Entrepreneurial Mindset

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Have you ever pursued an opportunity that would leave the world better off, improving the lives of others? Entrepreneurship is about boldly acting upon opportunity to bring novel products and services to enhance society. Developing your entrepreneurial mindset is a significant component of this process. So, what is an entrepreneurial mindset? According to some scholars, possessing an entrepreneurial mindset is “the ability to sense, act, and mobilize under uncertain conditions” (Ireland et al., 2003; Haynie et al., 2010). In essence, it’s your ability to move forward and to pursue opportunity even when you don’t have everything figured out.

A picture shows a man diving off a dock. Two friends are standing on the dock.

Source: Thomas Barwick/Stone/via Getty Images.

Acting boldly upon opportunity presents certain risks and uncertainties. However, it can be argued that not taking action is a certain path to not fulfilling one’s potential. Counter to popular stereotypes, exceptional entrepreneurs are not brazen risk takers. Rather, they are very good at reducing risk while they steadfastly proceed with optimistic caution. The greatest form of risk in entrepreneurship is failure, and yes, failure can often be an unfortunate reality. Failure is never a showstopper for resilient entrepreneurs. Rather, failure encourages an opportunity to take stock and learn what to do better when the next opportunity presents itself. This Skill will help you vicariously manage risk and build your resilience muscle.

Before pursuing a venture, it is best to know more about yourself, your strengths, and your limitations. Entrepreneurship is not a solo endeavor, though many entrepreneurs have reported that they often felt alone, especially when things were particularly challenging. Leading with your strengths and enlisting others who complement your weaknesses is an essential strategy. Savvy founders build diverse teams and enlist advisors with enlightening and complementary skillsets. In essence, similar to a coach, you empower others to apply their skills and expertise to advance your company. You will have an excellent opportunity to learn more about yourself during this Skill and discover tools that will assist in enlisting others to advance your start-up.

One of the simplest (yet hardest) steps is to ask others to help. Often, this is challenging for independent self-starters who think they can accomplish success on their own. It’s a fact that entrepreneurs who ask for help often thrive. There is an art to the ask, or, at the very least, it’s important to be thoughtful about who you ask, what you ask for, when you ask them, and how you ask. We will present ideas to help you improve your engagement skills and better develop your entrepreneurial mindset. So, venture forth, explore your potential, and always remember it’s okay if you fail. There are plenty of ideas and techniques to keep you moving in the desired direction.

Further Reading

Bhide, A. (1996). The questions every entrepreneur must answer. Harvard Business Review, 74(6), 120.
Coutu, D. L. (2002). How resilience works. Harvard Business Review, 80(5), 4656.
Haynie, J. M., Shepherd, D., Mosakowski, E., & Earley, P. C. (2010). A situated metacognitive model of the entrepreneurial mindset. Journal of Business Venturing, 25(2), 217229.
Ireland, R. D., Hitt, M. A., & Sirmon, D. G. (2003). A model of strategic entrepreneurship: The construct and its dimensions. Journal of Management, 29(6), 963989.
Kawasaki, G. (2004). The art of the start: The time-tested, battle-hardened guide for anyone starting anything. Penguin.
Taulbert, C. L., & Schoeniger, G. (2010). Who owns the ice house? Eight life lessons from an unlikely entrepreneur. Eli Press.
Weick, K. E. (1993). The collapse of sensemaking in organizations: The Mann Gulch disaster. Administrative Science Quarterly, 38(2), 628652.