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The Entrepreneurial Mindset: How to Think Like an Entrepreneur

Written by:

Victoria is a business writer with a mission to help guide new entrepreneurs through starting and running their successful businesses.

Edited by:

David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.

The Entrepreneurial Mindset: How to Think Like an Entrepreneur

So you’re developing your brilliant business idea and getting ready to launch. But what’s next?

Your first decisions as an entrepreneur can be difficult, even terrifying. You might be tempted to play it safe and lean on others for guidance, but that’s rarely the best way to run a business.

Especially for new entrepreneurs, running a business often requires a new way of thinking. We like to say that entrepreneurs are independent, creative risk-takers, but is that a style a person can suddenly embrace if they weren’t that way before?  

Lucky for you, this handy guide explains the entrepreneurial mindset and lays out how you too can start to think like an entrepreneur. 

1. Stay Confident

business man in office ready for targets

Step one is unflappable confidence. You’re the only one with the knowledge and authority to run your business, and the vision to make it happen. Being able to shake off the doubters and the criticism and  reaffirm to yourself that your venture will succeed is crucial to achieving your dream. 

If you find yourself feeling down, focus on past achievements and successes and those still to come. A positive mindset is key to enabling good ideas and attracting others’ support. 

2. Look for Improvements

businessman working with laptop and documents

The market and your competitors are always changing and adapting, which means you should be too. Keep an eye out for ways to improve your product and your efficiency. Being one step ahead of the market means that while other businesses are scrambling, you’ll be able to relax and gain ground. 

Take some time to consider problems customers and investors might have in advance and implement a solution ahead of time. Get creative and look to places you’d never considered before for inspiration!

Even if you’re unable to solve a problem right now, just having a ready answer when questioned shows you’ve given the issue careful thought and makes you seem more confident and competent.

3. Listen to Others

colleagues sit together to talk about growth development

I know, I know, we just said to be confident and not get bogged down by criticism. But there’s a big difference between hearing criticism and internalizing it, and sometimes critics give great advice. 

Pay attention to what your customers, critics, and employees say about your business, not to mention your friends and mentors. What do they like and not like? Even if you disagree, you need to know what people are saying about your business in order to respond and address their concerns. 

In the end, it’s the support of the public that will deliver success for your business. And keep in mind that ultimately you’re still the one in charge. You don’t need to listen to everybody, and every opinion. But it’s good to get a sense of people’s views. 

4. Always Consider the Money

business people meeting about investment

At the end of the day, you’re running a business. Ask yourself – does this detail matter to the business? You might want to have a product with a million features or gold plating, but from a business standpoint you have to spend money in ways most likely to deliver returns. 

While it’s good to invest time and money into development and quality, at a certain point you need to consider the diminishing returns. Avoid wasting time and money sweating small details – once your business is off the ground, you’ll have more time and money to invest in improvements. 

5. Manage Yourself

businesswoman using computer at workplace

Do you expect your employees to work 80 hours a week? If not, then you shouldn’t expect that of yourself. Just because an endless stream of tasks demand your attention doesn’t mean you have to do them all today! 

Even the most determined entrepreneurs need a break now and then to ensure their mental, physical and emotional stability and return to work focused and fresh. A smart approach is to establish a weekly schedule and a daily routine to get in the habit of managing your time. 

You might focus on sales and marketing in the morning, then pop off for lunch and a workout at the gym before returning to work on HR in the afternoon and finances and budget in the evening. Prioritize tasks and allocate your mental energy to the most important ones. 

Before you start a new task, check how complex it is and truly ask yourself if you have the energy to deal with it at the moment. To take it on the right way, you might need a bit of a break first. 

Just remember that taking a break isn’t slacking off; it’s preventative care that protects and preserves your business’ most important resource – you!

6. Be Comfortable with Risk

working with a vision of company success

Few problems have a perfect solution. And that’s okay! Every entrepreneur takes risks, whether it’s entering a new market or putting your life savings on the line. 

When faced with risk, focus on positive outcomes to calm your mind and stay focused. If there are options, examine which provide the most control or reward. Even when your choice doesn’t pan out the way you had hoped, you’ll at least walk away a little wiser and maybe choose better the next time. 

And remember that even business failure is not the end – you can always try again! As so many entrepreneurs have done. 

7. Look Forward

businessmen joint venture start up companies

Running a business brings daily small victories and defeats. It can be easy to get lost in these, so make sure to embrace a long-term view, consider the future of your business and where it’s headed. 

It helps to review your business plan. How were you planning to expand and what was the time frame? Is it still feasible? Every once in a while, ask yourself these questions to realign your business’ trajectory. As the song goes: “Check yo’self before you wreck yo’self.”

It’s wise to continue to research your industry, keeping an eye out for new technologies and potential disruptors. You may decide to protect yourself or move to capitalize on the next big market wave. 


No business is built in a day, and an entrepreneurial mindset also takes time to develop. The list above is far from comprehensive, especially since you, your business, and the market are always evolving. 

But by keeping these tips in mind, you may be able to embrace the entrepreneurial attitude relatively quickly and drive your business confidently toward success.


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The Entrepreneurial Mindset: How to Think Like an Entrepreneur