Don’t have time to read? Here’s a quick but comprehensive summary of Kevin D.

Johnson’s “The Entrepreneur Mind: 100 Essential Beliefs, Characteristics, and Habits of Elite Entrepreneurs,” released on March 5, 2013. Who should read this: “Whether you are thinking of starting a business, celebrating your first year in business, or approaching ten years in business, you’ll find tremendous va lue in reading this book,” Johnson writes. In other words, any entrepreneur looking for a mentor will find helpful tips here. Elevator pitch: Entrepreneurship can be taught, and Kevin D. Johnson wants to teach it. This book includes 100 easily digestible lessons in strategy, people, finance, marketing and leadership, including lots of anecdotes from his own experience. Author: Thirty-three-year-old Kevin D. Johnson is a serial entrepreneur and the president of Johnson Media Inc., a multimillion-dollar marketing and communications company.

STRATEGY
1. Think big: Failing to reach your potential is a lesser-known, lesser-understood type of business failure. Entrepreneurs fail to think big because they are limited by their environment or their lack of expertise, or they lack the motivation or self-confidence. 2. Create new markets: Studies have shown that “blue ocean” businesses account for a disproportionate amount of the profits and revenues. 3. Work on your business, not in your business: Doing lots of operations work leads to early burnout. You should hire key employees so you can spend your time making plans for growth. 4. All risk isn’t risky: Entrepreneurs may have a tolerance for risk, but they also have the ability to make calculations and increase their chances of success. 5. Don’t waste time: The best entrepreneurs have a sense of stressful urgency. If you don’t feel this way, ask yourself why. 6. Build a company that is systems-dependent, not people-dependent: Map out all the roles in your company, from CEO to CFO, even if you’re doing most of them. That way, you can automate processes, make things more efficient, and be ready to hire. 7. Ask for help: Don’t let your ego get in the way. 8. Business comes first, family second: If it doesn’t, your business will probably fail. But if it succeeds, you can offer many benefits to your family.

10. Adopt technology early: Successful entrepreneurs like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs are often exposed to new technologies before they hit the consumer market and become early adopters. but not when it makes you stick with a bad idea for too long. Move on fast from a bad business idea: Tenacity can help entrepreneurs. 19. 20. Require criticism and disagreement in your company: Many founders make the mistake of hiring “yes-men” who think and act like they do. do regular reviews of changing markets. 16. 11. taking a break. and great entrepreneurs are the ones who can stick it out. and technologies. and outsource. 12. Adapt to change quickly: It’s harder to change when you’re doing well. intellectual property. research the competition. and develop a prototype. focus on systems rather than people (see above). Outsourcing makes sense: Your business is more likely to succeed if you outsource non-core functions. you’ll create more jobs in your community (by surviving). customers. 18. and contracts. and disconnecting from the web. Make money while doing nothing: To do that. talk to customers. even though they are harder and take longer. changing your environment. Ignorance can be bliss: Although many entrepreneurs are familiar with the industries they disrupt. Do what’s most important first: Successful entrepreneurs prioritize the important tasks. Increase your motivation and focus by working in the morning. To build change into the culture. 13. The business plan is overrated: Before writing one. try to work on your business (not in your business).9. 15. And in the long run. Fire your worst customers: They can make you lose money and waste time in the long run. 17. automate processes through technology. . A bad economy is a great opportunity: Many great companies were founded during bad times. 14. others are newcomers that come in with radical ideas. Hire a good lawyer: They can help with choosing a business entity.

34. Every company has competitors. Adopt them early. Explore new adventures for inspiration: Go outside or visit another city or state or country to solve a mental block or come up with new ideas. increase revenues. not its uniqueness. Technology is an opportunity. share updates frequently. waste resources. and make sure they are satisfied with the resolution. Have laserlike focus: Having too many products can lower quality. yields success: Focus on speed. Be a master at leveraging resources: Customers and advertisers aren’t always willing to pay cash. or huge barriers to entry. even if it’s a different product that people might otherwise spend their money on (a “substitute”) or a product with a different business model. 22. Ask for what you want: You’ll be surprised what people are willing to give. 27. They have money to spend. Find an enemy: Finding an enemy can motivate your team and “gamify” the startup process. 33. Seek partnerships for the right reasons: According to Guy Kawasaki. . or misunderstanding of what is polite get in the way. Failure doesn’t kill you. are eager to find a deal. respond quickly and calmly. and reduce costs – not generate press coverage or make up for weaknesses. An idea’s execution. and confuse customers. laziness. 28. it makes you stronger. 23. explain your plan and give a timeline. Don’t underestimate your competition: Saying you have no competitors does not attract investors. 29.21. 25. 31. 32. but they do. an unprofitable idea. learn to do creative things with the resources they offer. and will refer you to other nonprofits. and frugality. listen after apologizing. 26. not a threat: It’s hard to imagine that the newest technologies will become widespread. good partnerships accelerator cash flow. 30. 24. too small of a market. Nonprofit really means profit: Look to nonprofits as customers. No competition probably means your idea has little merit: Possible reasons include lack of demand. your team. Always follow up: Don’t let your fear of rejection. for example. Put out fires quickly: For customer complaints.

