Watch any film about a successful entrepreneur and one thing strikes you right away, they are focused, have a strong belief and are outcome-driven. So how, as an aspiring entrepreneur do you build this capability? Are they born like this, have they developed this or is it a bit of both?
This is a question I have explored throughout my career and feel this is something that can be developed throughout your life with the right training and having the correct attitude. We are born with unique gifts and talents, all of us have something we can share with the world but often what inhibits our greatness is not having the appropriate mindset to accomplish what we want. It’s our mindset that determines our thinking and our thinking determines the actions we take. Therefore, it is the actions that unlock our true greatness and our mindset is the precursor for the actions we take.
Change of Approach
Typically, when an entrepreneur wishes to improve or ensure the success of their efforts, they first think of learning to write a business plan, create a new product, establish or improve a sales system and so on. Although these skills and strategies are essential, the skillset that needs to expand to achieve results in the 21st century is very different at the start of your journey. To have a successful business you need more than an audience, product range and a plan, you need the right entrepreneurial mindset to see opportunities, creativity, innovation to turn ideas in your head into a successful product.
Successful entrepreneurs believe in their ability to succeed. They believe in themselves, in their businesses, and in their products or services. Most of all, they understand the power of beliefs to determine what they will or will not do, what they will or will not notice, and the actions they will or will not take.
If there is one key trait of a successful entrepreneurial mindset, it is the ability to direct one’s focus, to put time, energy, and attention toward what will help build the business and mitigate whatever will hold it back. Successful entrepreneurs focus on three things. First, they look for opportunities where others see only obstacles. Second, successful entrepreneurs focus with laser-like precision on the goal they wish to accomplish, not letting the negative advice of others deter them. Third, they manage risk and overcome fear by controlling their focus. Almost every study of the entrepreneurial mindset declares that the ability to manage risk is a key to success.
Emotional and Mental Traits
Entrepreneurship requires specific emotional and mental traits that can be grouped under the term attitudes. The attitudes people bring to work will determine whether they are suited for entrepreneurship or not. According to research the specific attitudes that the most successful entrepreneurs share includes courage, persistence, adaptability, curiosity, collaboration, future focus, self-fulfilment, the desire to learn, and the willingness to take action.
When it comes to entrepreneurial success, strategy is essential, however, as is proven every day — what truly matters is developing the mindset that will help you turn your business into a million-dollar (or billion-dollar Unicorn!!) enterprise. Focus on your mindset first, and train your psychology to create and seize opportunities, to manage risk, and to persevere no matter what, and you will be on the right path towards entrepreneurial success.
Success Entrepreneurs constantly work on themselves. This creates a process of deep understanding of who they are, and their belief in their abilities and value for others and the world around them.
This is what allows you to become an expert in your chosen area. If you don’t understand and value yourself, you can bet the entire farm that no one else will understand or value you.
I have also found that those who understand and value themselves have a greater ability to understand and value others. This skill set is so important when you are seeking higher levels of success.
Very successful people care about their lives more than the average person. They take the time to analyse their lives, to look closely at their vision and their purpose in life. They put their lives on paper. They take the time to construct mental images that guide them on their journey. While most people are winging it, they put their life mission and business vision and goals on paper. They have imagination. They pull their imagination up in their mind and then they define their vision and then they go to work. Night and Day!
Focus on Time
Successful Entrepreneurs Protect and Prioritise their time. How many people do you know that plan their day before it begins? The most valuable asset we have is our time. It’s very important to plan our days, weeks, months, and years.
Successful people rarely resemble the person that they once were. They are constantly educating themselves and gaining experience that will lead them to the goals they desire. They truly understand the importance of acquiring greater skill sets, which in turn gives them a confidence boost and greater self-worth.
Focus is a characteristic is that I have found to be the most important when it comes to entrepreneurial success. Once we have awakened to the possibilities of success, we also realise the many opportunities that abound. And it is easy to allow us to become scattered. Successful people develop the ability to focus and concentrate to maximise their resources and forces.
Although this is not enough in the 21st century
Ash Maurya (Maurya, 2012) outlined that a modern entrepreneur needs a more adaptive toolset and the rest of the book will build on these ideas. Entrepreneurs often start their journey in the wrong place, focusing on the end goal instead of the steps to get there. This is similar to starting a car in 5th gear, you may get it moving but the traction will be slow and painful, start in a lower gear and go through the gears to get to your desired outcome. Too many people focus on the latest methods and prematurely scale their business leading to failure and becoming a statistic. This is why in my research, 8 out of 10 UK businesses fail to achieve product-market fit, which is defined as a product satisfying strong market demand. Beat the odds and employ the mindsets outlined in this book to become a success.
These mindsets are a fundamentally new way of thinking about building a start-up, you have to live and breathe these along your journey to allow them to become a new habit. So why am I mentioning habits? Habits are your brain on autopilot, it’s so efficient that we don’t consciously think about what we do and think. As I mentioned at the start of this article, how we think influences how we act so focusing on this element is key.
It’s because this drives what we do, it’s something we have developed throughout our lives and we need to reprogram our mind to embrace the entrepreneurial mindset.
So, start to change your mind throughout your journey,
Now it’s time to start this journey, in the article, we will be coving the fundamental mindset shift required, Love the problem, not the solution (Maurya, 2012), whereby we focus on the triggers of why customers buy your product. It may be a surprise to you that customers don’t care about your product, they only care about fixing the problem they have and reaching their end destination.
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Note: All images have been taken from Canva.com and are not subject to copyright.
Reis, E., 2011. The lean startup. New York: Crown Business, p.27.
KELLEY, T.A., 2001. The art of innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America’s leading design firm (Vol. 10). Broadway Business.
Maurya, A., 2012. Running lean: iterate from plan A to a plan that works. “ O’Reilly Media, Inc.”.
About the Author: Andrew Constable MBA
+44 0116 222 9286
I specialise in taking startups, scale-ups & more established businesses from 𝐂𝐨𝐧𝐟𝐮𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐨 𝐂𝐥𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐲. As an MBA qualified Forbes contributor & consultant, my practice is based around Lean startup, OKR development, Growth marketing and business modelling. I run the agency, 𝐕𝐢𝐬𝐮𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐞 𝐒𝐨𝐥𝐮𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬. We are experts in Lean startup practices and are official partners of Leanstack. Suppose you are looking to grow an existing product using data-driven product management. In that case, we have you covered, or you want to apply more focus to your business, we can implement OKRs (Objectives & Key Results) throughout your organisation or startup to drive you forward. I am a member of the Association of Business Mentors, a fellow of the Institute of Innovation and knowledge exchange, and MBAs. I have over 20 years of experience in product management in global organisations, managing complex relationships strategically and driving business change.