The Mindset of an Entrepreneur – Part 3

In the first two parts of the “Mindset of an Entrepreneur” series, I discussed why it is important for you as an athlete to consider the question of whether you are well-suited to being an entrepreneur when deciding your path for transition after your sport.

To review:

Definition of an Entrepreneur

“A person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.”

Characteristics of an Entrepreneur

  • Courage and Perseverance
  • 100% Responsibility
  • Leadership
  • A Vision and a Plan
  • The Ability to Organize

I covered the first four characteristics in Part 1 and Part 2. In this article we’ll look at the fifth characteristic – The Ability to Organize:

“Clarity affords focus.”
-Thomas Leonard

“Your first and foremost job as a leader is to take charge of your own energy and then help to orchestrate the energy of those around you.”
-Peter F. Drucker

The Ability to Organize

I tell my clients that one of the key skills of an entrepreneur is the ability to pull focus – a filmmaking term that means to take the shot from a broad view to a narrow view and vice-versa. As an entrepreneur, you must be able to easily and effortlessly make the transition from the wide view of the overall vision to the narrow view of the details, at will.

An entrepreneur must be able to think in terms of systems and methodologies. As I’ve said, you have to be more than just a player inside a system – you must embody the mindset of the owner, general manager and head coach – because you design the system.

Your organization, systems and methodologies will make or break your business, especially once it begins to grow. Systems affect all aspects of business – your company’s viability, its growth capacity and even the culture.

I’ve seen many businesses fail because they created systems that could not expand with the growth of the business, not creating systems at all, or waiting to do so until they were necessary. As a result, when it came time to delegate, they struggled with that process. These businesses either ended up not delegating things that needed to be delegated, or handing off the project without any supervision – and the new person invented their own system. On the face of it that isn’t a bad thing, unless that person never documents the system and disappears down the road, or that person does a poor job.

In most organizations, the role most associated with systems and organization is the COO (chief operating officer). Most startups combine this role with the CEO role in the beginning stages of existence. Having the necessary skills or experience creating systems and being able to bring clarity to you and your team’s thinking will be critical to your success as an entrepreneur.

When most people pull focus into the details they get lost and just dive into the work. Without analysis of if and how things work, it is difficult to scale from a very small business to a much larger business. As Michael Gerber says in The E-Myth “You have to work on your business, not just in your business.”

Without understanding the system, it is very difficult to build a team that can run that methodology efficiently, effectively and without constant micro-managing. This means you either end up doing a lot of it yourself or with inconsistent results and that can seriously damage your credibility as a company.

But what is a system with regards to business?

1. A set of detailed methods, procedures and routines created to carry out a specific activity, perform a duty, or solve a problem.
2. An organized, purposeful structure that consists of interrelated and interdependent elements (components, entities, factors, members, parts etc.). These elements continually influence one another (directly or indirectly) to maintain their activity and the existence of the system, in order to achieve the goal of the system.
Read more on the Business Dictionary.

Systems, when consciously and intentionally created, are well-documented and run with regularity create consistent results at a consistent level of quality. They reduce stress and friction because the primary decisions have already been made as they are part of the system. In addition, they create a high level of professionalism and will contribute to your brand’s trustworthiness in the marketplace.

I have found over the 18 years I’ve worked as a business coach that some people understand systems at an intuitive level while others struggle and resist what they perceive as the strictures of structure. As an entrepreneur, your success will be directly related to the effectiveness of the systems you create and the cohesion of your organization in regards to said systems.

Of all the characteristics listed in this series, I believe that creating successful systems is by far the easiest to learn. In fact, it is one of the primary things I work on with clients – bringing systemization to their business to streamline their operations and make the best use of their time, energy and money (and their teams’ time and energy – which will save them money).

So if you feel you have strength in the other four characteristics and this characteristic is weak AND you’re willing to put some time and energy into developing these skills, AND you really want to be an entrepreneur? I say GO FOR IT! And give me a call – I can help you!

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