The Entrepreneurial Mindset

The Entrepreneurial Mindset

The Entrepreneurial Mindset

By Mark Wager

When I was in Fiji last week I had the honour of spending time with a couple of young entrepreneurs with a very exciting future ahead of them and it made me think about what it takes to be an entrepreneur. During my time coaching people in business I’ve found that it’s not the smartest, it’s not the richest and it’s not the people with the best ideas that end up being successful entrepreneurs, it’s always the people with the right mindset, the right attitude, the right desire in short they have the Entrepreneur mindset.

It’s the journey rather than the destination that counts.

If someone contacts me saying they want to open a restaurant, my first question is do they love cooking. If someone wants to become a best selling Author, I ask if they love writing. I ask this question because successful entrepreneurs fall in love with the journey rather than the destination.

The vast majority of potential entrepreneurs have understandingly fallen in live with the glamour of owning their own business, the joy of not working for a boss, using control over your life and obviously the money. Well!  the bad news is that this is the easy part. The people who become successful entrepreneurs instead fall in love with the downside of being an entrepreneur, the lack of structure, the uncertainty and obstacles are seen as challenges rather than an excuses to quit. 

Expect to fail. 

When you are an entrepreneur you need to remember it’s not about if you are going to fail but more like when you are going to fail. Even the best entrepreneurs experience setbacks. Sir Richard Branson failed with Virgin Cola and Virgin Vodka while recently a world famous chef Jamie Oliver had to close down his restaurants. It's  not about failing, it’s about what you do afterwards.

If you want to be a successful entrepreneur then you need to see failure as a natural part of success. In  this way you won’t get too discouraged when things don’t go to plan. It’s easy to motivate yourself when your business is going well but when the opposite happens, most may consider quitting. The entrepreneur mindset means you take the lessons that failure gifted you and work harder than before. 

Be innovative. 

The business world has a rich history of successful entrepreneurs and the path they have taken has left behind many lessons that the entrepreneurs of today can learn from but the challenges of yesterday are not the same as the challenges of today. I was told recently that if you read a marketing book that’s more than six months old then it’s already out of date. The business world is constantly changing so you need to be innovative.

A successful entrepreneur needs to be prepared to create their own path by challenging preconceived ideas of how things work, just like how Spotify disrupted the music industry and Uber disrupted the taxi industry. Remember  just because no one has done it before it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible - be innovate. 

Be courageous 

Physical courage is very different than moral courage, and it’s the latter that entrepreneurs need. I am like a lot of very tough people who struggle to have difficult conversations. Being an entrepreneur is not easy and the path you have chosen will include many difficult conversations with potential clients who don’t want to do business wth you, friends and family who don’t believe in you and co-workers who don’t fit the mould of what you need. 

I can’t tell you how to be courageous but I can ask you to decide just how much do you want your business to succeed. All success requires sacrifice and only you can decide which sacrifices are worth it. Is being popular more important than being successful? Is having a business worth the long hours you have to work in order for it to become a reality? The only person who knows the answer is you and when you answer those questions then the courage you need will come to you. 

Attract people with the same mindset. 

Leadership is very different for entrepreneurs depending on the size of the business and what stage of development it’s at. When you start out with a team of just a few members including yourself then it’s more about selection rather than motivation. If you are talking about how to motivate people with a small team then it’s a problem. You don’t have time to motivate people so it’s all about attracting people with a similar attitude to yourself even if they don’t have the skills. It’s easier to teach skills than it is to teach attitude and with a growing business the skills required will change dramatically from year to year, and possibly even month to month.

In a traditional established business you shortlist applicants based on experience and skills and then interview people to test attitude. With  a start up its the opposite approach. Shortlist for attitude and then interview for skills. It’s a more difficult process but if done correctly you will save yourself many hours of difficult conversations in the future.

The life of an entrepreneur is a very envious one but it’s not for everyone. Some people are better suited to work for large corporations while others thrive in small businesses and there are a few amongst us that posses that little special something that makes them want to go down the path less travelled. These are the individuals who have an entrepreneurial mindset.

I hope you found this article interesting.

Have a wonderful week 

Mark Wager

Chief Leadership Coach 

Australasian Leadership Institute

Posted: Monday 22 July 2019

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