The ability to take calculated risks, to accept failure, to question everything and more importantly to execute are just a few of the qualities of an entrepreneurial mindset.
Passion is a “given” as it drives the entire process and also the ability to be optimistic, with a strong sense of realism.
In today’s world, any business’s success depends on having a strong entrepreneurial spirit — leaders who lead by example and drive an entrepreneurial culture throughout the entire organization, no matter how big or small.
And as an employee or jobseeker, I believe that entrepreneurial thinking will be one of the most critical qualities you can possess.
Sometimes you are in the driving seat and sometimes you are the passenger.
Recognizing the above statement is an example — many businesses have “leaders” and “followers.”
Drawing distinct lines of command in an organization is great for structure and control, but it can prevent the flow of ideas, and having a system that is more open, such as a matrix reporting system, for example, can lead to confusion and in extreme situations, chaos.
The best organizations will have strong leaders who are comfortable in getting out of the way and being a passenger when necessary and also junior employees who are not frightened to take the lead and showcase their ideas.
It’s about collaboration.
In my own business and entrepreneurial career, I have always encouraged people to come forward with ideas and I was equally happy having those ideas coming from the newest and most junior employees — in fact, some of the best suggestions came from the people you would least expect them to come from!
So how do you develop the entrepreneurial spirit and drive that entrepreneurial culture through your organization?
What is an entrepreneurial mindset?
I’ve touched on some of the qualities above, but in essence, it’s a way of thinking, a way to approach things in life, and for me, it is almost going back to your childhood state.
Bear with me…
Children to me are natural entrepreneurs — they are fearless, question everything, passionate, creative, work on instinct, persistent and have no concept of time and certainly no definition of “work.”
You can see where I am going with this.
If you are “working” for a living and not passionate about what you do, it will be almost impossible to strive to be the best and reach your full potential — if you are equally not passionate about your business and are running it simply to make money, as an example, your clients will see through you and especially in these tough, uncertain times where everyone is more cautious than ever when it comes to parting with their cash.
As I said, passion is the driver of the entire process, and then it is about displaying those qualities you had in an abundance in your childhood and that you have probably become disconnected from today.
I used to think that you cannot teach someone to be an entrepreneur as they are born, rather than made…but I have changed my stance on this because I believe that it is a matter of bringing alive or reconnecting with those childhood and entrepreneurial qualities that many of us have lost connection with.
Let me explain with regard to my own 3 children.
All of them displayed the qualities that I have previously mentioned and in the “creativity department,” I witnessed many conversations with imaginary friends, plus the animated actions that came with them!
I also used to marvel at how they would play me against their mother to get exactly what they wanted and use every emotional trick in the book and they were all fearless and sometimes too fearless.
I had children late in life — they are now sixteen, thirteen and ten respectively and my ten-year-old boy still has those same conversations, which are now totally normal to everyone and is a fearless YouTuber, who is building his own following.
My thirteen-year-old boy is fascinated with all things online and the other day help fell asleep on the sofa and obviously had a dream — his ambition is to be a professional footballer and he kicked a table in his sleep, hurting his foot and woke up.
I asked him if he enjoyed the “game” and he gave an emphatic “no.”
I asked what happened and he told me that they lost!
Now that is both passion and realism to the max!
My daughter who is sixteen persuaded me to buy her a new puppy for her birthday and the process started over a year ago, with me giving her a firm “no way,” explaining that we have had 6 dogs, 8 cats, one pet snake (hers), ducks, rabbits and we currently have a dog.
She didn’t crumble into an emotional heap, but rather she nodded and explained that she understood.
Over the year she subtly questioned me deeper as to my reasoning for the “no”, but was careful to remind me of my love for animals as we have had so many.
Just before lockdown, I was presented with a presentation detailing all of the reasons why she should have a dog, the breeder, availability, and the price which she said was reasonable and researched thoroughly.
How could I refuse!
I was conscious to keep those childhood qualities alive in each of them and to never shut them down and that is probably because I was an unlikely entrepreneur myself and in my example, it took martial arts to reconnect me with those raw, innate qualities.
