Entrepreneurial Thinking

Entrepreneurial Thinking

Entrepreneurial thinking is about recognizing opportunities in the marketplace and understanding how and when to capitalize on them. Becoming an entrepreneur is not necessarily an inherent trait. It takes time to train yourself to use your talents and experience to see opportunities where others do not.

Each individual possesses a different perspective on products they would find useful and services they would like to see perform differently. It can often be just as profitable to improve upon an existing business. The advantage here is that you can learn from the mistakes of competing companies while still borrowing the positive aspects of their business for your own. Whether starting a completely new type of business or expanding on current ideas already in the marketplace, the key is learning to use your unique perspective to produce a product or service that provides increased value to potential customers.

Entrepreneurial thinking is relatively easy to learn. It involves training your mind to look at products and services in a different way and understanding how to improve upon them.

Starting a business is not something that happens overnight. However, it is probably not as difficult as you might imagine. The Internet has brought a wealth of information to your fingertips, if you know where to look for it. You can access information on almost every topic of interest to an entrepreneur by simply performing a search on any of the search engines. Speak with other individuals who have started their own business. They will provide you with a wealth of insight and possibly some useful contacts.

10 Ways Entrepreneurs Think Differently

Entrepreneurs are a unique breed of people. While some people sit and fantasize about the glamour of being their own boss and creating their own business, those in the thick of business ownership understand that even considering all its rewards, entrepreneurship is a difficult and complicated path.

The world's most successful entrepreneurs aren’t the ones who impulsively quit their jobs to chase a get-rich-quick idea. They are the ones with an entrepreneurial mindset -- a set of perspectives and values that allow them to achieve greatness.

These 10 perspectives are differentiators you’ll need to have or develop if you’re going to be a successful business owner.

  • Challenges are opportunities: Setbacks, obstacles and challenges are painfully common elements of entrepreneurship. Most people react to these hurdles with stress and pessimism, with an attitude that obstacles are negative experiences that only hinder progress. As an entrepreneur, you encounter so many challenges you simply can’t afford to react this way.

  • Competitors are research subjects: Rather than viewing competitors as a threat, like most people would, entrepreneurs see competitors as enriching opportunities to learn more about their industry and target market. By looking at your competitors’ business models, you can learn what makes yours unique and embellish that uniqueness in your branding and marketing efforts.

  • Everything requires effort: Entrepreneurship is multifaceted and constantly demanding, and there’s no shortage of pitfalls that could disrupt or destroy your business. Successful entrepreneurs are aware of this, and they’re aware that everything -- from product development, sales and marketing -- requires significant effort to achieve success.

  • Perfection is the enemy of progress: It’s a familiar aphorism that nobody understands better than entrepreneurs. Young or inexperienced entrepreneurs might get caught up in chasing their original vision, because original visions are almost invariably “perfect.” But perfection isn’t necessary to run a successful, profitable business.

  • Big things are made from small components: This works for problems as well as solutions. For example, instead of seeing a content-marketing campaign as a quick way to get traffic and new business, entrepreneurs see content marketing in terms of its individual components (blogging, social-media marketing, link building, etc.), each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages. Successful entrepreneurs can break down massive projects, problems and campaigns into smaller, more manageable pieces.

  • Mistakes are healthy: The popular vision of massively successful entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs or Jeff Bezos illustrates them as infallible leaders. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Successful entrepreneurs, even the rock stars among them, make mistakes often. Furthermore, they aren’t afraid to make mistakes, and they know how to learn from them.

  • There is no magic: The super-rich entrepreneurs you read about in the news usually didn’t get there because they randomly stumbled upon a great idea. They got there because they poured years of effort and passion into a good idea, and eventually their efforts paid off.

  • Outside perspective is invaluable: Entrepreneurs need to be good communicators, and that means actively listening to those with different ideas and opinions. It’s easy for us to get trapped in one mode of thinking.

  • Discipline is a prerequisite: To most people, discipline is something extra. It takes extra thought and effort to exercise, wake up on time or do anything other than spend leisure time. To successful entrepreneurs, discipline is normal. It’s a prerequisite that carries into all aspects of their lives.

  • Entrepreneurship is a lifestyle: Entrepreneurs wake up as entrepreneurs, go to work as entrepreneurs, come home as entrepreneurs and go to bed as entrepreneurs. There is no nine to five. There is no “work life” and “home life.”

Business Skills vs. Entrepreneurial Thinking

In a recent post about entrepreneurship education, Gary Schoeniger, chief content development officer at the Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative, argued that entrepreneurship isn't really about acquiring business skills such as spreadsheets and marketing plans. Instead, entrepreneurship is the way someone thinks.

Entrepreneurship, then, isn’t a "job"; it’s a way of thinking about and approaching challenges and opportunities. That's why real entrepreneurs flourish in government, non-profit organizations and business -- as both employees and founders. It’s well established that the entrepreneurial mindset makes for outstanding employees because they identify problems early, and present solutions. Entrepreneurship-employees take ownership of their jobs and performance and tend to both think creatively and collaborate well.

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