Bruce Lee’s School of Business

“Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.”

― Bruce Lee


I’ve been a small business owner before with a tight budget with very little or no funds to advertise. This was before the internet was useful or even fast enough to gain my attention. Today, there are so many options that it can be overwhelming. Even with all the speed provided by technology, an impatient man will still find ways to become more impatient.

The internet can leave small business owners paralyzed by the overpowering enormity and complexity of the net. Often becoming overwhelmed triggers the “fight or flight” switch that most often tells us to run away or do the wrong thing.

How do I channel my uncertainty and adapt to the internet, and technology in general, to make it work for me and my business? The answer is very simple – and it hides within the Bruce Lee quote stated above.

1. Adapt to what is useful.

As a business owner you probably hear so much advice from mentors, coaches, SEOs and marketers of different ways to optimize for return on investment. Many of these people are brilliant at what they do, and are wise when it comes out to building a game plan. They want to help you, but it can be overwhelming as well as confusing, leaving one with so many tools they don’t even know how to use them properly.

Take the advice of those experts and use the tools they recommend. Learn what will be truly useful to your company and start with the tools that make you the most comfortable. By beginning with the least amount of stress you will be able to adapt to what is useful. You will begin to recognize what tools you use most efficiently, creating a productive environment. Remember, it’s your business at the end of the day and if the ship goes off course you as the captain should be able to apply the tools to get the ship back on course.

2. Reject what is useless.

As you begin to adapting to what is useful you’ll notice there are tools and advice that doesn’t seem to work. Some business owners can feel it’s important to heed the advice of the wise man. The truth is if you adapted to useful tools then you’ll be able to recognize when a tool doesn’t belong. You don’t iron a dress shirt with a hammer. It is important to spend time with the fundamentals.

If you want to market through Google Adwords, learn the basics of Google Adwords but don’t become so sure of yourself that you turn down counsel of others that may have more to offer. Holding a sword once doesn’t make you a master swordsman. You have to find a teacher well scripted in the art of sword play and want to become better. As you adapt to the sword you begin to reject bad habits and soon there is flow and decisive, accurate movements. Learning to recognize uselessness and rejecting uselessness will help you advance on every level.

3. Add what is specifically your own.

Remember your business was built by you. Your concept and brand came from your imagination. Be wary of your ideas becoming whitewashed and lost as your company innovates. Keep focused on the fundamentals of your business.

When new concepts arise be sure be sure they align with your core values. This will create continuity throughout each campaign and keep the core of what your company is at the heart of everything that you do. As the owner you will at least feel that you have a valued investment with everything the company moves towards.

I hope that when you move forward with your business that this Bruce Lee quote comes to mind. They may be small words, but will have a significant impact when creating positive return for both you and your company.

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