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  • Writer's pictureNour Boustani


People always ask me whether it’s possible to think and see the world as effective entrepreneurs do, and my answer is always YES!

Entrepreneurship is a skill like any other skill.

Some of us are born with it or were raised in an environment that encourages problem-solving and risk-taking, while others are less fortunate and have to develop it with the right guidance and techniques.

Entrepreneurs see the world differently from the rest. They have developed a mental toolbox and thinking models that allow them to see problems and develop creative solutions to overcome those challenges effectively.

They can see bigger problems, discover more connecting patterns, and develop scalable solutions that overcome challenges on a large scale.

In this article, I have highlighted key mental tools that will help you see the world as effective entrepreneurs.

You don’t have to be an entrepreneur to apply these skills. You can leverage them to become a more creative and effective manager, business owner, creator, freelancer, or employee.

The Effective Entrepreneur Mental Toolbox

1. T-shaped thinker: effective entrepreneurs are generalists in thinking and planning but highly specialized in executing their core skills.

This attribute means they need to develop a basic general understanding of all aspects of the business, including accounting, HR, marketing, sales, manufacturing, and operations, but have a deep understanding and experience in one field of their business, such as marketing.

Illustration — T-Shaped thinkers

2. A diverse library of knowledge: creative entrepreneurs need to gain fresh ideas and knowledge from different industries, cultures, and inspirations, then apply them to their business.

This skill requires the entrepreneur to be intellectually open-minded and be willing to explore ideas out of their comfort zones.

3. Reverse engineering skill: smart entrepreneurs understand they don’t have to reinvent the wheel to start their business.

They can take an existing business model or process, break it down into their most critical steps, reverse engineer it, and then change it to fit their market and business.

4. Logical and critical thinking skills: the job of the entrepreneur is to solve a problem in the marketplace; therefore, they have to rely on logic and reasoning to find a practical and profitable solution to pain points in the market.

5. Independent thinking skill: the road that an entrepreneur takes is quite the opposite of what most people do or follow; therefore, a wise entrepreneur needs to develop the knowledge, expertise, and tools to analyze and test a situation without relying on other people’s emotional opinions.

6. System thinking skill: entrepreneurship is the opposite of having a specialized job where most people see the business as separate parts rather than the whole big picture.

Entrepreneurs need to see their business as a collection of different tasks, such as accounting, marketing, product development, and customer service, to form a complete system.

7. Analytical thinking skill: great entrepreneurs understand the value of emotions in driving their business.

However, for analyzing their business and making critical decisions, they rely on proven and data-driven insights rather than only relying on gut feelings.

8. Decision-making skill: entrepreneurship is about taking a risk; this responsibility requires the entrepreneur to test his thinking quickly and take an actionable decision.

9. People skills: entrepreneurship normally isn’t effective by doing all the work alone; the entrepreneur needs to work hand in hand with other people to take specific actions.

This outcome demands the entrepreneur develop soft skills, such as listening and communication skills, empathy, and relationship-building skills.

10. Leadership skills: the primary job of an entrepreneur is not to enrich themselves or become famous; that’s only the result of the outcome of their primary goal.

Entrepreneurs must shift their focus from themselves and turn it to supporting the team effort and serving the market needs.

This responsibility means that the entrepreneur must take a leadership position to serve their customers’ needs and guide their team to maneuver through challenges.

11. Mental flexibility: successful entrepreneurs understand that the variables of the market will change constantly; they accept the fact that their idea might fail; therefore, they have the mental flexibility to pivot their direction and adjust their approach to fit the market’s needs.

12. Mental toughness: great entrepreneurs are mentally strong to deal with their business challenges; they can maneuver through business difficulties regardless of their inner fear.

13. Self-management skill: solopreneurs operate without the support, guidance, or management of other people; therefore, they need to develop self-awareness and hold themselves accountable for their actions.

They need to control their emotions and be organized to deliver consistent results on a tight timeline.

14. Execution skills: one of the primary jobs of small business entrepreneurs is to turn ideas into reality; at the beginning stages, they need to rely heavily on their execution skills to turn ideas into existence.

Effective small business entrepreneurs normally have background and execution skills in product development, marketing, sales, and project management.

The above skills are the core skills an entrepreneur needs to gain over a lifetime of learning and experience.

You don’t have to gain or master all skills to become an entrepreneur and start a business; consider them as tools and minor improvements you gain over time to strengthen your entrepreneurial and business skills.

How to gain entrepreneurial thinking and execution skills

  • Expand your knowledge by reading different genres of books.

  • Build a mental visual library and develop a sense of storytelling through watching top-rated movies and browsing through creative work such as art and design.

  • Understand how life and things work through watching documentaries.

  • Discover new possibilities through traveling and exploring different places, cultures, and people’s habits.

  • Learn new skills out of your comfort zone that require creativity and intentional thinking.

Skills such as baking, cooking, yoga, writing, and music will slow down your thinking process and make you more intentional with your goals and desired outcome.

  • Attend different online courses on different aspects of business; you can find plenty of affordable resources on business online.

Make it your priority to understand how a business works as a system, not as individual parts and separate pieces.

  • Develop deep expertise and execution skills through consistent training and experience in key aspects of your business, such as product development, marketing, and sales.

  • Work on stretching your comfort zone through solving and experiencing real-life projects rather than relying entirely on learning from books and theories.

This skill will strengthen your mental toughness and help you build courage and face real-life business challenges.

  • Shift your attention from only serving yourself and short-term profit to serving a group of customers and building a life-lasting brand through leading a talented team.

  • Develop long-term relationships with existing and new groups of people, be willing to get out of your comfort zone, and meet different people online or offline.

Strong relationships lead to new opportunities and ideas for growing your small business.

  • Join a group of entrepreneurial-minded people and learn how they think about approaching a challenge and execute on their idea.

This group of activities, over time, will arm you with the right mindset, skills, and relationships.

They will transform your mind into a machine that hunts for enormous problems and discovers effective solutions that overcome those challenges on a large scale, just like master entrepreneurs do.

Learn how to build a profitable small business or optimize your small business for maximum profitability. Check out this FREE course >> How to Build a Profitable Small Business Online Course.

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