What Sherlock Holmes Can Teach You About Business

Because other than being an ingenious consulting detective, he was a great businessman too

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By Ritu Kochar

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The genius of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has escaped no one. Sherlock Holmes, the fictional detective created by remains till this day the most portrayed literary human character in film and TV (fact: 254 times). Seems justifiable as well, given the beauty of this character. We just can't stop being impressed by Sherlock's ingenious and his sheer ability in reading a crime scene like a book (or swoon over Benedict Cumberbatch's cheek bones).

Anyhoo, amongst the pool full of qualities Sherlock possess, we must not forget that he is also a business man. Being a consulting detective (of course the world's only) Sherlock's business seems to be good going with enough clientele around (except when he's busy pretending to be dead or doesn't find a case interesting enough). Though he doesn't care much about the money, he does make an awful lot for himself because he's so good at what he does. So here are a few business lessons to learn from the most famous detective on earth:

"You see, but you do not observe"

Sherlock Holmes is all about observation and giving the utmost important to details. His strategy was simple - observe, deduce and when eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how mad it might seem, must be the truth. His deductions were so on point that not only did he solve cases in minutes but he solves some without even visiting the crime scene.

Observance is a great tool for an entrepreneur for when s/he notices the market, only then will they be able to find where to tap. You need the eye to see what others don't and utilize it before everyone else does.

"I abhor the dull routine of existence. I crave for mental exaltation"

It took Holmes seconds to deduce that Watson was a war doctor, a look at his phone to understand about his sibling's drinking problem and another few minutes to understand how Watson's link is psychosomatic in nature. That's right! Nothing escapes the great Mr. Holmes. And this has much more to do than being born with a great mind, which he was. SH started young and had mastered what he called "The Science of Deduction' for years.

Though absolutely ignorant in the field of space, literature or human emotions, SH was incomparable when it came to chemistry, human anatomy and reading a person. His means were perhaps rather obscure sometimes, but he never stopped his education.

Likewise an entrepreneur must be really good at what he does to get the kind of result they desire and there should be a constant will to get better as things might change any time. Whether you are selling a product or service, you should know how it works inside and out.

"The fair sex is your department"

Well the quote is a little out of context here but it shows Sherlock's complete trust on his partner in solving crime John Watson. Holmes is a great detective but he sure could use a little bit of help every now and then and Watson plays that part brilliantly. While Sherlock rarely lacks knowledge in a field, he does matters like women or handling emotions to Watson. Watson being a great friend doesn't mind either when Sherlock says peculiars things to and about people or when he's being a jerk. He knows why he is the way he is and focuses on his brilliance.

A good business partnership means fulfilling where you lack. If you are the brains of your company, find someone who is good at talking to people. A good co-founder can make a world of difference for your business.

"I'm not a psychopath, I'm a high-functioning sociopath. Do your research."

Sherlock Holmes' confidence in his abilities was inspiring. He may come out as a bit cocky but the man was correct most of the times. He knew he was a genius but he also knew how he could come off as rather strange. He might have made some of the cruelest remarks on the intelligence of his counterparts but hey, they made some great comic reliefs, eh?

Sherlock knew who he was and that's where his confidence in his abilities came from. His knowledge was unquestionable and method of solving crime indisputable.

An entrepreneur must know where he stands to start something. S/he should have a hold on his abilities and self-confidence to believe in oneself, however weird you might seem to the world.

Ritu Kochar

Former Staff, Entrepreneur India

Ritu used to work as a Feature writer for Entrepreneur India.

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