You have a sidekick: Working with someone else can increase productivity by more than double. and services like Regus can provide the facade of an office (like a secretary and address) without the real thing. EDUCATION 36. What you wear isn’t what you’re worth: Dress comfortably. 46. 42. and learn from them. You don’t always have to be the smartest one in the room: The best CEOs are humble and know how to bring together smart people. Try to set some boundaries. School is not necessarily education: College has pros and cons. and Asperger’s than the general population. but a good team is: Office space can actually decrease productivity because of commuting. . manage expectations: Setting expectations for things like deadlines will make people fall into line. 47. Have an exit strategy: It will help you make decisions along the way and recognize opportunities to exit. 41. Spend the majority of your time with people smarter than you: You will pick up their habits and thoughts. but respectably – the right people won’t care. but that doesn’t mean that friends and family should take advantage of that. rather than you having to manage them at each step. Don’t let people abuse your flexibility: Entrepreneurs have flexible work hours. 45. Office space is not a priority. 39. 44. Don’t manage people. PEOPLE 38. ADD. 37.35. You are odd. and it’s okay: Entrepreneurs have higher levels of dyslexia. You’re in no rush to get an MBA: Getting an MBA while running a business will just detract from the business. 40. 43. and they may even work harder than paid employees. People don’t only work for money: Good employees will accept payment other than money. Talent trumps seniority. but what’s clear is that entrepreneurs have to keep learning (whether in school or not).

Hiring a professional accountant is money well spent: In the end. deals can fall through. 53. 50. Get the right mentor: Choose one who has achieved the success that you want. Focus on building revenue: Investors care about sales and revenue. 59. you may owe more than you can pay at the end of the year. don’t assume you’ve been paid until the money is in the bank. 61. Manage debt well. and you’ll be prepared should an economic downtu rn hit. and most businesses fail due to undercapitalization. Fire unproductive people: Know what you’re looking for. they save you time and money overall. and be sure to constantly evaluate the team and seek out top talent. 60. 54.48. Prepayment is king. Pay taxes quarterly: Otherwise. FINANCE 51. Avoid negative cash flow: It’s possible to have negative cash flow over a month (for example) even if your company is profitable overall. 55. But it might take money to make lots of money quickly. Keep track of this so you can pay all your bills. You don’t need money to make money: You can obtain lots of resources for free. Make your payment terms clear and set up a timeline for getting paid as early as possible. Borrow money from a bank before you need it: You’re more likely to get a loan when you don’t need it. 58. 52. The biggest investment in your company is yours: People are more likely to invest when you have invested your own money (or at least time) into the business. and money can exacerbate your problems if the business isn’t sound already. Choose your spouse wisely: Marry someone who understands you. and is able to answer questions fairly quickly. disregard standard payment terms: Build trust with customers to get them to pre-pay for products or services. There’s a downside to having investors: Investors aren’t easy to find. 49. don’t make rash hiring decisions. Most entrepreneurs don’t raise funding. . 57. more broadly. 56. A check in hand means nothing: Take questionable checks to the bank to verify funds and.

