The Entrepreneur Mind is a book for entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs.
Kevin Johnson, the author, shares one hundred crucial mindsets with which entrepreneurs view the world.
The readers can learn about the entrepreneurs’ mindsets and, with some work, adopt the same.
- Get a sense of urgency: don’t delay or postpone, all must happen today
- Build systems that don’t need key people (or yourself for that matter)
- Decouple feelings from the right actions
- Build an environment where criticism flows openly
The Entrepreneur Mind – Summary
About The Author: Kevin Johnson studied computer science and started out his career as a software programmer for IBM.
He showed early signs of entrepreneurship by successfully launching and selling one of the first content management system. And he eventually went fully back into entrepreneurship in 2000, when he founded and grew his current company Johnson Media.
1. Think big: If you think small you will not maximize your potential. And as Tony Robbins says, that’s your biggest failure. Better to come short of lofty goals than to leave untapped potential on the table. Also read The Magic of Thinking Big.
2. Create new markets: Creating new markets means no competition. Companies operating without competition on in monopolistic markets enjoy all the profits. Also read Zero to One, where Google is such an example.
3. Work on your business, not in your business: Hire employees taking care of operations so you can focus on growth. Read The E-myth Revisited.
4. All risk isn’t risky: While we all know that entrepreneurs take risk, they are also able to calculate that risk and make informed choices that try to minimize those risks.
5. Don’t waste time: Get a sense of urgency
6. Systems-dependent, not people-dependent: Automate processes, you can’t bet all your fortune on a few people who might leave.
7. Ask for help: Don’t be afraid of looking less powerful.
8. Business first, family second: One of the rules that might be hard to digest for many.
9. Do what’s most important first: Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize.
10. Hire a good lawyer: get the book for the details
11. The business plan is overrated: Do the background checks first like competition and customers first. I was surprised to read Johnson saying you also develop a prototype before a business plan.
12. Require criticism and disagreement in your company: Be aware of yes man. This is a great point, also read Principles: Life and Work for more on this concept.
13. Fire your worst customers: Some customers waste too much of your time and can even make you lose money. Don’t serve them.
14. Make money while doing nothing: Again, focus on processes that don’t require you.
15. Outsourcing makes sense: Non core functions can suck up too much of your time. Outsource them.
16. Move on fast from bad business: Tenacity and grit are soul and parcels of an entrepreneur, but you have to be able to recognize when an idea is dead.
17. A bad economy is a great opportunity: Start when nobody else does and you’ll be ready to reap the benefits when the economy turns.
18. Adopt technology early: Being an early adopter will allow you to see connections and possible new mass uses. Also read Crossing the Chasm
19. Ignorance can be bliss: Newcomers often come with a mindset that is not hampered by the old ways of doing things.
20. Adapt to change quickly: Check the book for more
21. Technology is an opportunity, not a threat: Check the book for more
22. Always follow up: Fear of rejection can get in the way. Don’t allow that to happen
23. Have laserlike focus: Focus on making a few great products. Too big a line up can spread your resources thin (which is also one of the 48 Laws of Power)
24. Nonprofit really means profit: Nonprofit organizations have money to spend
25. Explore new adventures for inspiration: Go on an adventure, it will open you up mentally and make you come up with new ideas and solutions
26. Failure doesn’t kill you; it makes you stronger: Read the book for more
27. Seek partnerships for the right reasons: Don’t make partnerships for PR: good partnerships show up in your cash flow (increase revenues or reduce costs)
28. Be a master at leveraging resources: Not everyone will always pay with cash. Learn to get creative with all possible resources. Read Disrupt You! for more.
29. It’s not ideas, it’s execution: Focus on speed
30. Find an enemy: An enemy can rally the troops and motivate employees. Read The 48 Laws of Power
31. Don’t underestimate your competition: Companies with different products and business models also can be competition
32. Ask for what you want: And you’ll be amazed at how much people are willing to give
33. No competition = no market: If there’s no competition, ask yourself why, there’s probably a good reason (albeit not necessarily)
34. Put out fires quickly: Respond quickly to customer issues
35. Have an exit strategy: It will help you put things in perspective for decision making and recognize exit chances along the way
36. School is not necessarily education: This is not school bashing, but entrepreneurs keep learning after school
37. You’re in no rush for MBA: An MBA while you’re building a business is a distraction
38. Spend time with smarter people: You will learn the most
39. Office space is not a priority, a good team is: You can keep working from wherever you are
40. What you wear isn’t what you’re worth:
41. You don’t always have to be the smartest one in the room: The best entrepreneur are humble and are more interested in bringing in smart people than being the smartest ones
42. Talent trumps seniority: Don’t get hung up on ranks, it’s solutions and execution that matter
43. You are odd, and it’s okay: Dyslexia, ADD, and Asperger have all higher incidence among entrepreneurs
44. People don’t only work for money: Check Drive by Daniel Pink for more on motivation
45. You have a sidekick: 2+2 is more than 4
46. Don’t let people abuse your flexibility: You might have flexible hours, but work is still your priority
47. Don’t manage people, manage expectations: Set deadlines instead of micromanaging
48. Get the right mentor: Read Mastery for more
49. Choose your spouse wisely: Spouses can be your boon or can be your ruin (read Men on Strike and The Millionaire Mind)
50. Fire unproductive people: also read “how to be an effective leader”
51. You don’t need money to make money: To make lots of money quickly money is helpful, but entrepreneurship is about workarounds and doing something with nothing
52. Pay taxes quarterly: If you only do it at the end of the year, you might not have enough left
53. A check in hand means nothing: Don’t assume you’ve been paid until the money is in the bank, always double check dubious checks
54. Avoid negative cash flow: Some companies can get in trouble with negative cash flow even when they’re profitable. Make sure that doesn’t happen to you
55. Borrow money before you need it: You won’t get a loan when you need it, so get one when you still don’t
56. Prepayment is king: Build trust so you can get paid. Otherwise make sure you payment timelines are clear and respected
57. Professional accountant is money well spent: Good accountants will save you money and tme
58. Manage debt well: Most businesses fail because of under-capitalization. Do get the money you need
59. There’s a downside to having investors: External money can sometimes exacerbate your problems
60. Focus on building revenue: If you go for external investors, show some revenue and sales first, it will make everything easier
61. The biggest investment is yours: Show your own investment before asking for any
62. Use different banks to minimize risk: Keep business and personal accounts separated at different banks or they’ll affect each other (credit scores and asking payments from personal account)
63. Know your PAYDEX score: Check the book for more
Marketing and Sales
This section is a lot about sales and people’s skills.
