I was scared out of my mind to start my first business. I had a cozy 9-to-5 and more responsibilities than I needed. It took a while to get into the right mental space to actually believe that I could do it. Getting into the right mindset is so important, not just when you are starting a business, but also staying in that early stage mindset as your business grows. Many people who have great ideas simply can't start not because they aren't able, but because they haven't shifted their way of thinking from employee to entrepreneur.
We're trained as employees to get the support, structure, and processes we need to do our job from someone else higher up on the totem pole, either your boss or the business owner. But as you know, when you're an entrepreneur you're starting from zero. It's up to you to turn the idea into a tangible product or service, generate revenue from it, pitch financiers and other people who will be key in your growth, and make it all look easy when it's hard as hell.
Below, I'm breaking it down for you on how to get your mind right by following three basic rules:
1. Stay Nimble and Execute
We can all fall victim to routine. In fact I've found you actually need to make a conscious effort not to get sucked into day in and day out routines. For entrepreneurs staying nimble (read: being open to change especially when it comes from left field) is a key characteristic that defines us.
This is why it's so hard if you're just starting out to just get out there and start the process. I can't even count how many entrepreneurs I've worked with have spent months flushing out business plans worthy of being presented to any business class at Harvard. Don't get me wrong information is extremely valuable for a new venture. Just don't let it paralyze you and get stuck in that stage without actually executing. That's when you'll actually learn the most.
2. Be Scrappy
If you're reading this then you're no stranger to hearing how cheap it is to launch a business these days, especially a technology business. I don't disagree. This is why it's a big red flag when I get pitched from startups looking to raise capital who have done little more than flush the business out on paper. Founders who don't have a prototype out in the market that's already validating their business model are doing themselves a disservice and will likely be unsuccessful raising capital from professional investors.
Being scrappy means that you'll find a way to get done what needs to be done for you idea, whether that's using interns as early employees, hacking together your first product using a third party product, or finding a repeatable customer acquisition channel with little to no money. If you cannot do this as an entrepreneur you'll have a hard time convincing anyone you'll be able to execute even with capital.
3. Kill the Excuses, Look for Solutions
I coach a lot of founders and I can always tell if a founder will be successful based on how they take feedback. I'd say about 50 percent of Founders that I give advice to have rebuttals for 100 percent of the suggestions or direction I give them. No matter what I suggest it won't work because of XYZ. Another 40 percent listen to and accept the advice with fewer rebuttals but never really execute on anything to help solve their problem.
Only about 10 percent listen to the advice and take from it what makes sense for their business, after all they are the expert, and actually execute. Those founders are smart enough to apply those findings to their business and continue the process all while updating advisors and/or potential investors. These are what I like to call solution-driven entrepreneurs. They outperform and go further than all other founders because they consistently look for solutions rather than give excuses. It's a not just a way of thinking either, it's a way of living.