Ask any renowned entrepreneur how they started their journey and you will hear some saying they become restless at some point in their minds that they decided to explode into action. It all starts in the mind. Lasting entrepreneurship emanates from the need to change things for the better. The difference between what you are and what you should be is a decision so you’re a decision away from your desired person. Once we start talking of decisions, we’re already into the mindset territory. “At its core, entrepreneurship is a mindset, a way of thinking and acting.
Bruce Bachenheimer, clinical Professor of management and executive director of the entrepreneurship laboratory at Pace University defined entrepreneurship as imagining new ways to solve problems and create value. It is about the ability to recognize and methodically analyze an opportunity and, ultimately, to capture its value. I picked five dimensions of an entrepreneurship mindset in Professor Bachenheimer’s sentiments that I will explore.
- Way of thinking
Entrepreneurship is indeed a way of thinking. It is a philosophy. It is a dogma. I have seen how flawlessly some personal development business, leadership and business coaches predict solutions to some challenges of the day. It proves the fact that it is indeed their way of thinking. They think about solutions. Bhudda once said, “The mind is everything. What you think, you become,” Think solutions, you create them. Think entrepreneurship, you will become one. The more you ponder on an idea, the sooner you will take action within that context.
If Napoleon Hill said, whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve, I then question the way we think as Africans and what we collectively achieve as a continent. To be net importers as a continent, what kind of a mindset do we have and what are we conceiving and ultimately achieving? Rather than thinking and investing in solutions and furthering research and development, we think of visibility and spending. We are so porous. While others are thinking entrepreneurial sustainability now and in the long term, we are busy prematurely self-gratifying. The mind conceives ideas and strategies so once an idea, dream or vision is conceived in the mind and you believe in your heart regarding it, you will certainly achieve it.
2. Way of life
Great entrepreneurs are driven by passion more than rewards that come out of it. Indeed, there are rewards at the end of all that necessary serendipity. You don’t need a supervisor on things that you are passionate about. It’s your way of life. The reason why most Indian run successful businesses is that, the business mind is grown from an early age. This is an age when the mind is still fresh and full of the ability to grasp and conceptualise things. They told themselves that they will be great business people in the world and that stuck in their minds and so is told to their kids from infancy. Africans on the other hand have a spending mentality, which ultimately turn even to cost the whole continent, as we ultimately become net importers. Once something becomes set in people’s life. It literally becomes their way of life.
3. Seizing opportunities
The ability to utilize opportunities as and when they show up is one major characteristic of entrepreneurs. They have eyes that neither see north, west, south or east – they only see opportunities. Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work so most people don’t recognize them. In the words of Ann Landers, entrepreneurs possess the mental disposition to unmask and utilize them. This ability sets entrepreneurs apart.
4. New ways of solving problems
The major distinction between real entrepreneurs and the masses is that they have a unique way of tackling challenges. It is this uniqueness that makes them stand out from the crowd. Entrepreneurship involves coming up with a new product or service for the existing market or a new market altogether.
Alternatively, it may be bringing in a unique way of packaging existing products or services for the same or a different market. What makes an entrepreneur stand out among others is the ability to come up with a new way of solving current and future challenges. The sharper the solution, the more outstanding an entrepreneur becomes.
Innovation is a virtue in entrepreneurs that gives birth to the uniqueness that they display in their execution. I happen to be in a group of national coaches. There are quite a number but each appeal to the same market in a different way. That’s innovation. You can be in the same retail, manufacturing, mining or logistics business, to mention a few but it is how you differentiate your products or services that gives you that competing edge in the marketplace.
5. Create value
The mind of an entrepreneur is set on creating value. It is when customers get satisfaction either through your products or services that they would want to continuously deal with you. Therefore, the more you work on improve the welfare of other people, the more value you create for yourself. At first, it is not about getting loads of money coming your direction. It’s about making sure that your customers or clients smile all the way to their domicile delighted.
They will act as broadcasters for whatever products or service you offer, thus creating a pool of followers. This kind of thinking calls for well-established mental muscles to untangle the value that lies at the centre of things. If you see people at the top enjoying life, it would seem as if they started from there. A leadership expert, Noah Mangwarara, once said, “The only thing that starts from the top is a grave. Everything else starts from the bottom and slowly goes up, action by action.” Don’t forget that entrepreneurship, at its core, is a mindset – a way of thinking and acting. Be phenomenal.