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“Growth Mindset” and “Fixed Mindset” — have you heard of these terms before?
Having a strong mindset is essential to running a successful small business; that’s why entrepreneurial mindset books are consistently some of the best-selling books out there. Today, we’re going to be talking about the difference between having a growth mindset and a fixed mindset, and why developing a growth mindset is essential to developing a successful small business.
The way we think about ourselves, our abilities, and our business, absolutely shape the outcomes of the actions we take.
Having a growth mindset means that you believe that your intelligence and your habits can be developed over time.
Having a fixed mindset means that you believe that intelligence is fixed; if you’re not good at something, you’re likely to believe that you’ll never be good at it.
Let’s take sports for example:
Maybe as a child, you play one game of soccer in a school setting and are absolutely abysmal at it. You miss every single pass and fail at every opportunity to shoot. Your entire team jeers and the next time a game of soccer comes up, you get picked last.
Someone with a fixed mindset is likely to believe that they’re bad at playing sports (soccer in particular) and that they’re always going to be bad at playing sports.
Someone with a growth mindset, however, is likely to believe that despite their current inability to play, they have the potential to improve. This makes them more likely to practice in the future and eventually fulfil that potential.
Having a growth mindset can allow you, as a small business owner, to see more clearly outside the box. It can help with innovation in problem solving and can push you to think of creative solutions to any hiccups that may arise. A business owner with a fixed mindset is likely to believe that their business only has one path to growth and is likely to only focus on the day-to-day operations of the business.
Reflect on Failure
Know that failures in the business happen frequently and they are not a reflection of your worth as an entrepreneur. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that approximately 20% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 45% during the first five years, and 65% during the first 10 years. Only 25% of new businesses make it to 15 years or more (source).
Having a growth mindset as it pertains to business means that you’re able to look at failures and hiccups objectively so that you can understand the lessons to be learned. Growth is about learning and applying new skills, so as a small business owner, do not allow setbacks to stop you from growing.
Push Your Boundaries
Get out of your comfort zone. You already have a successful small business so in order to scale and grow, you have to begin to look at ventures and possibilities as limitless. Having a growth mindset in business means being brave enough to push against the familiar; when you’re faced with a challenge or an opportunity, choose the harder or more creative option that will allow you to grow.
Be Open to Feedback
Whether this looks like feedback from your current customers or from your small business-owning peers, being open to new ideas and suggestions allow you to innovate and improve upon your business.
It’s important to note that thinking you have a growth mindset and actually having one are drastically different. You can believe that you have a growth mindset and still take actions that are fixed at the core. As an exercise today, take the time to really reflect on the business actions and decisions that you’ve taken these past six months. Are you taking safe actions in your business that keep it running just as it is, or are you pushing your boundaries and innovating outside the norm?