How to Think Like an Entrepreneur

21 Jan 2022 | Biz Strategy

Penny for your thoughts? Actually, they’re worth a lot more!

Continual innovation and big-picture thinking is the hallmark of the entrepreneurial spirit and every business owner’s success. How you think about your business has a powerful impact on how you ultimately end up doing business; for better or for worse.

Zooming out to see the bigger picture is important to help you design your business as a tool to realise your goals. It’s not your teams’ concern to steer the ship in the right direction. As the captain, the navigation is up to you!

In Ten Tips to Improve Your Habits and Business we discussed the importance of identifying and disrupting behaviour patterns that are keeping us stagnant. Now, let’s shine a light on how you think, which ultimately has a profound influence on your behaviour.

Whether you think you can or think you can’t – you’re right.” – Henry Ford

What is an Entrepreneurial Mindset?

The mindset of successful entrepreneurs is different from the mindset of employees. It’s a combination of beliefs, thought processes, and ways of viewing the world that drives innovative behaviour.

You probably became a business owner because you carry the entrepreneurial spirit within you. But too often, when we get into the details of running the business, we spend less and less time thinking like entrepreneurs, and more like employees.

Here are three ways of thinking like an entrepreneur:

1) Thinking Strategically

“Strategic thinking rarely occurs spontaneously.” – Michael Porter

Strategic thinking is different from thinking reactively. It’s about your big-picture goals and long-term vision, and fuels how you work strategically. It requires you to prioritise your actions every day and filter out mundane business activities so you can think from a higher level.

When you’re thinking strategically, you’re constantly asking questions like: 

  • What’s my vision for my business one year from now? Or five?
  • What is the dream lifestyle that I’m determined to make happen?
  • What are the steps needed to get me there?
  • Who is my ally or trusted advisor to help me? Who really understands my vision?
  • What organisational planning or restructuring is needed?

2) Thinking Systemically

Systemic describes what relates to an entire system and seeing how the intersection of parts affects the whole.

Do you see your business as an interconnected web of systems, or a mesh of separate, unrelated areas? Perceiving your business and its problems through a ‘systems’ lens enables you to solve problems more efficiently. 

For example, poor sales aren’t necessarily the fault of your salespeople’s performance and their lack of effort. It may be that, instead, the company’s sales processes are haphazard, or your Management System is disorganised. Or maybe they aren’t hitting your sales goals because you haven’t communicated their targets with them, or maybe you haven’t run the numbers to ascertain whether the sales targets are actually achievable.

3) Thinking Systematically

Bringing order to chaos is an inside-out job. With your strategic and systemic thinking hats on, the systematic approach now puts the needed changes into motion.

Systematic describes having a system, method or plan, and thinking systematically allows you to see the patterns that are required to create consistent and reliable results. It’s the level of thinking that emerges once you’ve recognised the larger systemic issues, and are ready to narrow down to building the systems needed to solve them.

It’s the next step in entrepreneurial thinking. Once you’re aware of the systemic problems in your business, like the example above of poor sales, you’re ready to create the systems to solve them. Systematic thinking builds the clearly defined processes and steps needed to increase sales, or onboard new clients, or improve customer service, or increase the efficiency of and accuracy of administrative tasks.

Think Your Way to Success – On Your Terms

“We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” – Albert Einstein

Thinking like an entrepreneur drives your actions, which ultimately determines whether your business will be successful or not. By thinking differently, you get different results. By continually asking questions, such as “Why do we do it this way?” and, “How could we do it better?” you’ll get the answers.

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and kicking here at BW Miller Dean. Get in touch if you need help with taking control of your finances and succeed in your business.