Most of us, when we hear the word entrepreneur, think of inventors, business owners, and those at the forefront of the new and innovative. On the outside looking in, the life of an entrepreneur can seem highly desirable. It comes with notoriety, wealth, and success. Who doesn’t want that?
However, behind the curtain, the life of an entrepreneur is full of hard work and seemingly insurmountable challenges. Success doesn’t come easy to an entrepreneur, and, in fact, it takes many learned as well as unlearned skills and qualities to make it all come together.
For success in entrepreneurship, you need more than a desire to start a business venture or develop the next big thing—you have to be in the right frame of mind.
So, what does it mean to think like an entrepreneur?
4 Ways to Think Like a Successful Entrepreneur
1) You own your decision-making.
Successful entrepreneurs are, without a doubt, leaders. This is where it is valuable to understand the role of leadership in entrepreneurship. Making decisions in uncharted territory can be absolutely terrifying, especially when it can be the difference between failure and success in very real terms with very serious consequences. For an entrepreneur, you have to get in a mindset of ownership.
You see, successful entrepreneurs—successful leaders—understand that whatever factors are at play, whatever counsel they have received, the decision that they make is ultimately theirs and theirs alone. They never shift blame or try to explain it away with justifications. They know the call was theirs, and if something goes wrong, they pick it up and do what they can.
This, ultimately, creates men and women of action. These are people worth following, those who shoulder the weight of responsibility and people who know what it is to be in it for the long haul.
2) You’re willing to seek out the best in the business.
For the entrepreneur, it can be intimidating to strike out with their own voice. But the successful entrepreneur is never intimidated by the success and experience of others. Quite the contrary: he knows this is a valuable asset. He jumps at the opportunity to tap into the experience and expertise that others have. Even if these people are difficult to work with or their success is intimidating, the mindset of success recognizes the immense value in learning everything they can from them.
They aren’t afraid of competition. They don’t have so big or fragile an ego as to fear being around someone smarter or better than them at something. No—the successful entrepreneur is here to learn.
3) You know when to quit and when to persist.
Entrepreneurship is never a guarantee of success. In fact, it is so often not a success story. Because of that, many have to know when to stop. But this is not a lesson in being a quitter. Quite the contrary. We have to think of this path like a game of chess: there will be losses and long periods of thoughtful waiting. You may retreat, and you may persist.
Entrepreneurs know where to quit and how to keep moving to the next thing without missing a beat. They don’t let singular defeats knock them down for long. At the same time, they also know when to push on, and what things are worth holding onto and fighting for. There is an intuitive nature in the entrepreneur.
4) You understand the value in expertise and excellence.
I’ve mentioned that entrepreneurs and leaders are often one and the same. This is where it comes very clearly into play. You will no doubt, somewhere, have a team. And to make your vision happen, you will likely need to work with people and in subjects you may not really know about. This might make you uncomfortable.
There are a few key things a successful entrepreneur understands in this regard:
I do not have to have mastery over everything. I need only my expertise.
We have all heard it said, “the jack of all trades is the master of none.” I think this is true. When thinking about the value of mastery, of laser-focus, it really comes into view for the innovator. Being well-rounded might sound good. Who doesn’t want to be well-rounded? But ultimately this hinders your ability to excel and specialize, while also preventing your team from stepping up and taking full charge and tapping into their potential to lead and specialize as well. When you tap into expertise, everyone can give their all, rather than doing all things half-well. If you can’t do it, delegate it.
I do not need to exercise authority over areas which I have no expertise.
Speaking of delegating, an entrepreneur understands that he has no need to micromanage things outside of his scope of understanding. If you’re not competent in certain areas, it is not your place to tell others who are what to do. This is where delegation is essential and leadership—not hands-on entrepreneurship—takes center stage. Let others lead, those who have the skill and knowledge that you lack. By leveraging their expertise, you shine.
While there are many things about the mind of the entrepreneur that are unlearned, you can transform your thinking. You don’t have to be trapped in the patterns that keep you from achieving greatness!
What one idea changed the way you lead and work most? Share it in the comments.