What’s an “entrepreneurial mindset?” If you’ve already started a business, aren’t you already in one? What more do you need?
We’re so glad you asked!
An “entrepreneurial mindset” means being creative, focused, confident, and flexible specifically for business. An entrepreneurial mindset helps you go from idea to launch, and from launch to entrepreneurial success. No matter where you are on your entrepreneurial journey, it’s never too late to develop an entrepreneurial mindset to reach your maximum potential.
KEEP A POSITIVE ATTITUDE
First of all, be aware that when we encourage you to develop “a positive attitude” in business, that doesn’t mean closing your eyes and ears and ignoring any negativity. On the contrary, a positive attitude acknowledges hardships, setbacks, and obstacles. The difference between a positive attitude and a negative one (or one that ignores these things) is how you deal with them.
In terms of an entrepreneurial mindset, a positive attitude means:
- Focusing on what’s going right
- Seeing every obstacle as an opportunity to reassess and reevaluate your system
- Expressing gratitude to those who help you
- Acknowledging your hard work and dedication
- Understanding that this hardship will pass
Example: Your investor backs out. Now you lack funds to start up your business. A positive attitude allows you to see this as an opportunity to find an even better investor, maybe one who can give you even more startup capital!
BE A PROBLEM SOLVER
Anyone can spot problems. It takes a special kind of entrepreneurial mindset to be able – and willing – to solve them. Successful entrepreneurs don’t whine when problems arise. They utilize critical thinking skills to find new and creative solutions. Doing so helps their business grow!
In terms of an entrepreneurial mindset, problem-solving means:
- Not taking problems personally
- Creative flexibility
- Asking for input from others
- Trying something no one else has done before
Example: Your wholesale supplier suddenly goes out of business. Being a problem solver means doing the work it takes to find a new supplier and finding creative ways to keep going in the meantime.
Teens are not well-known for having high self-esteem. But that’s ok. There are ways to build up your self-confidence. Why do you need that? In business, self-confidence pushes you to turn your dream into a reality. It helps you stay focused on your goals even when everything else seems to be telling you “no.” Self-confidence acts like noise-canceling headphones to all the haters and doubters.
In terms of entrepreneurial mindset, self-confidence means:
- Understanding that failure is not the end of the world
- Being proud of your hard work
- Learning a new skill or engaging in a new activity
- Not give up at the first sign of difficulty
- Practicing using assertive phrases with others like, “I can’t do that right now, but maybe later,” and “I don’t want to talk about this anymore.”
- Ditching toxic “friends” who make you feel bad about yourself
- Asking for help and advice
Example: You didn’t get into the entrepreneurial summer program you wanted, despite all your hard work. While this can feel like a personal failure on your part, look for other ways to engage your entrepreneurial spirit over the summer. Take an online business class, intern at your parent’s office, or start a business with a friend.
FLEX YOUR CREATIVE MUSCLES
We’ve already mentioned that creativity plays a major role in problem-solving. It’s also necessary for many other aspects of entrepreneurship.
In terms of entrepreneurship, creativity means:
- Web design
- Product innovation
- New business ideas
- Networking opportunities
Example: Sales of your product have stagnated. Creativity helps you find new customers, optimize your website, and create new products to offer.
SPEAKING OF “FLEXING”…
Flexibility in entrepreneurship simply means you’re not married to one way of doing things. This may seem like the opposite of focusing on your goals or sticking to a business plan, but it’s actually quite helpful. Does your GPS only give you one way to reach your destination? Of course not! And most GPS systems will recalculate if you make a wrong turn or miss an exit.
In terms of entrepreneurship, flexibility means:
- Recognizing challenges and adapting to them
- Preparing for future challenges as much as possible
- Being open to other ideas
- Asking for advice from people who know more about your industry
- Being willing to let go of a system or product that isn’t working
Example: The app you use for your enterprise’s finances is overly complicated with a lot of bells and whistles you don’t need. It’s one of the highest-ranked and most popular budgeting apps on the market, but you keep getting lost when you just want to know how much money you have. Being flexible means ditching the app and finding a better way to manage your finances.
Chances are, you won’t build your entrepreneurial empire alone. Sooner or later, you’ll need to hire employees, pay for professional help, pitch an investor, network with peers, find a mentor, or otherwise interact with other people.
In terms of entrepreneurship, effective communication will:
- Help you look and sound professional
- Get the right people’s attention
- Persuade others to help you
- Encourage others to take you seriously
Example: Pitching to investors. Effective communication means knowing what types of materials you need to prepare and bring with you, how to speak their “language,” and how to make your pitch as clear, concise, and engaging as possible. It also means being prepared to answer questions about your business and think on your feet.
No one else can make your dream a reality. As a high-achieving high school student with dreams of entrepreneurial success, we know you are self-motivated already. Use that important quality to optimize your small business.
In terms of entrepreneurship, self-motivation looks like:
- Not waiting for permission to start
- Doing the work that needs to be done, when it needs to be done
- Actively looking for opportunities
- Putting yourself “out there” (see above, re: self-confidence)
- Taking responsibility for your work, as well as credit for your successes
Example: To be perfectly blunt, that online store isn’t going to open itself!
Young entrepreneurs in Florida may be eligible for a Kantner Foundation college scholarship. Click here to learn about what we have to offer and how to apply.