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The Entrepreneur Mind

“100 Essential Beliefs, Characteristics, and Habits of Elite Entrepreneurs”
Summery Points:
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.
9. Do what’s most important first: Successful entrepreneurs prioritize the important tasks,
even though they are harder and take longer. Increase your motivation and focus by
working in the morning, taking a break, changing your environment, and disconnecting
from the web.
10. Hire a good lawyer: They can help with choosing a business entity, intellectual
property, and contracts.
11. The business plan is overrated: Before writing one, research the competition, talk to
customers, and develop a prototype.
12. Require criticism and disagreement in your company: Many founders make the
mistake of hiring “yes-men” who think and act like they do.

and confuse customers. and technologies. or misunderstanding of what is polite get in the way. and will refer you to other nonprofits. you’ll create more jobs in your community (by surviving). focus on systems rather than people (see above). A bad economy is a great opportunity: Many great companies were founded during bad times. 18. Adapt to change quickly: It’s harder to change when you’re doing well. 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. try to work on your business (not in your business).13. 20. 22. 21. Ignorance can be bliss: Although many entrepreneurs are familiar with the industries they disrupt. waste resources. 24. but not when it makes you stick with a bad idea for too long. 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. They have money to spend. Outsourcing makes sense: Your business is more likely to succeed if you outsource non-core functions. laziness. Nonprofit really means profit: Look to nonprofits as customers. 23. not a threat: It’s hard to imagine that the newest technologies will become widespread. Failure doesn’t kill you. and great entrepreneurs are the ones who can stick it out. automate processes through technology. 15. 17. Move on fast from a bad business idea: Tenacity can help entrepreneurs. do regular reviews of changing markets. Have laserlike focus: Having too many products can lower quality. 27. 26. 19. it makes you stronger. are eager to find a deal. Always follow up: Don’t let your fear of rejection. Seek partnerships for the right reasons: According to Guy Kawasaki. 16. And in the long run. Fire your worst customers: They can make you lose money and waste time in the long run. To build change into the culture. but they do. Technology is an opportunity. 14. 25. and outsource. others are newcomers that come in with radical ideas. Adopt them early. customers. good . Make money while doing nothing: To do that.

and frugality. 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. Education 36. for example. Spend the majority of your time with people smarter than you: You will pick up their habits and thoughts. School is not necessarily education: College has pros and cons. too small of a market. and reduce costs – not generate press coverage or make up for weaknesses. 34. 37. yields success: Focus on speed. Every company has competitors. 28. but a good team is: Office space can actually decrease productivity because of commuting. . and make sure they are satisfied with the resolution.partnerships accelerator cash flow. and services like Regus can provide the facade of an office (like a secretary and address) without the real thing. 31. respond quickly and calmly. 39. Have an exit strategy: It will help you make decisions along the way and recognize opportunities to exit. No competition probably means your idea has little merit: Possible reasons include lack of demand. share updates frequently. 33. Don’t underestimate your competition: Saying you have no competitors does not attract investors. increase revenues. People 38. but respectably – the right people won’t care. 32. Ask for what you want: You’ll be surprised what people are willing to give. not its uniqueness. What you wear isn’t what you’re worth: Dress comfortably. Find an enemy: Finding an enemy can motivate your team and “gamify” the startup process. Be a master at leveraging resources: Customers and advertisers aren’t always willing to pay cash. You’re in no rush to get an MBA: Getting an MBA while running a business will just detract from the business. explain your plan and give a timeline. An idea’s execution. learn to do creative things with the resources they offer. Office space is not a priority. 40. 30. 29. an unprofitable idea. but what’s clear is that entrepreneurs have to keep learning (whether in school or not). your team. or huge barriers to entry. and learn from them. 35. Put out fires quickly: For customer complaints. listen after apologizing.

48. don’t assume you’ve been paid until the money is in the bank. You have a sidekick: Working with someone else can increase productivity by more than double. Get the right mentor: Choose one who has achieved the success that you want. People don’t only work for money: Good employees will accept payment other than money. Pay taxes quarterly: Otherwise. 46. 44. Keep track of this so you can pay all your bills. 53. and they may even work harder than paid employees. 47. more broadly. 45. Borrow money from a bank before you need it: You’re more likely to get a loan when . 50. Try to set some boundaries. 43. 55. 42. Fire unproductive people: Know what you’re looking for. don’t make rash hiring decisions. and is able to answer questions fairly quickly. Avoid negative cash flow: It’s possible to have negative cash flow over a month (for example) even if your company is profitable overall. but that doesn’t mean that friends and family should take advantage of that. Finance 51. and be sure to constantly evaluate the team and seek out top talent. ADD. 49. Don’t let people abuse your flexibility: Entrepreneurs have flexible work hours. Don’t manage people. manage expectations: Setting expectations for things like deadlines will make people fall into line. Talent trumps seniority. rather than you having to manage them at each step. You don’t need money to make money: You can obtain lots of resources for free. and it’s okay: Entrepreneurs have higher levels of dyslexia. 52. and Asperger’s than the general population. you may owe more than you can pay at the end of the year. 54. 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. Choose your spouse wisely: Marry someone who understands you. But it might take money to make lots of money quickly.41. A check in hand means nothing: Take questionable checks to the bank to verify funds and. You are odd.

