The Entrepreneur's Mindset: 4KTA
Date: Thursday , January 03, 2013
It's the start of the New Year! This brings new hopes, new dreams, new resolutions and a new beginning. Wishing you all entrepreneurs, whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur or already on your entrepreneurial journey in this planet, a very Happy New Year and a massive success this year. This is an opportune time to focus on a critical and important ingredient of entrepreneurship. I call it the Entrepreneurís Mindset. Mindset refers to a fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person's responses to and interpretations of situations. How does this apply to entrepreneurs? Here are four key take away (4KTA) points on this important ingredient.
As an entrepreneur, one thing I have learnt is to be really passionate about what I try to do and deliver results once I make a commitment. Itís important that you are absolutely passionate about your idea, product or service. You really believe that it is a gigantic opportunity for you to do good for your customers and for humanity in general. It sounds like a big and bold statement. However, if you look at all the highly successful entrepreneurs, they are driven by bold and big visions. Not only their passion and excitement for their products and services is amazing but also, it can excite and inspire their teams to deliver incredible results beyond their imaginations. For instance, Bill Gates visualized having one computer in every home over thirty years ago, when there was not even one computer in anyoneís home.
Today, we frequently find more than one computer in peopleís homes. Similarly, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page and Sergey Brin have big visions for their respective companies to make society a better place. More passionate you are, stronger your desire is to realize your vision into a reality. As they say, visualize where you want to go and then charge ahead by making it happen, no matter what it takes. One simple exercise that you may want to try is to sit down and shut your eyes for four minutes. Now, visualize what you really want to accomplish, feel it and experience having accomplished it fully. Upon realization of your idea into a full-fledged and highly successful company, now continue to visualize how you would use your success to do greater good for humanity.
At the end of this exercise, write down how you feel about what you visualized. Does it make you even more committed? Does it make you even more driven towards achieving it? Does it make you feel happier?
Having extreme patience is as significant as having the passion. Any entrepreneurial endeavor requires being comfortable with experimentation. The ability to experiment with out of the box approaches, products, features, processes and outcomes, no matter what the results may lead, is the key element of being patient, creative and open minded. For entrepreneurs bringing new and innovative products to the market, experimentation is really about trial and error since the outcome canít be predicted. Having zero expectation and let the data driven results guide you in a new direction leading to a highly successful venture can be a significant attribute that marks a truly entrepreneurial and creative mind.
Ask successful entrepreneurs and you will hear them doing three or four product iterations before figuring out the real market need and a product to fill that need. In my own experience with Ukiah Software and Nayna Networks, it took us iterations before delivering the final product. The patience needs to be combined with extreme humility. Itís important to not get stuck in your own egos of dictating outcomes or conforming to a preconceived notion or to a past experience. Egos can destroy the very best ideas. Entrepreneurs with previously failed ventures can be stuck in their past Ė a baggage full of negativity, doom and gloom. Take their advice carefully. You can always learn something from their mistakes but donít get sucked into their past. The smartest entrepreneurs think creatively and act collaboratively with their team and leverage the best out of them while pushing them to attain impossible.
Entrepreneurship is filled with doubts and uncertainties all the time. As a result, we start doubting everything including ourselves, our team, our prospect customers, our partners and market. Thoughts like I do not think that this is going to work or I am unsure if I can do it, intrude our susceptible mind all the time. For instance, during my first startup Ukiah Software, I felt completely down and depressed many times. It would take longer to get new customers, longer to convince investors to invest and longer to get the strategic partners signed up. Many times, I felt like giving up and moving on. However, I had to remind myself that there is no way that I could let the company fail for all the faith that my team and investors had put in me and my co-founder. Also, this being my first startup, if it failed, I will not be able to start another company or get investors to invest. With this relentless attitude of accepting no failure, we ultimately succeeded by selling the company to Novell within three years of our founding. The bottom-line is whatever it is that keeps you going, keep at it. Do not give up at any cost. Remind yourself of all the entrepreneurs who felt like failures many times before overcoming all the obstacles and hence, succeeding big time. Keep an eternally positive attitude and persist relentlessly.
Every small success or milestone needs to be celebrated big time by you and your team. Go out and have a drink with them. Meditate or work out or go cruising or do whatever you like to do to enjoy yourself. We entrepreneurs get caught up in accomplishing next big thing or next milestone as soon as one is achieved. Take a moment to reflect and celebrate that you and team creatively accomplished a milestone. Celebrate that how you and your team were able to find a hole in the marketplace and fill it with innovation. Celebrate that you all are on your way to creating the next successful company.
In summary, having a strong Entrepreneurís Mindset consists of being passionate, being patient, being persistent, celebrating and enjoying every step of your success in your entrepreneurial journey.