Entrepreneurial mindset: what is it and how to develop it?

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The entrepreneurial mindset is what sets great entrepreneurs apart from poor ones. Here in this article, you will learn about the key traits that define entrepreneurs and shape their minds to do great things. Seat tight.

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Answer Adeosun
Feb 8, 23 · min read
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Doing something of significance in life often starts in the mind because that is the seat of reasoning and decision-making. Think about this – if you have not settled things in your mind, there is a high likelihood that you would not take steps to achieve them. 

Forget about spontaneity now; there are just some decisions that spontaneity won’t pay off. One such is becoming an entrepreneur. Just imagine the number of startups that never got established because there was inadequate planning to start with.

What is an entrepreneurial mindset?

There are many definitions out there for entrepreneurial mindset but we will attempt to give a comprehensive and well-rounded one here.

The entrepreneurial mindset is simply the state of mind of entrepreneurs that gives them an edge over others in their endeavours. It is a mindset that sets great entrepreneurs apart from the rest of the flock.

The above definition seems so simple yet it is more complicated than you’d imagine. There is a saying that as a man thinks, so he is. This saying is very true for all facets of life and entrepreneurs are not left out. Have you ever wondered why among the people that start their businesses at the same time but only a few are left in the race after about a year or two? Most often, it is their mindset that makes that difference.

In the next subheading, we will be looking at the traits and characteristics of people with entrepreneurial mindsets. Diligently go through them one by one and see where you fit in. It is equally important at this point that you remember that only about 1% of great entrepreneurs were born with the innate ability to be one, others learnt them and you can too.

12 key qualities and traits that define the entrepreneurial mindset


Being proactive is one of the traits defining folks with entrepreneurial mindsets. What this simply means is that such people take the bull by the horn and do what needs to be done even when it is not convenient. They are actively involved in any endeavour they start and would not necessarily pun off their jobs to others. Proactive people do not mind getting their hands dirty, literally and not figuratively, and that means that even when they are leaders, they take work alongside their subordinates. 

Oftentimes people think that being a good leader means you should be good at giving commands. That is partially true but being a great leader is much more than that. Proactive leaders show initiative by letting their subordinates know that any job they are allocating to others can be done by them if they need to. That shows the subordinates that they do not have lazy leaders who just enjoy driving them around like slaves.


Another important trait that people with entrepreneurial mindsets have is that they are innovative. They literally think outside the box or create their box if there aren’t any. It is people like this that bring new solutions to existing problems or even the ones that are not existing yet. Innovative people set the pace in technological and industrial advancements. They are not bound by rules that limit people.

In other words, innovative people always find a way to bring something new to the table and have plans to achieve such innovations. Their ideas change the world and drive industrial evolutions.


People with entrepreneurial mindsets are very assertive, i.e., self-confident and firm. They know what they want and insist on it. This means that they are not easily deterred or misled when they set their mind on something. These types of people will not easily be swayed when they know they are right about something. In such cases, they would not mind trying something over and over again, from different angles of course, until they get their desired results.

So, when assertive entrepreneurs give you an assignment, they want it done and would insist on excellence, not mediocrity. 


Diligence is also an important trait of entrepreneurs. They are thorough and meticulous with everything, never leaving anything to chance or luck. This is because they know that true success is worked at and not handed over on a platter. For that reason alone, diligent entrepreneurs never start with no plan or on a whim. They take due diligence to make sure that the necessary plans are in place before commencing business. So, they know whether to start big or small; whether to take loans for starting capital or just start at their level and seek angel investors when business begins to take off for real. All these are predicated on due diligence; mapping out a workable plan and not just any plan.

Risk takers

Starting any business endeavour is a risk on its own to start with. This is because it has been established that more than 50% of new startups close up shop within a year. However, that is not reason enough for a great entrepreneur to quit or not step out. Great entrepreneurs are not afraid to take risks that could end in massive profits. Of course, they would not take risks unless they have done due diligence and weighed the options available to them. 

Simply put, people with entrepreneurial mindsets are aware of the risks involved but they take the step anyway because they know the benefits they stand to get if it does pay off. This mindset also extends to making good investment choices. Knowing that some risks are not worth taking no matter how juicy the rewards seem is perhaps one of the greatest traits an entrepreneur can have because those shows are business smart.


Creativity stems from within. Even with innovative ideas, being creative with them will set you apart as an entrepreneur. Why? Because you were not the only one that had that idea in the entire world! That innovative idea that you have occurred to many people at the same time. So, how you go about bringing that idea into reality is what will set you apart in the long run.


People with entrepreneurial mindsets are visionaries. They have visions that transcend their generation. They plan to build generational wealth and not just in a bid to take care of their immediate needs alone. It is very important to know that ideas that sell and change the world at the same time are ideas that are aimed at solving the problems of others. 