63. so the same pitch from different people can have different results. 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. 62. and it will ultimately be more beneficial to don’t need it. they are linked by your Social Security number. . Manage debt well. and making revenue is the whole point of the company. based on that. disregard standard payment terms: Build trust with customers to get them to pre-pay for products or services. Prepayment is king. 66. Your customer is your boss: Ignoring customers’ needs or building in features they don’t want leads to failure. to make decisions. 59. choose the right person to represent your company. 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. You aren’t always the best person to close a deal: People don’t always make decisions based on logic. 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. or be pressured to pay off business debts with personal finances. 56. 60. 57. You’re in sales. Networking isn’t all about you: Ask how you can help the other person. Most entrepreneurs don’t raise funding. 61. Use different banks to minimize risk: If your business and personal accounts are at the same bank. and you’ll be prepared should an economic downturn hit. Make your payment terms clear and set up a timeline for getting paid as early as possible. There’s a downside to having investors: Investors aren’t easy to find. You may see business debt affecting your personal credit report. 67. they save you time and money overall. 65. Focus on building revenue: Investors care about sales and revenue. 58. and money can exacerbate your problems if the business isn’t sound already. Know your PAYDEX score: Partners may use the PAYDEX score. Marketing and Sales 64. deals can fall through. and most businesses fail due to undercapitalization. Hiring a professional accountant is money well spent: In the end. Study your potential customers and. 68.

Don’t patronize customers: Patronizing. Make your dreams come true. and the call will quickly “warm up. ask your contact who will be responsible for making the final decision and target that person. 82. Push beyond your fear: Let your goals propel you. Don’t hold grudges: Customers or investors who say no may have the opportunity to say yes in the future. 80. and eventually they will pay. 70. Leadership 77. Act in spite of how you feel: Don’t let your emotions or fatigue let you miss out on valuable opportunities. 78. Don’t waste time on people who can’t say yes: When trying to make a sale. 79. 83. 74. You have unbelievable endurance: Endurance is the most important trait for entrepreneurs. and find the right environment (not necessarily a standard networking event). 72.” 71. 76. Motivation . shyness. Be a maverick: Lots of successful entrepreneurs were rebellious. Make difficult sacrifices: The best entrepreneurs are willing to make extreme sacrifices that go beyond just eating ramen. meet the right people. Be prepared to lose it all: Despite the media hype. don’t alienate them with anger or disrespect. 81. open-ended questions are more likely to create a dialogue and get at the root of the matter. Receive the maximum value for your products or services: Pick a price and stick to it. 75. their ego is inflated. or they want the company to appear larger than it is. they misunderstand delegating. There’s no such thing as a cold call: Do research on prospects and their history.69. but they will respect you. Tell everyone about your business: You miss out on opportunities when you keep quiet due to fear. sends the wrong signal. Build your network creatively: Be proactive and creative. But entrepreneurs often do it because they believe that’s what CEOs do. 73. or a mistaken sense of politeness. Ask the right questions: When talking to partners or customers. like having a client deal with your assistant. Customers may say no. this is what happens to many entrepreneurs.

95. you have to pay everyone. You are excited when Monday morning arrives: Entrepreneurs love Mondays because they get a fresh start with work. 96. But the media tends to focus on young tech entrepreneurs. but a visionary. 91. You cry when things don’t go your way: Steve Jobs did. 97. A 9-to-5 is worse than death: Entrepreneurs do have fear. You feel unequaled joy when your idea becomes reality. literally: Research your family history to see if you have any entrepreneurial ancestors – it might give you a little extra inspiration. and the rest of the world is available to respond to them and move things along. 90. You know your worth: Entrepreneurs are willing to leave jobs or say no to deals that undervalue them or their companies.” 88. 94. You can’t keep a job: Entrepreneurs tend to leave jobs or get fired. and that is the fear of failing to the point where they need a “real job. Your parents want you to get a real job with benefits: Be patient with them. It’s never too late to be an entrepreneur: In fact. You’re disappointed when Friday arrives: Fridays are less productive for your team. they may not understand what drives you or the risks involved. it’s okay for you to. Following your passion is bogus: Not all passions can be monetized. You have the right motivation: The best entrepreneurs are motivated by the desire to solve a problem and create a great product. as well. and businesses actually come with lots of drudgery. 98. 93. It’s not about being your own boss: People who don’t want a boss may not have the discipline that entrepreneurship requires. older people are starting more businesses than those in their teens and twenties. not success itself. there are other reasons for starting a business. Other entrepreneurs are motivated by the . Being successful is not the goal: Entrepreneurs should be motivated by creating a valuable product for customers. 92.84. The feeling of success is fleeting after each accomplishment. You sometimes get more resentment than respect: People are often jealous or can’t really understand what you do. 87. 89. Entrepreneurship is in your blood. 86. 85. And entrepreneurship is not about being a manager (as the term “boss” implies). and you can’t really get back to work until Monday.

you can never forget it. .desire to avoid a regular job. through good or bad times. 100. or just make a living. You’re an entrepreneur forever: Once you know the life of the entrepreneur. You love your life: Controlling your own destiny is what makes entrepreneurs love their lives. 99.