The Entrepreneurial Mindset: 8 Rules when you are “On-Again”

One of the coolest things about having a blog is that you can backtrack from your referral logs to see how people found you, and learn what phrase they may have typed into a search box which ended up pointing them your way.

This afternoon I clicked back to the results for “entrepreneurial mindset” that brought a reader to me via a Lycos search, and I found a book review at for a new book called businessThink.

The review first gives the sobering statistics about failed small businesses in the U.S. to illustrate the need for a book like this on better “business think.”

“The core of the book is the 8 rules the authors propose to help cultivate in you a fundamentally new way of thinking, communicating and business decision-making. The authors present these rules to create a framework for cultivating this different thought process, giving you skills for thinking through decisions and day-to-day issues that your business faces.”

When I first read them through I thought they were pretty basic, but then I read them a second time reflecting back on coaching scenarios I do talk to entrepreneurs about fairly often. Just because they are business basics does not necessarily mean they are internalized in every business, and it’s good to read reminders like this occasionally so you take some time to ask yourself, Is this what I’m doing?

So the review is worth a look. In short form, these are the 8 Rules:

1. Check your ego at the door.
2. Create curiosity.
3. Move off the solution.
4. Get evidence.
5. Calculate the impact.
6. Explore the ripple effect.
7. Slow down for yellow lights.
8. Find the cause.

Read a bit more about each of these here.

In particular, I liked this about solutions:

“Remember, a solution is worthless unless and until it creates business value, prevents a problem or invents a new result the business needs. Otherwise, a solution is merely an event.”

This is just a book review, and I would imagine authors Dave Marcum, Steve Smith, and Mahan Khalsa of businessThink probe each of these eight things much more deeply, however I would throw out one caveat to small business owners before they take all of these to any extreme: Don’t be so overly cautious and study everything to death to the point that it slows you down. The innovative trend-setting entrepreneurs move quickly.

The most successful business owners today will learn these eight things (and more), but in the end they’ll trust their instincts and are brave enough to go for it. What they do is LEARN – TRY – TEST – MEASURE – LEARN MORE – TRY AGAIN, or as a friend of mine likes to say, “All day long I Rinse and Repeat.”

In case you’re wondering, my article on The Entrepreneurial Mindset was about something a bit different: I didn’t define it as the authors of businessThink have attempted to.

At the time of that writing I had been encouraged and very energized by the realization a young group of students studying entrepreneurship are coming away with, and that is this: Everyone in business today needs to have an entrepreneurial mindset, whether they actually think of themselves as entrepreneurs or not. You can read more of what I wrote here.

Another twist to this topic of entrepreneurship: Anita Campbell posted this observation at Small Business Trends two days ago:
The On-Again Off-Again Entrepreneur.

Things have sure changed, for this phenomenon that Anita is writing about is something I actually find myself recommending to people more and more often, including my own daughter.

“A trend I am seeing increasingly is what I dub the “on-again off-again entrepreneur.”

The on-again off-again entrepreneur is someone who moves back and forth between being employed and owning his or her own business — multiple times.

It’s not an either/or question: either being an entrepreneur your whole life, or being employed your whole life. More frequently these days, people are doing both at various times, moving in and out of entrepreneurship as the exigencies of earning a living force their hands.” Read the rest of Anita’s article here.

It’s a fascinating topic, and I was happy to read Anita say she intends to write more about it.

If you have more ideas on what the entrepreneurial mindset can be defined as in today’s market, I’d really love to hear them. Please do share your thoughts with us here ” let’s talk story about this.



  1. says

    Ploughing on without thinking is disastrous. But it doesn’t pay to overthink things, either. Or should that be overbusinessThink things?
    In fact the Cynefin model demonstrates that conventional planning only works when cause and effect are discernable in advance. If the problem is complex, cause and effect are not discernible until after some action is taken. It’s almost as if you have to be doing something before you can start really thinking about it.
    For most businesses, “Do. Learn. Adapt. Repeat.” really is a far better model than “Think. Plan. Do.”

  2. says

    Irony. I just used the term “fiercely entreprenurial” to describe my two daughters yesterday. This post Rosa, has caused me to delve into the subteranean depths of my noodle to figure out just what I meant.
    Here it is: Their minds run independent of the shackles of corporate-like conformity. Their minds are not bound by the gravity of corporate-like status quo. They continue to stretch the reality of hierarchial order and limitations until they get more of what they want. They learn and push, learn and push. One day they will shatter the Man’s boundaries and at that time their new-found boundaries will only be the ones within their minds.
    I can tell you right now, this attitude frustrates Vickie’s (24yr old) corporate bosses. Her quest for right irritates them.
    As a manager, there is practically nothing more thrilling than to work with an entreprenurial-minded associate.

  3. says

    Good words Adrian, and thank you for pointing us to the Cynefin model: what they have written on their home page reminds me of the Hawaiian Hospitality Institute’s Ho‘okipa model which puts so much emphasis on “sense of place.” Fascinating for me as you can imagine, with my insistence that the MWA business values ARE universal.
    Ho‘ohana Community, “cynefin” is a Welsh word – click in and find out what it means ”
    Dave, your daughters are awesome, good for them!
    I wonder where they get that from?

  4. says

    Line Up The Ducks

    If you think I’m deeply admiring Rosa Say of Say Leadership Coaching and her blog, Talking Story, you’re absolutely right. There’s something about the thoughtfulness of her posts, and the topics she creates in the first place that grabs me.