I go much deeper into the mindset in this article: “Growth mindset: how to develop a powerful mind.”
Take a look.
Next, we have to take a look at how you can develop those qualities.
How to develop your entrepreneurial spirit.
So you now have the raw qualities that you need and now it is time to put them into use.
There is no secret formula for this and it is a matter of getting out there and doing it.
Here are 10 tips to help you develop your entrepreneurial thinking and spirit and it doesn’t matter whether you are a graduate looking for your first job, an experienced CEO and executive leader, or looking for your dream job, these qualities are universal:
- Start using your instinct — entrepreneurs have a strong sense of “gut feeling” and they go with this. Many times in my business and life in general, I have turned down a deal, or not taken an opportunity simply because it didn’t “feel right.” One thing I have learned from my thirty-five years in martial arts, particularly in internal martial arts, is that relaxation is the key to developing natural and instinctive movement, so learn to relax, but not to the point of collapse or where you are half asleep.
- Have a sense of “better” — strive to be the best that you can be. This requires having a mind that is open to any possibility, educating yourself as much as possible, and never standing still. I would walk into restaurants for example and think of ways they could improve what they do. Or I would have a customer services call with a company and note down how much better they could have handled it and I always take sales calls because I might need the service or product and I can evaluate the standards of selling. Train yourself to look at everything and across all industries.
- Question everything — this has driven some of my teachers in martial arts, music, golf, and other things to the point of despair…but they all admit it forces them to think. There is a time however when you just need to “do it” and over time, you will get to understand this and this brings me to the next point…
- Get a mentor — When I started out, I had to beg, steal, and borrow ideas from any source and thankfully today, there are many mentors out there to choose from…but be careful. Make sure you choose a mentor who has been through the good, bad, and ugly of entrepreneurship — the best ones will instantly know what you are going through, the challenges you are facing, and more importantly…what lies ahead.
- Listen to all ideas — ideas are the lifeblood of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial thinking. Don’t dismiss any and explore them. Keep a “crazy ideas” file and read it often.
- Lead by example — it doesn’t matter whether you are the CEO or the most junior employee, you should always demonstrate your entrepreneurial thinking and it will become infectious. This is how you build an entrepreneurial culture and also how you get noticed in an organization.
- Create your online personal brand — there is no better time to get online and start your personal blog. Unlike social media profiles and platforms, you have total control of what you post on your blog and use it to showcase your entrepreneurial side. Take a look at this article to help you more.
- Calculate your risk-taking — I loved employees who took calculated risks in the companies I owned and of course, they didn’t always work out, but I admired the person who at least made a decision to take action and from a perspective of research. On the flip side, I had many executive leaders who would not take risks and held back progress. If you are a leader or business owner, then I urge you to encourage people to take risks, but be careful to set parameters. Execution is key, but with an awareness of risk management.
- Be an optimistic realist — I do not subscribe to the constant ‘positive mental attitude” noise I hear and have heard all of my entrepreneurial life. This may seem to go totally against the grain, but think about life and think about nature. You need the positive and negative components to create a balance and for me, you have to be aware of the negative and be able to deal with it. I am optimistic…but I also live in the real world. Entrepreneurial thinking is about being able to be resilient and deal with the negatives.
- Commercial awareness — successful entrepreneurs are very commercially aware and even those who come from the most technical of backgrounds and are funded by investors who manage the business aspects of their companies learn to be commercially aware. You must understand industry as a whole, how companies generate their profits, and the dynamics of risk, success, and failure. If you are an employee or starting your first job, this is going to be a critical component for your career success.
There you have it — I believe we are all born with the innate qualities needed for having an entrepreneurial mindset and it is just a matter for some of us to be able to re-connect with those qualities.
Once you have re-connected, it’s time to get out there and use them.
I am a believer that the best form of help and advice in today’s business and career world, is “hands-on advice” and from a real-world perspective.
There is so much free advice available in the world and my objective is to offer as much free advice to people as possible, but I also know that some may require more help when it comes down to implementation.
If you need real-world and hands-on advice on any aspect of entrepreneurship and business, then get in touch with me.
Last modified: September 8, 2020