I say it all the time – “The barriers to entry have never been lower for starting a business.” What I mean by this is that the tools and resources for starting a business have never been more available and the deterrents or hurdles to starting a business have never been fewer for anyone who hopes, dreams, and wishes to run their own company.
It’s beautiful, really. With so much opportunity around every corner, more and more people are taking the leap into business ownership, whether with the dream of earning a full-time income or just running something on the side.
Easier to start doesn’t mean easier to run
Even though it’s becoming easier and easier to start a business, that doesn’t mean it’s getting easier to run a business, especially a profitable one.
In the beginning, it’s hard to know what you don’t know. Clients often tell me they feel like they’re faking it or they feel blindfolded about the process. There’s a great deal of confusion and unknown until you’re able to build up some momentum because you’re paving a path that’s never before been paved.
When you start a business, you’re creating something with your mind that never existed before so there’s no roadmap on exactly which steps to follow.
The best thing you can do is sharpen your decision making by better understanding what has worked successfully for others.
5 Ways To Improve Your Entrepreneur Mindset & Become Better at Business
That’s why I wanted to outline 5 Ways to Improve Your Entrepreneur Mindset & Become Better at Business with the following insight that will help you build confidence and build a successful business.
#1 Join a Mastermind
There are so many insanely positive (and lucrative) reasons to join a mastermind. In fact, I listed them all in 15 Ways a Mastermind Can Help You Level Up, so I won’t reiterate all 15 ways within this post, but I will name the five ways joining a mastermind has impacted my success and profitability:
A mastermind can help plant seeds for future revenue streams
The beautiful thing about business is the way it evolves. Rallying around your success by committing to a mastermind opens you up to entrepreneurs who are forging territory in stages of business you have yet to discover.
Skip or shorten the learning curve
In entrepreneurship, mistakes can be costly in time or money. When you team up with others who have experience crushing challenges, you gain insight on how they handled the challenge and can apply that valuable knowledge to your own execution and skip many of the hard lessons learned.
Expert insight about an unfamiliar expertise
When you bring committed, motivated, and goal-chasing powerhouses together in one space, a beautiful synergy happens. Conversation begins to flow, experiences are shared, and a whole new world of possibilities begin to emerge.
People who are professionally mature enough to realize the benefits of a mastermind and commit to it regularly typically have set themselves apart from average in their profession.
Community of Support
Entrepreneurship can get lonely. Even though I’m as Type A and Introverted as they come, still I need connections with other people on a regular basis for my business to thrive.
When you’re building your business, your spouse or bestie can get burned out of hearing about the challenges pretty quickly. A mastermind community serves as an actionable outlet for discussing (and geeking out) over all-things business.
To read the full article, click 15 Ways a Mastermind Can Help you Level Up as an Entrepreneur.
#2 Find a Mentor
One beautiful thing about life is that people who have found success typically want to help others find it too. Seeking guidance from a mentor can impact your success substantially. Not only are these people typically well connected, they’ve also made mistakes they can pass along to you to help identify roadblocks and dead ends up ahead.
When I asked Doris to be my mentor, she agreed only on the terms that I’d give my business five years. I committed. We make time for each other regularly and the advice, connections, and confidence she has passed along to me have been invaluable.
#3 Lean into Community
In the same way that a mastermind community can be beneficial, leaning into the entrepreneurial community in your ecosystem can be vital to thriving. I’m very encouraging of entrepreneurs even who run an ecommerce business online and not necessarily need to establish relationships the way service-focused business do to find local groups to be part of.
Success in business is about so much more than financial statements, ROI, and, year over year growth. Your effectiveness very much hinges on your ability to develop community inside and outside your organization.
I’ve grown my business to drive more work than I can handle, but I got to that point by focusing on people. When I was in a position to prospect and drum up business, I would commit to attending minimally four in-person events per month – that’s an average of one per week.
The three-month rule of prospecting
Remember the 3-month rule in business. It takes about three months after you start networking for the leads to begin and it takes about three months after you stop networking consistently for the leads to fall off. This means that the time to focus on networking and prospecting is when you’re busy.
Networking and building community seems like such a daunting task to some, but I strongly recommend this to all of my clients because being in community builds familiarity and trust in a way that text alone, through an email, blog post, or social media post, simply cannot.
Business runs on relationships, so when you commit to becoming better at relationships, you become better at business.
Here are communities I play a significant role in at the time this post is published
- Lipstick and Lattes – a once-monthly gathering of women in business in Central Illinois for actionable conversation to talk about pushing through business challenges.
- Coffee Chats – A once-weekly remote 30-minute conversation focused and concentrated around some kind of business topic with actionable to-dos for getting better at it.
- Mastermind participation – a once-monthly gathering of seven people interested in business to sharpen one another, work through challenges, and support each other’s dreams and goals. A mastermind opportunity open to small business owners all over the country seeking to be sharpened, get better at business, and be held accountable. If you’re interested in joining a mastermind community to propel your own success, click the more info button below.
