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6 Ways to Get Yourself in the Entrepreneurial Mindset

6 Ways to Get Yourself in the Entrepreneurial Mindset

Contrary to popular belief, being an entrepreneur is not just about having that one big idea. It’s about understanding the complex relationships between established social structures and finding ways to influence them. If you are a new business owner, you need to be able to think like an entrepreneur in order to take advantage of all the opportunities that you will come across. Here, we’ve identified 6 activities that will become a critical part of your life as a member of the business elite.

1. Define Your Vision

Your vision is defined not by what you want to do, but what you want to accomplish. How are you going to impact the lives of your customers? Instead of telling yourself “I want to build the next Facebook,” try saying “I want to change the way we access information.” Notice how broad and simple it seems? Just as there are many ways to travel from one destination to the other, there will be many ways for you to work towards your vision. By having this in place, running into roadblocks won’t mean failure. It will simply be an opportunity for you to change direction and identify new ways for you to work towards your goal.

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2. Be Dynamic

From the day you establish your company to the day you retire, the business environment will be constantly changing. It is vital that you assess your clients, your competitors, and your industry on a daily basis. Are you still positioned to best meet the needs of your clients? Are there opportunities you haven’t acted on? Being able to adapt to rapidly changing priorities will keep you competitive within your industry, even when things shift. Just as you wanted to change the industry when you began to take an entrepreneurial initiative, there will be others who are looking to shake things up. Constantly assessing your competitive environment and adapting your strategy appropriately will help get you to the top and keep you there.

3. Build Relationships

Ever notice how entrepreneurs always seem to be in the know? They always seem have an insider connection with people from this company or that startup. This isn’t because there is some sort of secret entrepreneurial club you weren’t invited to, it’s because business owners are excellent at leveraging relationships.

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Building a network of likeminded people who understand both what you offer and what you need is an important resource. These are people who are able to identify and act on opportunities. People who want to make things better. People who are able to understand the way that things work. Spending the time to interact with them is an excellent opportunity to pick their brains and get yourself comfortable with the way that they think. Sometimes, all you need to do is discuss an idea with somebody who understands where you are coming from and you’ll think of a new way to approach it.

4. Establish Self-Direction

You already have the destination in mind, now it’s time to select the path. Whenever you get an opportunity to work on building your business, think back to your vision. Ask yourself what you can accomplish today that will act as a tangible step toward your goal. As an entrepreneur, it is your job to decide what to do and when to do it. Being able to make the best use of your time and finding the proper motivation to do so is an essential skill that will directly impact your success.

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5. Find Problems

When business is steady and profit margins are improving, it can be easy to get complacent. Remember that as long as you are in the driver’s seat, you should never allow yourself to go on auto-pilot. The times where everything is running smoothly are the best opportunities to dig deeper and find flaws in your business model. Problems shouldn’t be viewed as nuisances; they should be viewed as opportunities to build something better. Don’t give your competitors the chance to knock you off the top rung. While they are scrambling to play catch-up, use the time you have been gifted as a resource to optimize your business.

6. Take Risks

While the thought of implementing a tried and true business model can be comforting, these will never offer you the growth opportunity to become one of the business elite. If you are aware of the unique skills you possess, put those skills to use and take chances. Go out into uncharted territory and see what you can discover. The riskiest business ventures reap the largest rewards. While failure is an option, failing at something nobody has ever tried before can teach you things that your competitors don’t know. Failure shouldn’t be viewed as an obstacle to be avoided. It should be viewed as a segue to developing exclusive knowledge of your industry. It’s that very knowledge that will give you the competitive edge you need to succeed.

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Featured photo credit: Brian Solis via flickr.com

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Josh MacDonald

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up.

You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out. But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.

Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,

“If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.

Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star

As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.

As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.

Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.

Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:

1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups

When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”

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Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.

2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills

Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.

But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.

If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.

Check out these important listening skills: 13 Powerful Listening Skills to Improve Your Life at Work and at Home

3. Go to All Office Networking Events

Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.

If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.

Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company

Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.

The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.

Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:

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4. Show Initiative

Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.

Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.

Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.

5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors

Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.

Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.

6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn

A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.

Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.

Accelerate Your Career Growth Opportunities

A recent study found that the five predictors of employees with executive potential were: the right motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. These qualities help you stand out, but it’s also important to establish a track record of success and to not appear to be over-reaching in your drive to move up in your company.

Try to see yourself from your boss’s position and evaluate your promote-ability.

Do you display a passion and commitment toward meeting the collective goals of the company? Do you have a motivating influence with team members and show insight and excellence in all your work?

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These qualities will place you front and center when growth opportunities arise.

Use these strategic tips to escalate your opportunities for growth:

7. Find a Mentor

With mentorship programs fast disappearing, this isn’t always easy. But you need to look for someone in the company who has been promoted several times and who also cares about your progress.

Maybe it’s the person who recommended you for the job. Or maybe it’s your direct supervisor. It could even be someone across the hall or in a completely different department.

Talk to her or him about growth opportunities within your company. Maybe she or he can recommend you for a promotion.

Not sure how to find the right mentor? Here’s How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed.

8. Map out Your Own Growth Opportunity Chart

After you’ve worked at the company for a few months, work out a realistic growth chart for your own development. This should be a reasonable, practical chart — not a pie-in-the-sky wish list of demands.

What’s reasonable? Do you think being promoted within two years is reasonable? What about raises? Try to inform your own growth chart with what you’ve heard about other workers’ raises and promotions.

Once you’ve rigorously charted a realistic path for your personal development within the company, try to talk to your mentor about it.

Keep refining your chart until it seems to work with your skills and proven talents. Then, arrange a time to discuss it with your boss.

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You may want to time the discussion around the time of your performance review. Then your boss can weigh in with what he feels is reasonable, too.

9. Set Your Professional Bar High

Research shows that more than two-thirds of workers are just putting in their time. But through your active engagement in the organization and commitment to giving your best, you can provide the contrast against others giving lackluster performances.

Cultivate the hard skills that keep you on the cutting edge of your profession, while also refining your soft skills. These are the attributes that make you better at embracing diverse perspectives, engendering trust, and harnessing the power of synergy.

Even if you have an unquestionably left-brain career — a financial analyst or biotechnical engineer, for example — you’re always better off when you can form kind, courteous, quality relationships with colleagues.

Let integrity be the cornerstone of all your interactions with clients and co-workers.

The Bottom Line

Growth opportunities are available for those willing to purposely and adeptly manage their own professional growth. As the old adage says,

“Half of life is showing up.”

The other half is sticking around so that when your boss is looking for someone to take on a more significant role, you are among the first who come to mind.

Remember, your career is your business!

More About Continuous Growth

Featured photo credit: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com

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