Building a thriving company and designing the life you want takes more than just a small business loan and a good idea (although these key elements definitely don’t hurt!). It requires a particular mindset that is common among all great small business owners—a positive entrepreneurial outlook that enables you to carve out your own path, push through the inevitable obstacles along the way, and truly transform your dreams into reality.
If you’re thinking of starting a small business, it’s time to cultivate that entrepreneurial attitude that will take you from “idea” to “I’m doing.” Here’s how.
- Identify negative mindset traps
“I’m not [smart/talented/experienced] enough to start a small business. I’ll probably fail. Someone else could do it better. Best not to pursue this particular dream right now...”
Have you ever been stuck in a negative thought spiral like this? Usually it starts with just one critical thought… and before you know it, you’re mentally beating yourself up and all of your ambition and brilliant thoughts become a puddle on the floor!
Negative mindset traps, like all-or-nothing thinking and self-limiting beliefs, not only ruin your happiness; they can totally wreck your chances at small business success too! After all, how likely are you to launch the company of your dreams if you’re repeatedly talking yourself out of it? Don’t sabotage your shot before you’ve even started.
When you recognize that your mind is taking you down that familiar road of self-defeat, simply pause and take a step back. Ask: Am I being reasonable or is this my insatiable inner-critic doing the talking? What is causing these negative thoughts? What steps can I take to get into a better headspace, such as meditating, exercising, talking to a friend, or chatting with a mentor? How can I be kinder to myself?
Tip: Self-doubt is one of the five most common reasons why start-ups fail. Discover the other four here.
- Cut through procrastination
Procrastination often arises from negative emotions (like anxiety or a lack of confidence), poor time management, or some combination of the two—and like negative mindset traps, it can be a vicious cycle. Not finishing tasks, such as completing a small business plan for your potential company, can lead to greater anxiety and less confidence, which results in more procrastination.
Avoid this altogether by implementing good time management habits. For instance:
- Focus on completing just one important task per day
- View television or online surfing as a reward—only allow yourself to pursue “distractions” like these once you’ve completed your important daily to-do’s
- Work in spurts, such as in 30-minute chunks with a 10-minute break in between to refresh your brain
- Try tackling difficult or intimidating tasks first thing in the day to establish positive momentum, and avoid pushing them off
Tip: If procrastination has you stressed out, or stress has you procrastinating, use these strategies to unwind and be your best self every day.
- Stop thinking of yourself as an employee
One of the greatest benefits of becoming an entrepreneur is being your own boss. But being your own boss starts with thinking of yourself as a boss! For those who have been employed by others for years, making the mental switch from employee to entrepreneur can be tough.
However, the sooner you start embracing your new identity as small business owner in the making, the sooner you realize that your future is entirely within your control… and the faster you can build an innovative entrepreneurial mindset that asks “Why not?” rather than “Why?” when faced with opportunities.
- Get comfortable discussing money
A whole lot of entrepreneurs, small business owners, and freelancers aim to make a living with their work, yet they are afraid to discuss money. They:
- Don’t understand what to charge
- Hesitate to discuss pricing with customers or clients in the first place
- Are afraid to push back on pricing if a customer voices questions or concerns
- Avoid asking for a pricing increase for fear that they aren’t worth it or that they will lose business
- Feel pressured to give discounts to friends and family, or to not charge at all
As a result, many small business owners undercharge, which makes it difficult to stay in business or leads to resentment and burnout. If your goal is to become a successful entrepreneur, it’s imperative to overcome any discomfort surrounding money. And it’s equally important that you charge what your products or services are truly worth in your market!
Tip: Do you need help financing your small business idea? Learn more about Community Futures’ small business loans and download an application here.
- View challenges as opportunities
Some of the most successful businesspeople have endured the greatest hardships on the road to success. Kathryn Minshew lost $20,000 and watched her company fail before co-founding her successful business career resource, The Muse. Arianna Huffington, Co-Founder of HuffPost, was rejected by more than 30 publishers when shopping around her second book. Only years later did she create a successful news and media company.
These two entrepreneurs, among many others, didn’t let setbacks hold them back. Instead, they viewed the obstacles as opportunities to learn something new, challenge their limits, and rise to the occasion in new and novel ways. These small mental shifts make such a huge difference when taking that bold and brave entrepreneurial leap!
Ready to become a small business owner and cultivate your entrepreneurial mindset?
Be sure to connect with our knowledgeable and friendly staff at the Community Futures location nearest you!
Thinking about taking your business to the next level? Community Futures may be able to help!
Download our latest e-book, https://cfmanitoba.ca/offer-hit-or-stay">“Hit or Stay?: How to Know When to Risk It and Scale Your Small Business.”