Think about Nicolas Tesla who started electricity. He’d never imagine that we have electrically powered cars now with more innovations built on electricity to come. With the world attempting to go green, people with entrepreneurial mindsets are already thinking and imagining lasting solutions to global warming problems of the world.


Positivity helps entrepreneurs see the good side of everything and keeps them from being easily discouraged. This is because there would be a lot of reasons to be discouraged when starting as an entrepreneur. 

For example, a bright idea may not always pan out the way you thought; people may not buy your wares the way you’d hoped and bills still need to be paid. That could discourage some to pack up their business but with a positive mindset, you can forge on and see that setback as an opportunity to learn and do better in the future. 


This trait cannot be left out. Sometimes people and situations around you would not motivate you. When you are self-motivated, you literally wake up in the morning with your mind full of possibilities despite previous setbacks. This means that you can encourage yourself and move on instead of allowing situations to weigh on you.


There is a difference between being tenacious and being stubborn. Tenaciousness simply means that you are goal-oriented and would not give up until you have achieved it. That means that even if you would have to change strategies several times, your goal is still your goal. Being stubborn on the other hand is about not wanting to be wrong about something and you keep at it even when all things are showing you that you are wrong. 

Therefore, a tenacious person is not unwilling to admit being wrong about something. Rather, they accept defeat but still press on and do not give up. Such people have the mindset that even if they lost this battle, the war is still on and must be won. That makes them press on and try new strategies to achieve their ultimate goals.

Emotionally intelligent and self-aware

To be emotionally intelligent, you must be self-aware. That means you must know yourself and your shortcomings. That makes it possible for you to reason along with others and be emphatic. In such cases, you are more likely to get people to be loyal to you for just being you and nothing more. When you realise that loyalty is very important in business, you seek to be emotionally intelligent. It is loyalty that will not make your employees sell your business secret to your competition and you can only build that when you can identify with them on the level of emotions. Being emotional does not mean you are weak, it simply means that you are self-aware and you can deal with it no matter what.


Accountability is important for every entrepreneur. It is easy to forgo this trait when you think that you do not have to answer to anybody. However, you must know that being accountable will determine whether your business survives or not. Not only about money but about your business dealings. You must be able to account for every action that you take. You cannot keep blaming your failures on others and expect to achieve success. Take responsibility for your shortfalls and devise ways by which you can mitigate them without castigating yourself. 

How to develop an entrepreneurial mindset

As mentioned earlier, not all great entrepreneurs are born with the set of skills required, most often they are learnt. In this subsection, we will talk about how you can develop the entrepreneurial mindset that would set your pace in your chosen field.

  1. Be confident and independently minded – you cannot start out being an entrepreneur by leaning on other people. Yes, you would need to seek advice but that is just what they are, advice. You can decide whether to take them or not. When you have a mind of your own and you are confident in your decisions, you already can take on being an entrepreneur. You cannot afford to be unsure of your decisions because you will have to make a lot of those as your business grows.
  2. Be quick to take responsibility – as said in the last subheading, owning up to mistakes or decisions that ended up not panning out is a great way to take responsibility. You take responsibility for your actions and inactions. Own them and don’t shy away from facing any consequences. That builds character and experience.
  3. Don’t be afraid to take risks – stepping out in the morning is a risk if you think about it; you never know if you’d get in an accident or have an uneventful, risk-free day. The same goes for every decision you make in a business. No person that has ever achieved something in business would say they never lost something – just think about the kind of money many tech giants in the world lost in recent years on investments. That would not stop them from making other investments though. So, simply weigh the risks and then make an informed decision even if you are unsure of the eventual outcome.
  4. Stay focused – there would come reasons for you to change your mind about your goal but you must stay focused. It helps if you already have a plan. You can change strategies, but your end goal must still be in sight. Never lose sight of your target, dream, and vision as time goes by. That keeps you in check all the time.
  5. Be simple enough to take advice – everybody has a role model. You should have one too. While you may not always take what they say hook line and sinker, you can still learn from their words and shape your ideologies and perspectives. There is no crime in that. 


World changers are innovative in their thinking and innovative thinkers are entrepreneurial in nature – they can birth new things that change how people think. Armed with the right mindset, you can become one too.

How to develop an entrepreneurial mindset

It's simple:
HowTo step image

1. Have self-assurance and independence of thought; you cannot become an entrepreneur by relying solely on others.

Yes, you would have to ask for advice, but that is all that it is. You are free to accept or decline them. You are already capable of taking on the role of an entrepreneur if you are independent-thinking and self-assured in your choices. As your firm expands, you will have to make several judgments, therefore you cannot afford to be unclear about your choices.

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