Every serial entrepreneur has a formula for success in business. If you’re on your first venture, you might not have one yet. But since we are all about efficiency here, I’ll share the formula I discovered through my own experiences as well as those of the founders I’ve worked with so that you can start your new venture with the right mindset.
Why mindset? You might have been taught that strategy is the only thing that matters when it comes to entrepreneurship. However, my formula for success is 80% psychology and only 20% strategy. Most leaders focus on developing and implementing the right strategies, which is important. But the problem is that all the planning in the world won’t help you navigate the waters when they get turbulent. Without the right tools, the results you desire take a lot longer to achieve, and the path to get there is far more unpleasant than it needs to be.
Case in point: The first company I launched was out of practicality. I saw a need, and I created a business that met the need. Yet I remained antsy and unsatisfied. I made money, but not nearly as much as the market fit and all my analysis pointed to. My heart and mind weren’t aligned. So, I reversed my thinking with my second company. I still applied smart sales and marketing tactics, but I also nurtured a positive, growth-based entrepreneur mindset.
The difference between my ventures was amazing. Though my first company did well, my second company thrived easily and seamlessly because of who I was while creating and growing it. All my thoughts, beliefs, words, and actions were in alignment.
Is changing your mindset a simple task? Simple, yes. Easy, no. I won’t lie; shifting away from learned behavior is tough. But if you’re willing to make the change, the results will speak for themselves. Here are four tips to help you switch things up:
1. Rid yourself of negative, limiting thinking
If building a successful startup matters to you, then you need to avoid saying, “This will never work” and “We tried that before.” Remaining open to anything — including variations of what you tried in the past — is critical for growth. You are constantly evolving. If you tried something years ago, it’s not realistic to assume the results will be the same. After all, you’re in a different state than before. Your thoughts, beliefs, and words may be more aligned with your goals, and your environment, market, and target audience may be different.
As the founder of your company, you set the tone for your culture. Will you dampen everyone’s spirit or lift them to their fullest potential? Consider the language that you’re regularly using. You must approach new ideas with delight and curiosity, not instinctive skepticism. That being said, stress does happen. It’s important to respect and acknowledge all aspects of the human experience. Instead of scolding yourself for a negative thought, let it move through you quickly while acknowledging how you would like to think through the situation instead. When you resist negativity, it persists. When you let it flow, it goes.
2. Learn from everything, especially big mistakes
Want to know how to sustain a successful business? Embrace mistakes. Tell your team to embrace failure as it comes and identify what they learned from it. If you’re failing, it proves that you’re trying new things. I’m not saying you should set out to make errors. However, part of my formula for success in business involves taking calculated risks, learning quickly from what works and what doesn’t, and shifting according to the data gathered.
It’s possible that your efforts won’t pan out. Trust the process and learn from what you discover. Often, failure is just a near miss. You might be “this close” to the target. If you throw up your hands in defeat, you won’t know how close you are to a win. Dwelling in disappointment is a recipe for disaster because it brings you and everyone around you down. Aim to grow from every mistake you and your team make, and don’t beat yourself up when things don’t go as planned. Be adaptable.
3. Look for people with similar mindsets
Growing your business can be fun and exciting when surrounded by people with similar mindsets. After applying the 80-20 formula, I began looking for partners and employees to help me grow my business. I identified the roles that I believed would help my company grow, and I wrote down the characteristics I desired in those team members long before I knew who they were.
What happened next was magical: I was introduced to the right people at the right time. I was invited to events where I met the right team members and people who could introduce me to more of the right team members. Doors opened left and right, and the most incredible people came into my life to help me grow my company.
You’ll find your flow when everyone’s rowing in the same direction and is aligned with the mission and mindset of what you are building.
4. See your journey as a gift
I hear all the time from people who want to start their own businesses but keep worrying about all the what-ifs in life. The truth is, even if you were to adhere to all entrepreneur success factors, your adventure will be just that: an adventure. Things don’t go as planned, and there are a ton of unknowns. With an optimistic, growth-oriented mindset, you’ll be less likely to hold onto your stress and more likely to take aligned, efficient action. You won’t act on fear because you’ll see every experience as a gift.
I wake up each day thankful to be my own boss. Obstacles inspire creative problem-solving and offer incredible learning experiences that catapult growth. I’m not afraid. Why should I be? I know I have all the tools needed to navigate the roadblocks as they arise, and I’m confident we will find creative solutions to whatever comes our way.
Please don’t misunderstand my formula: Building a business from the ground up requires you to develop and invest in the right strategies. Just make sure that you’re not all strategy and no mentality. When you take action and use the right strategies with an aligned mindset, you’ll see incredible results. You’ll grow a lot faster and have a lot more fun doing it. You’ll be better off, and so will your startup.