The Mind of an Entrepreneur

Posted By: Rick L Hodge NACCE Blog,

Entrepreneurs view their world through a positive lens, and they develop a persistent sense that one day they will achieve success. Interestingly, the failure rate of all U.S. companies after five years is over 50 percent, and over 70 percent after 10 years, but you would not know this from the determination and drive entrepreneurs exhibit. This drive is contrary to what causes businesses to fail. Entrepreneurs have focus, motivation, passion, contained pride in their ideas, advice from the right people, valuable mentoring, innate knowledge for business, finance, operations, and marketing, and timely decision-making. 

Whether you are an ‘early riser’ or a ‘night owl,’ there are a number of attributes shared by most entrepreneurs:

  • Have drive, ambition, and commitment to their business idea
    • Entrepreneurs generally have multiple ideas they would like to launch and grow, and they must figure out how to match the puzzle pieces to their ideas. Eventually, they distill their list of business ideas down to a manageable list and they put all their motivation behind it.
  • Spot disparities and gaps, then come up with ideas to fill them
    • They see a glaring need and seek to fill it. They don’t wait for the solution to appear at their doorstep, instead they revisit the disparity frequently and act on it.
  • Challenge the way it has always been done, and opt for more, better, and different
    • They have a difficult time with satisfaction and complacency because their inner drive won’t let them stick with the status quo. They push the limits of what could be and design a way to get there
  • Learn from other’s successes and mistakes to advance their goals
    • They take advantage of networking opportunities to meet new people with fresh ideas and gain insight from those with experience. They are always listening for what works and what doesn’t.
  • Refine and perfect their ideas in becoming subject-matter experts
    • Over time entrepreneurs continually work on making their product or service better. As they get more targeted, they find ways to perfect their craft like a finely aged wine until the quality is impeccable
  • Possess a hjgh level growth mindset that looks forward, not backwards
    • The entrepreneurial mind is fixed toward the future and the projections of where their customers will be. They start with a love for their ideas but gain success with a love for their customer’s needs and wants.
  • Have intense discipline to work through problems and course correct when necessary
    • Develop discipline through past mistakes or missteps; this prepares entrepreneurs to work through greater problems they encounter. Their mindset is focused on ‘what can done’ as opposed to ‘what we can’t do.’
  • Have a natural curiosity to try new things that consumers may want
    • They tinker, revise, and reimagine solutions until they find the ‘secret sauce.’ Often, this new thing they create is a disruption to what exists because their curiosity brought them to this new discovery.
  • Exhibit persistence in balancing risk management with acceptable loss
    • Entrepreneurial minds like to take risks and are comfortable with doing so. As they gain experience, entrepreneurs temper their risk against their losses toward a manageable result.

How much of an entrepreneur’s success is based on luck and good fortune, and how much is based on a mindset to follow their dream?  Research indicates that a key factor of success in anything is centered on a willingness to observe, listen, and learn and having a leadership competency toward success. Mindset matters! The mindset of entrepreneurs helps them to stay the course to achieve success.


Rick Hodge

Dean, Academic Affairs/CTE

Los Angeles Southwest College