It’s often said that entrepreneurs think differently, and yet many people who try to emulate them wind up focusing on the superficial aspects – the lifestyle, perhaps, or a flamboyant personality. The real value, however, lies in learning how to think and operate like an entrepreneur; these lessons can help anyone to succeed even if they aren’t venturing into business.
Playing it safe while taking risks
If you’ve ever worked as part of the rank-and-file in a large, established company, you may have experienced that rules and processes can be upheld to an almost sacred degree of reverence. There’s a logical motive driving this; businesses thrive on efficiency. The slightest mistake when installing cartridge heaters or handling sensitive consumer data can have costly consequences. Yet while the companies they found are often averse to the slightest deviation from established procedures, many entrepreneurs are inherent risk-takers; they may be closer to the profile of someone who throws away the manual to tinker with something new.
The key to turning this penchant for risk into a factor that drives success is an element of strategy. Successful entrepreneurs aren’t overly intrepid; they can make bold moves, but the risks are well-calculated. Small risks with a large potential upside can work out if you don’t bet the farm and suffer significant consequences. This can apply to decisions such as changing careers or switching companies – if there’s a big risk involved, you could try out a short part-time contract and get a feel for the new environment, without immediately quitting your day job.
Leading and listening to others
Many people look up to successful business leaders in the same way as they do with athletes or celebrities; there can be an element of distance or awe involved when perceiving someone as having forged their path without heeding the doubters. That’s why it may often come as a surprise to know that good entrepreneurs tend to be great listeners; Richard Branson even cited listening as an essential skill for successful leaders.
Listening helps leaders to motivate people and build good relationships. It’s also a quality that opens up channels of communication and valuable advice. Dismissing someone’s ideas as unimportant without hearing them out first is a certain way to alienate them in a relationship. By contrast, if you are receptive to what other people have to say, you may find gems of insight that you can apply and learn from. Advice is free, and you never know what skills or expertise others bring to the table; listening is how entrepreneurs manage to learn continuously.
Dream big, work on the details
As the famous quote by Thomas Edison goes, “genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” You’ve undoubtedly heard it, but entrepreneurs have internalized its essence even before Edison’s time. Everyone can come up with great ideas in the shower, or on the train, but who acts upon those moments of inspiration? Most people can be frustrated because their vision seems out of reach, even with hard work. Entrepreneurs understand you can’t leap towards success or take shortcuts; they analyze backward to flesh out the necessary steps and work on all the details until the goal is gradually achieved.
Even if you don’t see yourself as a born entrepreneur, many of their essential qualities are a matter of mindset. Learn to develop these traits, and you can similarly drive success in your endeavors.