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Some salespeople are just built differently. They put another degree of effort and strategic thought into their day-to-day responsibilities, and they do this by employing the entrepreneur mindset.

The entrepreneur mindset is a special frame of mind that separates certain salespeople from their peers. In other words, it’s the difference between a good sales person and a truly great one.

The ‘entrepreneur mindset’ is a frame of mind that lends itself to big-picture thinking, professional leadership, value-creation, solving for others, and other positive tendencies most entrepreneurs generally exhibit.

It’s worth noting that the entrepreneur mindset isn’t necessarily specific to entrepreneurs. Virtually anyone can demonstrate it in a professional context — not just ambitious budding-business owners.

Individuals with an entrepreneur mindset take initiative and make a point of elevating their colleagues. They embrace leadership opportunities and learn what they can at every possible turn.

Here are some of the other key differences between the two thought processes.

1. Entrepreneurs zero in on individual tasks more than employees.

Entrepreneurs know how to focus. They understand that they’ll get more out of their work by focussing on individual tasks and moving on once they’re completed. Many employees struggle with that concept. They put too many balls in the air and wind up dropping some in the process.

2. Entrepreneurs have an ‘on to the next one’ mentality with failure and frustration.

Employees often get fixated on the mistakes they’ve made. They tend to ruminate on failure, letting it take a toll on their confidence.

Entrepreneurs see that every mistake is a learning experience. They understand that the world isn’t over with every mistake. They give the situation some thought, determine how they can apply what they’ve learned as a result of it, and move “on to the next one.”

3. Entrepreneurs work smarter.

Employees generally apply themselves, which isn’t a problem in itself. Their issue comes from how they apply their time and energy. They often tear through all their work as it comes to them with consistently exhaustive, borderline-indiscriminate effort.

Entrepreneurially minded people make a point of working smarter.

They partition and prioritise their work more thoughtfully than employees, tiering their responsibilities by urgency and taking on their work accordingly. They know that time is the most important professional commodity, so they handle it with more tact and careful intention.

4. Entrepreneurs are smart about risks but don’t avoid them entirely.

Employees are risk-averse, reluctant to embrace failure, so they avoid any possible exposure to it. They value stability, sometimes to a fault. And while a steady salary and job security are valuable, they’re not an entrepreneur’s first priority.

Entrepreneurs understand that risk is an often-unfortunate reality that comes with ambition so they take calculated risks, thoughtfully considering whether a leap of faith’s reward is worth its potential consequences. The key difference here is a matter of initiative. Entrepreneurs take it upon themselves to blaze the trail whilst employees generally follow behind.

5. Entrepreneurs emphasise and build on their strengths as opposed to their weaknesses.

Entrepreneurs spend more time building on what they do well than they do remedying their weaknesses. Employees spend more time putting a robust, jack-of-all-trades set of skills together.

That’s not the worst thing in the world, but it lends itself to goodness as opposed to greatness. Entrepreneurs understand they need to stand out and they know they can probably surround themselves with the right people to compensate for their shortcomings, down the line. That kind of faith in their strengths and future sets entrepreneurs apart from employees.

6. Entrepreneurs aren’t threatened by people smarter than them.

Entrepreneurs value learning opportunities more than protecting their egos. They’re the ones that leave a room when they’re the smartest in it. That’s why they’re quick to tap and hire particularly bright people without getting too competitive. That good sense and humility help the entrepreneurially-minded realise their ambitions and bolster their professional skill sets.

7. Entrepreneurs own all their decisions — good and bad.

Entrepreneurs hold themselves accountable for poor decisions as much as they flag their accomplishments. They consider and analyse their mistakes without dwelling on them too much. They also don’t try to skirt blame or distance themselves from the less-than-ideal calls they make.

Employees often try to deflect responsibility for the consequences of their actions, or they get too caught up in justifying their blunders. As I mentioned, entrepreneurs view mistakes as learning experiences that don’t define them or dictate their professional value. They take their shortcomings on the chin and keep moving forward — taking ownership of their mistakes is a big part of that process.


How to Develop the Entrepreneurial Mindset

To get started, here are a few actionable steps to develop an entrepreneurial mindset in day-to-day life:

1. Set clear goals.

Start by outlining a handful of goals to hit each week or month — ones that are specific, measurable, and realistic. Remember, big achievements are often the result of small, consistent actions.

2. Prioritise learning.

When we talk about “learning,” you probably picture it in a formal setting, such as completing a training or certification but you can also learn by simply listening to others.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions, then actively listen. Seek out mentor or coach, message a peer on LinkedIn, listen to motivational podcasts, or take an online course.

3. Reframe failure.

Failure doesn’t feel good. But the best entrepreneurs know that failure, rejection, risk, and criticism are all parts of the gig, choosing to see them as common side effects of ambition. Instead of folding, they learn how to keep moving.

The key word here is to learn, since reframing your mindset around failure will take some time and effort. The trick is not to think of failure as something to fear or avoid, but as a tool to better understand situations and make more informed decisions in the future. 

4. Embrace calculated risk-taking.

A calculated risk is a carefully considered decision that has a degree of risk but also a reasonable chance of a positive outcome. For instance, it’s common for entrepreneurs to put some of their personal assets on the line to finance operations. Yes, this is risky, but if you can get past the initial fear of such a risk, many benefits can await you on the other side.


Final Thoughts

As I said, you don’t necessarily have to be an entrepreneur to exhibit the entrepreneur mindset. It might take extra thought, effort, and persistence, but any sales person can embrace the patterns of behaviour that define the frame of mind. And while going above and beyond like that can take a lot out of you, it might be the best way to reach that next level professionally.


One of the best ways of changing your way of thinking and approach is to work with a coach. If you’d like to learn more, then get in touch.


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