One of the most useful assets you can create for yourself as a business owner is, of course, your business plan. This document allows you to reason through how your business will weather its first months and years. You develop confidence in the process of identifying the obstacles you may encounter and how you will overcome them.
However, almost as important as the details of your business are the ways you will prepare yourself mentally for your business. In many contexts, the same sets of attitudes that serve you well as an employee don’t necessarily create success as a business owner, and our sets of attitudes are often largely unconscious and must be examined before they can be changed. As you puzzle through the many options for your traditional business plan, take note of how every step along the way makes you feel: those feelings aren’t good or bad, but they do indicate how you may face issues down the road.
How to Make Your Mindset Plan
One way to tackle the mindsets, or sets of established beliefs, that you’re bringing to your new business is by making a plan for how to handle the three biggest detrimental mindsets and how you will foster the three mindsets that give you the most chances for success. Journal, talk about, and visualize the following six steps in order to prepare for your business’ launch.
Step 1: Overcoming a Fear Mindset
When we are afraid, we don’t necessarily make the decisions that will lead to the most success: we may discount options that actually could be great for our businesses just because they require public speaking or vulnerability or being honest with someone who might judge us. We can’t make ourselves never fear anything again, but we can learn to listen for the “fear voice,” the part of our minds that is just trying to defend itself.
When you begin planning for this step, ask yourself, “What are the fears I have about this business venture? Which are truly well-founded and must be addressed, and which can I overcome with my mind alone?” Write these down and return to them periodically as you progress as a business owner: you will be surprised by how empowering it feels to have conquered your fears!
Step 2: Overcoming a Scarcity Mindset
One part of fear is a fear of scarcity: this can manifest as a worry about those first few months as a business owner, when cash flow hasn’t been fully established, or a fear that your business cannot provide for you long-term. Unfortunately, it has been determined that a scarcity mindset actually works to keep us focused on what we don’t have, rather than on all the things that are going well for your business.
The opposite of scarcity is abundance – one of the ways to think this through in a positive way is to write all the things your business has going for it: even when those things are your own mental assets like skills and feeling supported by your network and community.
Step 3: Overcoming a Dependence on The Opinion of Others
One of the hardest parts of having a vision for a great business is conveying that vision to the others around you. It is only natural that some people won’t recognize your success until it has been fully realized, and it can be tough to hear skepticism about your future success. However, one of the key components of a successful mindset is being able to balance valuable advice with the trust in yourself that keeps you moving forward.
When the opinions of others are giving you valuable feedback to revise your plan, it makes lots of sense to incorporate that feedback. However, if the people who are telling you their concerns really just want you to take a “safer road,” it’s wise to trust your own perspective. Write out some of the ways in which you do and don’t want to be swayed by others.
Step 4: Fostering a Growth Mindset
As you overcome negative mindsets, there are also many mindsets to add to your repertoire – growth mindset has had a lot of research done about it in the past few years. When you employ a growth mindset, you refuse to assume that you either “are” or “aren’t” a great business-person: you instead assume that, at any time, you have the ability to continue growing and get better. Ask any small business owner and you’ll likely find that they had to remake themselves, getting used to being out of their comfort zones and trying new things. When you view being inexperienced as a normal reason to make mistakes, and pursue greater and greater experience and skill, you’ll have a leg up over those who want to be instantly successful or else just quit.
Step 5: Expanding Your Creativity
While many companies have day-to-day operations that don’t require endless creativity, the business owner is almost always looking for creative solutions to the barriers and roadblocks they encounter. Write a bit about how you will make sure you don’t get stuck in a rut as a business owner; will you make plans to go for a walk every week without your phone? Will you call your most trusted friend occasionally to be able to run new ideas by them? Will you schedule in time for brainstorming during your week? Make sure that your days aren’t so packed that you don’t get the chance to evaluate big-picture fixes and creative solutions that have the potential to level up your company.
Step 6: Cultivating Positivity For the Future
In general, business ownership is much less exhausting if you work hard to focus on the positive and cultivate hope. Yes, there are hard days, but almost every day has enough positives in it that, once you’ve addressed your concerns, you can consciously focus on what has gone well and work to replicate those results. Pessimists do succeed in business, but if you got into this business in order to increase your joy in life, it makes sense to make a plan for how you will protect and create more joy in your business’ day-to-day life.
With these mindsets already addressed in a plan, you can frequently return to your Business Mindset Plan as your business grows – new challenges may threaten or empower new aspects of your personality and new attitudes for you. By being mindful of how you are thinking and feeling toward your business, you create opportunities to respond quickly but thoughtfully to the next challenge that comes your way.