64. You’re in sales: Start selling early, you need to make sure people want it
65. Your customer is your boss: Always refer to what the market wants
66. You have sales before you have a business: The best way to start a business is when people are willing to pay even before you have a product
67. You aren’t always the best person to close a deal: Hire the best people to make the sale, and that’s not necessarily you
68. Networking isn’t all about you: Ask how you can help
69. Don’t waste time on people who can’t say yes: Ask who’s the final decision maker and don’t waste time
70. There’s no such thing as a cold call: Research before calling
71. Tell everyone about your business: Shyness, fear or politeness will make you miss on opportunities
72. Ask the right questions: Open-ended questions
73. Receive the maximum value: Don’t change prices to accommodate customers
74. Don’t patronize customers: Entrepreneurs believe they need to “act big” to impress people because that’s what CEOs do. Terrible mindset.
75. Build your network creatively: The right environment are not necessarily the standard networking environments
76. Don’t hold grudges: A no today can be a yes tomorrow, don’t alienate people
77. Act in spite of how you feel: Don’t let emotions get in the way (also read Emotional Unavailability)
78. Push beyond your fear: Let your goals guide you.
79. Be a maverick: Most entrepreneurs have a rebellious streak.
80. Make your dreams come true: Read the book for more
81. Make difficult sacrifices: Entrepreneurship requires sacrifices
82. You have unbelievable endurance: Endurance is possibly the most important trait for entrepreneurs. Also read Grit by Duckworth
83. Be prepared to lose it all: Most businesses fail, don’t be surprised
84. Being successful is not the goal: The felling of success is fleeting, entrepreneurs should be motivated by the creation process. Also read Start With WHY.
85. You are excited for Monday: You can get to start a fresh new week and the world is ready to move along. My Note: when I first read it I was disappointed, there are no Mondays and Weekends for me.
86. You’re disappointed For Friday: They’re less productive, you gotta pay people and you won’t be able to restart 100% until Monday My Note: I didn’t like the sense of powerlessness. There’s plenty you can do during weekends.
87. A 9-to-5 is worse than death: The biggest fear for entrepreneurs is that of having to go to a “normal” job. I can attest to that.
88. Your parents demand a real job: Don’t get angry about it, be compassionate
89. You get resentment: People sometimes won’t understand or will be jealous
90. It’s not about being your own boss: Those who want to go the entrepreneur road not to have a boss often lack the discipline that entrepreneurship requires. And entrepreneurship also requires visio
91. Entrepreneurship is in your blood: The author recommends you research your family history for some more motivation. But I disagree with this one.
92. You know your worth: You might have to say no to seemingly good money if you don’t believe it meets your worth or your company’s worth
93. You can’t keep a job: The author says entrepreneurs are not good at staying at a job. They either quit or get fired. I couldn’t agree more with this.
94. You cry when things don’t go your way: Steve Jobs did, so you can do it too
95. It’s never too late: Media focus on young upstarts, but older people start more companies than teens and 20-something
96. You feel unequaled joy when your idea becomes reality.
97. Following your passion is bogus: Not all passions can be monetized. But I disagree here, finding fulfillment and joy in what you do is key
98. You have the right motivation: Read the book for more
99. You love your life: Controlling your destiny makes you happy. And I couldn’t agree more.
100. You’re an entrepreneur forever: Once you get a taste of it, you can never go back
Real Life Applications
A lot of concepts in The Entrepreneur Mind were really good and aha moments for me. Such as:
- Fire your worst customers
- Borrow money before you need it
- Tell everyone about your business (my tendency is to keep it under wrap)
- You can’t keep a job (I found this ringing so true for me)
“The Entrepreneur Mind” is an easy and wisdom-rich read that you will go through at light speed.
While some concepts are more obvious and won’t add as much value, they can still serve as great refreshers.
And you will likely find many gold nuggets to help you propel forward.
Also, I particularly appreciated the psychology behind some points, such as that many entrepreneurs can’t stay happy in jobs and end up either fired or quitting.