#4 Speak on Your Topic of Expertise
Stepping out with a willingness to teach others what you know can have a profound impact on your success at business for three primary reasons.
It sets you apart because so few people are willing to do it
First, public speaking is scary. It’s estimated that 75% of the public deals with a fear of public speaking to some degree. When you’re willing to speak in front of a group, you automatically separate yourself from the vast majority of people, even other goal crushing entrepreneurs.
Being bold enough to present on your topic of expertise is insanely valuable for helping cut through the noise and share your message with others who could be a good fit to become customers.
It positions you as the authority on a topic
Second, public speaking positions you as the authority. You LEVEL UP when you’re bold enough to go in front of a group, however small, and speak on a topic.
It’s your chance to show what you know because people assume that if you’re speaking on a focused topic, you’re likely to have much more knowledge about that topic and more.
Know your topic well enough to teach it to others
Third, forcing yourself to know a subject well enough to articulate it to others helps you dive that much deeper into a topic. You can and should perform solid research to be able to present a well rounded perspective to an audience who is learning from you.
So yes, public speaking is scary. Commit to it. Prepare well. Then practice, turn the pump up jams on, and go out and crush it!
#5 Learn to speak the language of business
I have to check myself regularly because I’m so in love with running my business that I often wonder why EVERYONE doesn’t run a business. The reality is, it’s NOT for everyone. It takes a whole lot of hard work, delayed gratification, sacrifice, and heart.
In addition, entrepreneurship runs in my blood. I’ve known since I was 8 years old that I wanted to run my own business and now I wake up each morning knowing with every bone in my body that I’m doing what I was put on Earth to do.
But for some, it’s not always that clear. Simply put, I’m not everyone and everyone is not me. Working a 9-5 really is the better option for some people.
Straight out of a four-year degree in Communication, I entered a difficult MBA program. MBA stands for masters of business administration. I’m not naturally book smart, but I’ll outwork anyone. I knew how to excel at education because I was willing to put the hard work in and do what it took to get the grades.
Even still, the MBA program royally kicked my butt. I crawled through that program and I’m not afraid to admit it. I’ve never worked harder than I did those two years but I left with a much more realistic perspective about business, the beginning of business acumen, and the confidence that if I could endure that, I could do anything.
Articulate a business conversation
Most importantly, I left knowing how to speak the language of business. I understood how the operations side, the financial side, the management side, the economics, negotiations, and business ethics all tied together.
I could speak to businesses from the perspective of contributing to their bottom line. I could analyze my contribution from the standpoint of driving a return on investment. I understood the critical role that economics played in decision-making.
These aren’t concepts you need a master’s degree to learn and they add so much value to your conceptualization of your business and the role you play in others’ businesses.
Business concepts you need to know
Below you’ll find several business concepts you should know in relation to your business and be able to talk through in conversations with outsiders. A brief definition has been included to empower you to take a deeper dive with your own research.
Accounts Payable – Money owed by a company to its creditors.
- Accounts Receivable – Money owed to a company by its debtors.
- Asset – Anything of value that can be converted into cash.
Balance Sheet – One of three primary financial statements; provides a “snapshot” of a company’s net worth at any given time.
Bootstrapping – a term describing starting a business without loans or investments and only savings and cash from initial sales.
Return on Investment (ROI) – A ratio reflecting to what extent an investment paid off. ROI is used to compare the efficiency of an investment or to compare two or more investments.
Cash Flow – the total amount of money being transferred into and out of a business. Side note: lack of cash flow is one of the top reasons why businesses fail.
Cost of Goods Sold – Refers to the cost of materials and labor required to produce a product.
Gross Revenue – Income from a sale without subtracting expenditures from any source.
Income Statement – One of three primary financial statements that shows a company’s profit and loss.
Liquidity – a term that describes how quickly an asset can be turned into cash.
Net Revenue – Income minus the cost of goods sold.
Opportunity Cost – alternative options that are given up when a choice is made.
Principles of negotiation – Truly negotiation is an art. I’ve studied negotiation from many sources so I’ll recommend my favorite negotiation book, Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss and list a few actionable takeaways below:
- Don’t negotiate through email. Negotiate in person or over the phone.
- Don’t be the first to throw out a number. Allow the other party to name their price first.
- Figure out your counterpart’s motivation aside from money.
- Never negotiate more work for the same price. If your counterpart wants a lower price, remove something from the deal.
- Profit – The difference between the amount earned and the amount spent in operating a business.
- Profit and Loss Statement – One of the three most important financial statements in a company which summarizes a business’s revenues, costs, and expenses, and which ultimately reflects a business’s ability or inability to generate profit.
- Target market– A group of potential customers to whom a company wants to sell to. Learn more about building the foundation of your marketing strategy.
And please do me a little favor and share this post with one other person because there’s a good chance it will help them with their business.
Your business matters. Now go do something awesome in the world.