How to Develop an Entrepreneurial Mindset

business woman with entrepreneurial mindset working on her laptop Flamingo Images /

Because of the technologically advanced, hyper-connected global economy, there are now more entrepreneurs than ever before. It is estimated that around half a million people start their own businesses every month in the US, a positive trend after sinking to multi-decade lows in the aftermath of the 2007-2008 financial crisis. The makeup of these companies varies, ranging from supplemental income endeavours to permanent long-term investments. Most of them fail, but some of them become gems.

With employee morale crashing in recent years, a lot of individuals have gotten fed up working for someone else, tapping into their entrepreneurial spirit and enjoying the benefits of being self-employed.

You may have the desire to sell sports apparel, serve specialty coffee or clean households, but you need to ask yourself: do you have the entrepreneurial mindset to realise these dreams and earn a decent living?

Before you answer that question, it is important to understand what exactly the entrepreneurial mindset is. Once you know its meaning, you can guide yourself in a certain direction to make you think more about becoming your own boss.

What is the entrepreneurial mindset?

Whenever we conjure up the average businessman, we tend to think of the typical descriptions: astute, positive, dedicated, energetic and resolute. In reality, however, your average entrepreneur is really anxious, insecure, worried and emotional. Whether these are positive characteristics of business-minded folks or not depends on the situation, but what is most important is how you think on a day-to-day basis.

Some people have the knack for entrepreneurship, while others need to develop or cultivate this mindset to survive and thrive. How would you describe yourself?

This type of business mindset is a state of mind that familiarises human action toward entrepreneur-related activities and outcomes. These ambitious people are attracted to innovative solutions, opportunities and value creation. In the end, they have the attributes that enable them to take well-calculated risks and accept change and uncertainty in the marketplace.

It is important to comprehend this term because then it is the initial step to get through this adventure.

Are you ready?

How to develop an entrepreneurial mindset

Turning your passion into a business or finally becoming a freelancer is the first step. The next step is knowing how to develop the mindset that many entrepreneurs have that allows them to succeed.

1. Maintain a positive attitude

If you have ever watched Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, you first see the owners despondent and miserable about their tumbling establishment. Their dejection can be seen through the restaurant: the food is awful, the managers are indifferent or delusional, and the premises are filthy. Ultimately, even with Ramsay’s intervention, their commercial operations would collapse based on their attitudes.

Indeed, your attitude will make or break your business. If you maintain a negative attitude throughout every step of the way, your odds of success will diminish. Therefore, it is critical to be upbeat, excited and positive during your entrepreneurial journey. By believing in yourself, you’ll pave a path to success.

Remember: success is earned and produced. It doesn’t happen out of nowhere.

2. Visualise

It is great to crunch the numbers, sift through the data and comb through your research in your mind, but without some sort of visualisation, then it can be hard to see these plans spring into action. All the successful business goliaths, from Mark Cuban to Donald Trump, say the same thing: you must visualise in order to see your objectives become mainstays of your business.

Everyone has their own way to put pen (or sharpie) to paper, but if you’re having a hard time figuring out what is right for you, here are a few ideas to visualise your aims:

  • Create a vision board, a collage of images and affirmations of your corporate dreams.
  • Draw a map that leads a road to accomplishments; this includes asking questions, listing your assets and understanding the market trends.
  • Picture the end and how you see yourself in five years’ time from now.
  • Compose several note cards of what you want to achieve and look at these pieces of paper any opportunity you have.

By constantly visualising your entrepreneurial road, you will see it come to real life. As legendary Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu wrote: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’. Indeed, truer words were never spoken.

3. Be honest

While it is great to have a positive disposition, you should refrain from deluding yourself. For instance, if your shop is receiving fewer and fewer shoppers every month, or your cash flow is taking a hit, you shouldn’t stand idly by hoping for everything to blow over. This is not the way to be an entrepreneur.

No one will argue the fact that there is a lot of pressure to owning and operating a company. That said, it isn’t a wise idea to alleviate this stress by lying to yourself, because it will only compound your issues.

By adopting the mantra of ‘honesty is the best policy’, you can nip your problems in the bud as quickly as possible, whether it is declining sales or rising debt. An honest account of your business practices will allow you to take necessary action and employ appropriate measures that can redirect you to the road of prosperity.

4. Act small

There is a common expression among entrepreneurs: think big but act small. This motto stems from the concept of ‘you can’t change the world, but you can make a dent’. You may have the objective of transforming a planet, a sector, a market or a service, but you likely will only be able to accomplish one-tenth of that – and that’s not a bad thing!

It’s all about baby steps.

To foster the entrepreneurial mindset, you should always elicit an immense vision, but it will require taking one step at a time, reaching milestones and focusing on one goal at a time. You may want to franchise your burger shop, but it takes one store or product at a time to see this come to life.

Simply put: you need to strike a fine balance between dreaming and acting.

5. Adapt or die

In order to advance as an entrepreneur and see your business go on for years to come, there is one facet of this new and improved mindset you need to embrace: adaptation. Or, put another way, you should never fear change – you need to accept and welcome it.

The economy is changing with or without you, so you better ride the tidal wave of innovation.

A business model that worked 23 years ago will not necessarily work 23 years later – numerous million-dollar companies have perished in just a decade from evolving landscapes.

If you don’t see something working in your firm, then it is up to you figure out what’s wrong to quickly steer the ship in the right direction. You may not like the way the market is shifting, but it is your job as a business to listen to customers, heed to market demand and ensure you’re giving the public what it wants.

Carol Dweck, psychology professor and bestselling author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (paid link), wrote: ‘Picture your brain forming new connections as you meet the challenge and learn. Keep on going’.

This is what leadership is all about; leaders don’t sit around during turbulent times twiddling their thumbs and whistling ‘The Lambeth Walk’.

6. Practise gratitude

Do you know when you have mastered the entrepreneurial mindset? When you practise gratitude.

Gratitude is something that is missing in a lot of us – entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs alike. We like to whine and moan about daily trivialities, even when there is so much to be grateful for. But should we be so flippant about the little things that add up to something grand? The short answer is: no.

As a company, it can sometimes be virtually impossible to be satisfied, thankful or grateful every day. You missed quarterly goals, you are having trouble getting in touch with clients who are late for their payments, or your online marketing campaign has yielded very few conversions. On the other hand, what about that one customer who has stuck with you through thick and thin? What about those telecommunications savings? What about that motivational coach you discovered on YouTube who inspires you to do and be more?

It may not seem like it at the moment, but there is so much to be grateful for as an entrepreneur – even being an entrepreneur counts!

Let’s be candid: it isn’t easy to master the entrepreneurial mindset. There is plenty of trial and error that goes with this philosophy, and it also takes a lot of work, especially if you’re a pessimist by nature. You could argue that going solo in the business world is an art form in itself. Of course, once you have passed the tests, then you can move onto the next phase of your commercial adventure: the millionaire mindset, another way to think about being wealthy. Are you up for it?

Do you have anything you would like to add? Join the conversation down below and let us know.