In the late 90’s I knew a dynamic entrepreneur who owned (among other things) a brick-making business in a regional Victorian town. One of David’s competitors was a big public company – let’s call them Goliath Bricks.
In order to put David out of business, Goliath decided to dump tons of bricks into the local market he operated in at below cost price.
Much to the amazement of the big-time executives at Goliath, nothing happened. Months down the track the bricks they were dumping into the market were still selling out fast. Yet David’s business kept flourishing. Surely this was hurting him. Why wasn’t he out of business yet?
As it turned out, David was buying the bricks through one of his other businesses, and reselling them back into the Melbourne market for a big fat profit.
David was thinking with an entrepreneurial mindset. The big company execs were thinking like big company employees.
So what does thinking with an entrepreneurial mindset mean? And how can you develop this skill?
I recommend a simple tool I call the ABC Principle. It involves making a conscious effort to master three different ways of thinking and in so doing, foster an entrepreneurial mindset.
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A. Abstract thinking
Einstein once said “What counts can’t always be counted, and what can be counted doesn’t always count.” That’s what abstract thinking is all about. It’s not tangible and it may not fit into a spreadsheet, but the results that flow from it can. Thinking skills. Beliefs. Confidence. Imagination. Visionary skills. Optimism. Consciousness. Mindset. And that’s just for starters.
B. Business intellect thinking
Business intellect thinking encompasses all your measurable business knowledge and skills such as figures, data, strategies, analysis, systems and qualifications. Many business people feel most comfortable in this space.
In my opinion, the over-reliance of most big companies on B-thinking creates fantastic opportunities for the soloist with a more entrepreneurial outlook.
C. Creative thinking
Creative thinking is where great ideas are born. It’s not exclusive to arty types and designers, but is a natural part all of us. You use C-thinking every morning during the simple act of selecting your outfit for the day.
This is the type of thinking that fuels your entrepreneurial engine.
Finding your comfort zone
Regardless of whether you naturally favour A-thinking, B-thinking or C-thinking, each of us has a particular way of operating that we’re comfortable with.
Moving out of that comfort zone and into the other two ways of thinking is what entrepreneurs do best. Corporate executives and big companies don’t tend to do it anywhere near as well as soloists, and some hardly do at all.
The entrepreneur zone
Abstract, business intellect and creative thinking are like three intersecting circles. The sweet spot in the middle where the three overlap can be elusive, but is well-worth striving for.
I call it the ‘entrepreneur zone’, and it’s the best place to be if you want to think and behave like a true entrepreneur.
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