Being an entrepreneur is a mindset. It’s about seeing what others miss and believing in goals that seem too distant to grasp.
Still, what is this entrepreneurial mindset, and how does one develop it?
Well, the same way you can break down projects into tasks, you can break down this mindset into perspectives.
Here are a few such perspectives that should help you become a better entrepreneur, as well as a few tips (and tools) to help you develop them faster.
Everything is an asset and a resource
You need to look at your business like it’s a numbers game. How much does it cost you if an employee leaves? What’s the cost of the hiring and onboarding? How long until the new hire can become as productive? Compare that to the cost of the raise or a bonus that might make an employee stay, and you’ll get an answer. HR stands for Human Resources for a reason.
When managing a fleet, what’s the cost of taking a longer route? What about a fee that you’ll pay if a reckless driver crashes one of the vehicles or earns a fee? Then, what about the fuel use, the cost of the downtime, and increased maintenance?
Just from these two examples, it’s clear how you can bring any decision down to numbers. Sure, our first example is not perfect since, whenever there’s a human factor involved, things are a bit more complex, but you get our point - all your decisions need to be data-based.
This is why it’s so important that you utilize modern AI-powered analytical technology. These platforms can produce more accurate forecasts and projections than ever before. They’re doing wonders in the field of real-time analytics (providing updated results when the conditions change) and predictive maintenance.
Leveraging the power of technology can make your resource management job a lot easier. At the very least, you should find yourself a premium ERP tool to help you out.
Your business must be customer-centric
Next, you need to understand that some people are in the business for the wrong reason. You’re not here to stroke your ego or to feel like you’ve accomplished something. This can happen as a side-effect, but your primary objective is to provide a service and get paid for it.
In other words, you need to develop a customer-centric business.
Now, to do so, you must first understand who your customers are. The quickest way to get there is to get a good CRM. You must find the list containing the market’s best software, research, and pick one.
This way, you’ll be able to create customer personas and start making a strategy that will appeal to them personally. By tracking their activity, you’ll be able to understand where they’re coming from, why they’re buying from you and not your competitors, etc. You’ll even be able to figure out the mysteries behind your churn rate or shopping cart abandonment.
Then, when preparing a brand story for a campaign, you need to learn how to put the customer at the center. In storytelling, they’re the protagonist - your business is merely an agent for resolving the problem.
Ultimately, this is what the concept of 'the customer is always right' means. It doesn’t mean that you should let your customers harass your staff or that you should bend over backward to please them. What this means is that the customer is the one who’s dictating the rules of the market.
Resilience is the most competitive trait that you can develop
Have you ever played a battle royale game? The rules are simple - you start out on a specific map that shrinks every several minutes. Players left outside are eliminated from the round. This process continues until just one or several players remain.
The same thing happens in the business world, as well.
Instead of just trying to outcompete everyone by having a better offer, you could make a strategy that will allow you to outlast them.
Just think about it: every several years, there’s a crisis, a recession, or a massive new trend in the market that changes the playing field. In other words, it’s not a question of “will it happen,” the real question is “when will it happen.”
The first thing you can do to make your business more resilient is make it scalable. This will help you grow faster (when the workload increases), but it will also allow you to scale down when there’s a shortage of work.
One thing’s also worth mentioning: flexibility allows you to adjust to seasonal market changes. Temporarily switching to a slightly more expensive plan and hiring freelancers/contractors for the duration of a single project is an amazing opportunity to get the maximum value with minimum commitment.
You’ve heard that a lot of businesses fail because they bite more than they can chew. Well, this is how you prevent it.
Understanding people is the most important form of insight
Every business is a people business.
We’re not just talking about convincing customers to like your business. This statement goes much deeper than just that. If you’re good with people, you’ll have a much more successful fundraising project, which will result in starting out with more funds than others. This already increases your odds of survival.
You’ll find that all the greatest leaders throughout history had some of the best advisors, ministers, and generals. How do we know this? Well, it’s easy; you know them by name. Octavian August had Agrippa and Maecenas, Justinian had Belisarius and Theodora, while Alexander the Great had Seleuk and Ptolomey.
As long as you can find capable people and inspire loyalty in them, you have nothing to fear.
In other words, if we had to single out one trait that’s the most important for an entrepreneur, it would definitely be the ability to work the room (networking).
Fortunately, this is a skill that you can work on. Books like How to Win Friends and Influence People, 48 Laws of Power, Prince, Art of War, or even The Art of Seduction can help you improve your networking by quite a margin.
Don’t try to win every negotiation and every battle. Sometimes, being gracious in victory or losing on purpose can make you triumph where you would have failed otherwise.
Knowing where you’re going is so important
Even a GPS or a local won’t help you find a way unless you know where you’re going.
How can you tell if you’ve reached your goals unless you know what these goals are? This is why starting by setting realistic and measurable goals is important. This way, every time you do an evaluation, you can do a mild course correction and figure out the best way to get right on track.
Remember that while long-term goals are fine, they are quite impractical. You need to know exactly what you’re trying to do tomorrow and the day after. The same goes for your team. Imagine giving your team an objective to reach X revenue by the Y date. Imagine just saying this without giving them any pointers on how to do this.
Instead, you must learn how to break larger objectives into smaller ones.
This is why mastering the art of project management or even using a project-management tool can help you out so much.
The best way to develop a new mindset is one new perspective at a time
Trying to just jump into an entrepreneurial mindset without understanding these perspectives is a shortcut that won’t give you great long-term results. Instead, you need to take it easy and understand why entrepreneurs think and act the way they do. By focusing on just these five points, you’ll already start seeing things differently and have a better way of acting on them.