67. Don’t waste time on people who can’t say yes: When trying to make a sale. Tell everyone about your business: You miss out on opportunities when you keep quiet due to fear. You have sales before you have a business: That’s the sign of a promising idea – when money paid to your business forces you to form a corporation. Receive the maximum value for your products or services: Pick a price and stick to it. to make decisions. 73. 69. Use different banks to minimize risk: If your business and personal accounts are at the same bank. 66. and it will ultimately be more beneficial to everyone. based on that. . 70. and the call will quickly “warm up. MARKETING AND SALES 64. open-ended questions are more likely to create a dialogue and get at the root of the matter. 65. or a mistaken sense of politeness. equivalent to a business’s credit score. whether you want to be or not: It’s important to focus on sales early because you might be building something people don’t want. shyness. and making revenue is the whole point of the company.” 71. or be pressured to pay off business debts with personal finances. You may see business debt affecting your personal credit report.62. Customers may say no. Your customer is your boss: Ignoring customers’ needs or building in features they don’t want leads to failure. Know your PAYDEX score: Partners may use the PAYDEX score. they are linked by your Social Security number. 68. You aren’t always the best person to close a deal: People don’t always make decisions based on logic. 63. Ask the right questions: When talking to partners or customers. There’s no such thing as a cold call: Do research on prospects and their history. choose the right person to represent your company. Study your potential customers and. so the same pitch from different people can have different results. 72. but they will respect you. You’re in sales. Networking isn’t all about you: Ask how you can help the other person. and eventually they will pay. ask your contact who will be responsible for making the final decision and target that person.

like having a client deal with your assistant. Don’t hold grudges: Customers or investors who say no may have the opportunity to say yes in the future. don’t alienate them with anger or disrespect. Being successful is not the goal: Entrepreneurs should be motivated by creating a valuable product for customers. they misunderstand delegating. You’re disappointed when Friday arrives: Fridays are less productive for your team. 80. 78. You have unbelievable endurance: Endurance is the most important trait for entrepreneurs. and the rest of the world is available to respond to them and move things along. sends the wrong signal. 75. 81. You are excited when Monday morning arrives: Entrepreneurs love Mondays because they get a fresh start with work. MOTIVATION 84.74. Be a maverick: Lots of successful entrepreneurs were rebellious. 82. But entrepreneurs often do it because they believe that’s what CEOs do. Be prepared to lose it all: Despite the media hype. The feeling of success is fleeting after each accomplishment. 85. Make difficult sacrifices: The best entrepreneurs are willing to make extreme sacrifices that go beyond just eating ramen. 79. LEADERSHIP 77. their ego is inflated. Act in spite of how you feel: Don’t let your emotions or fatigue let you miss out on valuable opportunities. Build your network creatively: Be proactive and creative. 83. not success itself. Don’t patronize customers: Patronizing. and find the right environment (not necessarily a standard networking event). Make your dreams come true. 76. 86. . this is what happens to many entrepreneurs. and you can’t really get back to work until Monday. meet the right people. you have to pay everyone. Push beyond your fear: Let your goals propel you. or they want the company to appear larger than it is.

and that is the fear of failing to the point where they need a “real job. You’re an entrepreneur forever: Once you know the life of the entrepreneur. literally: Research your family history to see if you have any entrepreneurial ancestors – it might give you a little extra inspiration. You cry when things don’t go your way: Steve Jobs did. they may not understand what drives you or the risks involved. 100. You sometimes get more resentment than respect: People are often jealous or can’t really understand what you do. 89. GRADE: A- . 93. 96.87. It’s not about being your own boss: People who don’t want a boss may not have the discipline that entrepreneurship requires. But the media tends to focus on young tech entrepreneurs. 98. but a visionary. 99. as well. 95. You have the right motivation: The best entrepreneurs are motivated by the desire to solve a problem and create a great product. it’s okay for you to. Other entrepreneurs are motivated by the desire to avoid a regular job. or just make a living. 92. 91. Entrepreneurship is in your blood. It’s never too late to be an entrepreneur: In fact. there are other reasons for starting a business. And entrepreneurship is not about being a manager (as the term “boss” implies). older people are starting more businesses than those in their teens and twenties. Following your passion is bogus: Not all passions can be monetized. You feel unequaled joy when your idea becomes reality.” 88. You know your worth: Entrepreneurs are willing to leave jobs or say no to deals that undervalue them or their companies. You love your life: Controlling your own destiny is what makes entrepreneurs love their lives. 97. through good or bad times. 94. Your parents want you to get a real job with benefits: Be patient with them. and businesses actually come with lots of drudgery. A 9-to-5 is worse than death: Entrepreneurs do have fear. 90. You can’t keep a job: Entrepreneurs tend to leave jobs or get fired. you can never forget it.

Some lessons are familiar.As mentioned above. and he gives us the sense that we can. too. family second” rule. The only part that readers may tire of is Johnson’s extensive personal anecdotes. including several (partly justified but nonetheless surprising) comparisons of himself to Mark Zuckerberg. Yet this personal touch is at times inspiring: Johnson has obviously achieved fulfilling success. this book is easily digestible. . and some are less common – like the controversial “business comes first.