10 Must-have Skills For Cultivating The Mindset Of An Entrepreneur
There’s a reason why many successful entrepreneurs are what we refer to as “self-made”. They weren’t handed a business from a father or a grandfather. They didn’t inherit a trust fund.
Most successful entrepreneurs have something else in common. Something called an entrepreneurial mindset. It can’t be bought with money. But it can be cultivated over time.
The Financial Times lexicon describes an entrepreneurial mindset as the following:
“Entrepreneurial mindset refers to a specific state of mind which orientates human conduct towards entrepreneurial activities and outcomes. Individuals with entrepreneurial mindsets are often drawn to opportunities, innovation, and new value creation.
Characteristics include the ability to take calculated risks and accept the realities of change and uncertainty.”
The following 10 skills are critical to cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset.
Not being afraid of being afraid of failure
Fear of failure is a powerful contributor to success. In fact, ambition and fear are good companions.
We’re not talking about the kind of fear that paralyzes you. However, a certain amount of realistic fear is an excellent driving force to stay focused and achieve your business goals.
To anticipate failure isn’t a sign of weakness. Being entrepreneurial goes hand in hand with making mistakes. It’s how you respond to the mistakes that count. If you’re going to give up after the first try, you shouldn’t have tried in the first place. Expect to fail and don’t let the fear of failure frighten you into passivity.
Recovering from failure
As important as anticipating failure, is recovering from it. While part of an entrepreneurial mindset is to not fear failure, it’s even more important to not wallow in self-pity after failing. Move on to the next big thing and do it fast. Repeat until you succeed.
Most highly successful entrepreneurs have folded at least one business before hitting the jackpot. Think Henry Ford, Bill Gates, and Richard Branson. Who remembers Gates’ failed Traf-O-Data, or Branson’s Virgin Cola? No-one. At the same time, who can forget Microsoft or Virgin Atlantic?
We already know that successful entrepreneurs aren’t afraid to fail, learn from their mistakes, and put plans into action. What they also do is reinvent themselves by adapting their business models to keep up with customer needs, market changes and competitor trends.
Successful companies evolve and adjust. Take Apple, for example, who experimented with consumer electronics before settling on computers and later expanded to mobile devices and online music. Paypal started out as a cryptography company before it became an online payment pioneer.
Are you in need of reinvention? The following steps can help you get there:
- Allow yourself to be vulnerable. You will be surprised by the amount of assistance coming your way. Accept the help.
- Review your vision. Are you still happy with where you’re heading? It’s okay to have a different end goal in mind.
- Set up an action plan. Once you know what your vision is, work out how to get there. Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail.
- Be persistent. Keep moving towards your vision no matter what gets in the way.
Putting plans into action
Entrepreneurs move past the business plan onto company formation and beyond. No matter how ambitious your plans are and how much you believe in them, they are worth nothing if no action is taken.
Furthermore, successful entrepreneurs don’t take just any kind of action. Thorough planning followed by strategic action are the keywords. Therein lies the single greatest reason for success – taking strategic action.
If you don’t learn to cultivate a mindset where action is more important than dreaming and planning, you have little chance of success.
Entrepreneurial thinkers not only welcome change, they create it. People with an entrepreneurial mindset are agents of change. They welcome it as an opportunity to create new possibilities.
Change can be forced on you from external as well as internal forces. Successful business owners accept this fact as a normal part of their business. They are prepared to efficiently manage both expected and unexpected changes.
A good idea to deal with change is to see yourself as a chameleon. Many transformations are needed to survive. No business can grow if it sticks to a rigid plan with no room for adaptation.
Rising to the challenge
Successful business people with an entrepreneurial mindset thrive on challenges as much as they do on mistakes. When a problem arises, an entrepreneur has no one to pass the buck to. He doesn’t even look for someone else to blame. It’s his or her own problem to solve. And successful entrepreneurs rise to the occasion.
Some challenges aren’t that obvious until they raise their ugly heads and you are forced to deal with them. They could include cash-flow problems, decision-making, financing, team-building, isolation, and dealing with the unknown.
Never thinking you know everything
Successful entrepreneurs are lifelong learners. Their thirst for knowledge is what separates them from the mediocre. They understand the importance of staying current and competitive in an ever-changing market and world.
Being knowledgeable about things like company formation, tax incentives, and economic trends doesn’t mean having an MBA. Technology has made it easier than ever to become a lifelong learner. Here’s how:
- Take an online course
- Attend night classes at your local community college
- Read industry related publications to learn from your peers
- Take advantage of free resources offered by universities and online specialists
Budding entrepreneurs hardly ever have all the resources they desire at their disposal. What sets them apart, is how resourceful they are with the resources they do have.
Entrepreneurs with a resourceful mindset are determined to succeed no matter what. Three of the most important characteristics of resourceful people are:
- Imagination – A resourceful entrepreneur knows the power of imagination. He or she are always looking for creative ideas for a new product or service or to improve existing ones.
- Proactiveness – To act resourcefully is to act on opportunities when they represent themselves.
- Persistency – Trying a dozen things a hundred different ways is what true resourcefulness is all about.
Listening to your instincts
Part of being an entrepreneur is to find yourself on uncharted territory. In many cases, you will have no data or experience to fall back on. Relying on your instinct becomes essential. It’s part of the “risky business” of being an entrepreneur.
In fact, 98% of 549 company founders in the US identified the lack of willingness or ability to take risks as a barrier to entrepreneurial success. The company founders participated in a survey by researchers from Duke University to determine the “anatomy of an entrepreneur”.
For your instinct to work in your favour, you must trust it. Also, it will lead nowhere if you don’t follow it up with a lot of dedicated work.
Trusting others to work for you
Entrepreneurs can only do so much on their own before they must start trusting others to help them achieve their goals. We know it’s hard to let someone else look after your baby, but expansion and growth can’t happen without delegating some tasks to others.
There’s no rule of thumb when it comes to delegating. Once again, let your instincts guide you. The following steps can help you delegate efficiently:
- Ask yourself what results you want to achieve through delegating
- Make 2 lists – one of the tasks you want to keep for yourself and one of those you are prepared to delegate
- Identify relevant people to delegate the tasks to
- Decide on controls and checks to put on people you entrust tasks to
- Motivate the individuals to whom you’re delegating
- Hold those with delegated tasks accountable
Now you know that thinking like an entrepreneur and acting like an innovator are critical skills for success in business.
This is confirmed by McGrath and MacMillan in their book entitled The Entrepreneurial Mindset (2000). They suggest that you know you have fully embraced the entrepreneurial mindset when you start to act and think like a habitual entrepreneur.
Are you a habitual entrepreneur? Have you embraced an entrepreneurial mindset?
Building a business takes hard work and effort. It is best done with an attitude that embraces the initiative and risk involved in becoming your own boss.
You can use the above skills to cultivate the mindset of a successful entrepreneur. By following this mindset, you won’t only experience the success you’ve been dreaming about in your business, but also in your life. Start learning and applying the skills today to catapult your business success in the shortest time possible.