Entrepreneurs have long been instrumental in changing the way we live and work. Just think about Thomas Edison’s inventions when you switch on a light, the contribution of Henry Ford to the motor industry as you jump behind the wheel of your car, or even the way Steve Jobs transformed computers as you open your laptop.
If you aspire to join the ranks of those that initiate change, whether you want to develop a new ground-breaking business offering or simply employ a bit of lateral thinking to a problem you are mulling over, igniting your entrepreneurial spirit can help you embrace opportunities, seek solutions, and innovate.
While true visionaries tend to follow their own path to achieve what was previously deemed impossible, there are some common traits shared by those who reach for the stars, and you can cultivate those traits.
A positive mindset
“Whether you think you can or think you can’t—you’re right.”- Henry Ford
Entrepreneurship is very much a mindset. Successful entrepreneurs are possessed with a great deal of self-belief. They believe not only in themselves but also in their vision.
Thinking outside the box also comes in handy. Lateral thinking is like a muscle that can be strengthened with use. One of the best ways to flex your creative thinking is to brainstorm and let your imagination run wild. No idea is too crazy and there is no such thing as too many ideas at this stage. If something has ‘always’ been done the same way question, why? Free up your thinking and look for constructive solutions to problems.
“I have not failed; I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work” – Thomas Edison
Being successful does not mean never failing. In fact, the road to success is often littered with failures, and let’s face it, risk taking is an intrinsic part of pursuing innovation. They key is to learn each time something did not work and use the knowledge to rectify what went wrong.
That’s clearly a lot easier said than done. It can be hard to bounce back from repeated failures and to redefine failure as a lesson. Resilience will build with each obstacle you overcome if you frame failure as an opportunity to grow.
Focus on continual improvement
“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it” – Marie Cure
Creating and maintaining a focus on continual improvement will help you to build a better business, while making you stronger and more successful in all your other pursuits. The way to achieve this personal growth is to make the choice to open yourself up to new opportunities to acquire knowledge.
We are fortunate to live in an age where so much information is available at our fingertips so explore your passions and interests: read, listen to podcasts, watch videos and Ted Talks, and soak up that knowledge. Ask others if they have recommendations for you to try.
Collaboration and teamwork
“Great things in business are never done by one person, they are done by a team of people” – Steve Jobs
Speaking of asking others, one of the most powerful things you can do is to surround yourself with those who can help you, whether that’s building a high calibre team of amazing individuals or nurturing a network of people with relevant skills that you can call upon from time to time. It’s fantastic to have people you can use as a sounding board for ideas, especially when thinking creatively or strategically.
There are a lot of groups you could join including broad-based groups of like-minded businesspeople in your area to industry specific groups, who will have an appreciation of your challenges and objectives. You could even approach someone you look up to, to act as a mentor.
Knowledge of individual strengths
“You were born an original – don’t become a copy” – Coco Chanel
It’s important to note that everyone is different and brings different qualities to their endeavours. So, make sure you walk your own path: think about what you are good at, what you enjoy doing, as well as what the world needs. Your unique vision will come from developing your entrepreneurial talents.
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