new best friends. These techniques help you release your thoughts and frustrations and help clear your mind. Journaling is a practical and simple way to keep track of your thoughts and ideas and develop new ways of doing things.

Take the time to research 

Researching and investigating what is going on around you helps you obtain the puzzle pieces of information that make up the bigger picture. While the bigger picture and the little details seem to be opposites, it is the little details that often play a part in understanding the bigger picture. So take note of the details that you learn and make an effort to understand how they may fit into the greater scheme of things.

When we say ‘take time to research’, you should be researching what is going on both in your company and your industry at large. So research should include:

  • Keeping up to date with industry news
  • Reading books that relate to your particular business
  • Go over the accounts and books of your business
  • Do research into what your competitors are doing
  • Do research into your suppliers
  • Get to know your employees

Think before you make decisions

Making rash decisions, especially in the world of business, often leads to regrets. How many times have you wished that you waited just a little longer before making a very important decision? As a business owner, you probably feel pressured into making decisions sometimes, but you should always make an effort to consider the bigger picture before making any important decisions.

Sometimes waiting just an extra day could allow you to think things over, see things from a different perspective, and also allow for new information to be made apparent to you.

Detail-oriented vs big picture

So how do you know if you’re more of a detailed orientated person or a big picture thinker? Most people are usually one or the other. But according to a recent survey, only around a quarter of the population are big picture thinkers while the other three quarters are more detail orientated. However, some people can definitely be both.

Big picture thinkers are usually described as:

  • Imaginative daydreamers
  • Geniuses
  • Have big ideas
  • Don’t always get the details right
  • Able to come up with innovative ideas and solutions to problems
  • Ability to recognise opportunities

Detail orientated people can be described as:

  • Always sticking to deadlines and time constraints
  • Going the extra mile to ensure that a project is completed in its entirety
  • Focusing on one task at a time
  • Paying attention to all the intricate details
  • Possibly battling to answer big picture questions such as why they are performing certain tasks

Whether you are already a big picture thinker or you lean more towards the detail-orientated side of things, there is always room for improvement when it comes to big picture thinking.

Looking at the big picture does not come naturally to most people, but you can greatly improve your big picture thinking skills by some of the methods that we mentioned in this article. Don’t be scared to start dreaming and thinking big!


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