Posted: Wed 12th Feb 2020
Your mindset is the attitudes and beliefs that impact how successful your business will be. You need to invest time in building your self-belief and passion for your business if you're going to achieve your goals - and enjoy the journey along the way.
Realising how successful you are helps boost self-esteem and your energy levels. Building the confidence to speak in public provides opportunities to grow. And understanding your goal will help keep you on track.
"When it comes to running a creative small business, mindset is everything. For me, the moment I changed my mindset, things started happening and improving," said Loro Design Studio founder Emily Canino.
As part of our Heads Up for Wellness campaign, we look at five practical steps you can take to start improving your mindset and share stories from entrepreneurs who are embracing them.
Building a business is tough. There are people and cashflow to manage, clients that need attending to and the relentless need to sell. How you approach these challenges can have a big impact on how difficult they are to solve.
This goes for challenges that come from inside and outside the business. Rebecca Linnell founded luxury canine boarding facility The Country Dog Hotel after going through a divorce. She was on her own with two biological children and two foster children.
"On a personal level, it had knocked my confidence big time. I could just wallow in it, or I could brush myself off and think, 'bugger this, I'm going to do something great'.
"It was all about mindset. Sometimes when you have something really negative or people putting you down or not being the best people around you, sometimes you can turn that into a positive. I try to use negativity to boost myself and use it as a way to challenge myself," she said.
It helps to break down challenges into the steps you need to take to solve them. Climbing a mountain is a formidable task. What do you need to pack and how difficult does the route to base camp look?
Ruth Bradford said her confidence was at rock bottom when she started The Little Black & White Book Project.
"We broke down the challenges into micro-tasks, so they seemed less scary. I took one event at a time and told myself the worst that could happen is that I never have to go back," Ruth said.
She went on to win Enterprise Nation's Female Entrepreneur of the Year, win new distributors and build her confidence in public speaking. That doesn't mean running the business has become easy, but working on her mindset made a real difference.
What challenge could you think about differently?
Everyone has a great idea. Anyone who has the capability to start a business is amazing - you're already in the minority and doing something most people can't.
The problem is that business owners often struggle to realise how amazing they are and don't take time to celebrate each milestone they reach. Ambition leads to self-criticism; success is never enough. And it's too easy to see more successful people and beat yourself up about the progress you've made.
Creating short and medium-term goals help with this. Celebrate when you reach your target, whether it's having a better understanding of how SEO works or reaching a revenue target.
Surrounding yourself with entrepreneurs who can reinforce your self-belief has a big impact too.
Building a network of small business owners gives you an opportunity to discuss challenges and support each other.
"It is not easy to stay positive when working on your own, especially when there's no one praising you for your achievements," Emily said.
It's important to have a weekly or monthly opportunity to share what you're going through. This helps ensure negative thoughts and concerns don't linger, provides a sounding board and builds confidence.
"Taking that first step to share your business can be terrifying," said Ruth. "I think we all fear rejection or criticism but that couldn't have been further from the truth. I embarked on a year of saying 'yes' to as many opportunities as possible and the more I spoke about my business, the more my confidence and belief in myself grew."
Seeing how interested people were spurred her on to speak about the products more and provided practice to hone her pitch - two things that are crucial to success.
If you want to build a network but don't know where to start, you can read our article on How to create a network to help you thrive.
Mindsets are built from our view of the world. It's crucial to know why your business exists; what motivates you?
There are lots of reasons to run a business. Defining the underlying motivation - the reason you didn't just get a job and are excited to get up for work every day - provides the foundation of a healthy mindset.
There are moments in life that prompt you to examine these beliefs.
"When I lost my father, it really made me reflect about life and what I wanted from it," said Emily. "I made the decision to not care about people's opinions so much, to find my own 'tribe' and start valuing my work more."
There are lots of reasons to start examining the 'why' behind your business. It helps to build a routine around reexamining it. Perhaps you chat to a partner, friend or peer once or twice a year to examine and celebrate why you're working so hard on something.
Those moments also provide a platform to challenge yourself and ask whether this is something you want to continue to work on; it's okay to stop if it's not right for you anymore.
Having a clear vision for the business allows you to communicate easily with staff, partners and customers. It's also a big factor in your mindset.
Enterprise Nation adviser Simon Ong believes that everything begins with a powerful and compelling vision of where and who you want to be.
"The battle in our minds is one of the greatest we have to overcome. It all starts with a vision. When you have a vision that's utterly compelling and ridiculously magnetic in nature, you will avoid the distractions that take you away from where you want to be.
"What tends to be missing from so many visions is that emotional connection - that emotional bridge. You have to feel it in your senses, your body and mind that it's a possibility. Take a moment to reflect on a vision of where you want to be. How could you create a stronger emotional bond with it?" he asked.
Ong recommends thinking through what that end goal will look like. What would people be saying to you? What would you be saying to yourself? What impact are you having? And how amazing does it feel to be where you want to be?