Small Business and the Battle between Mindset and Skillset

Being an entrepreneur is a dream for many people. However, it’s not all sunshine and lemonade. Any small business owner has a tough task of his or her hands. It’s great to be optimistic, but equally important to be realistic. Start-ups crop up on a daily basis, but they also fail on a daily basis. And the start-ups that don’t make it hardly ever make the nightly news!

One of the key aspects of being a successful entrepreneur is knowing how to balance our skillset and mindset. These are two critical aspects of any successful entrepreneur, yet there is a debate about which is more important.

What is a Skillset?

From the moment we arrive on earth, we are continually thrust into situations that enable us to develop skills. From our very first baby steps, through learning language, to beginning to apply problem solving intelligence, we are continually building the skillset up which we can then utilise in our lives.

Most entrepreneur skills ultimately aim towards one goal – successfully making money. Thus, one of the most obvious arguments that any entrepreneur should have with his or herself is whether or not acquiring a particular skill will be useful. Ultimately the acquisition of skills for an entrepreneur should be based around successfully making money. That is the end goal, and a skillset is the means to achieve that goal.

Skills are social, technical and increasingly digital tools that are utilized by professionals in the real world. But as this world is constantly evolving and new technologies emerging, so our skillsets need to evolve as well. This can make assessing what skills are required more difficult. But ultimately understanding the marketplace within which we’re operating is a skill in itself for an entrepreneur.

What is a Mindset?

This is a totally different concept from a skillset. A mindset is not something that can be easily learned, or arguably learned whatsoever. It is a mentality, a personality, a lens through which we view the world. A mindset can be a perspective on life, and the attitude that people have about the world around them. It is more about attitude that skills.

Mindset, Skillset and the Entrepreneur

So what characteristics ultimately define a small business owner? Is it more important for an entrepreneur to have a raft of valuable talents, or is the attitude that they take to life and business more critical?

Certainly it is important to have a skillset in order to be successful in business. But there is one crucial aspect of skills that cannot be applied to a mindset. Skills can always be acquired via learning. If you don’t know how to do something, there is always a way to find out. In the age of the Internet, a worthwhile skill can be read about, and indeed watched about, at great length. In this day and age, it is possible to get good at doing anything if you are determined to do so.

The entrepreneur’s mindset is ultimately more important. It doesn’t mean that an incompetent individual can become a multi-billionaire, of course! What it does mean is that your prevailing attitude will ultimately decide whether or not your business is a success. If you don’t have the right mindset, you shouldn’t even consider becoming an entrepreneur in the first place.

Expert in a Year

There is a video on YouTube that successfully underlines this reality. But it has nothing to do with business. It features an average man in his mid-twenties, by the name of Sam Priestley, who by his own admission has never been gifted at sport, nor benefited from particularly adept hand-eye coordination. But just over a year ago, Sam decided to accept a unique challenge. He attempted to become a world-class table tennis player, with the assistance of expert tuition from Ben Larcombe.

Now table tennis requires a huge amount of skill. There are physical aspects to the sport, but the overwhelming majority of the game is skills-based. So it would seem logical that to be good at table tennis it is more important to have a skillset rather than a mindset. Wrong.

Under Larcombe’s tuition, a YouTube video depicts Priestley working on table tennis every single day, beginning as a rank amateur, and steadily developing into a capable player within just a year. What Priestly demonstrated is that 100% commitment to something is essential in order to achieve success. With the right attitude and mindset, even a novice can achieve competence or better in a field that certainly does not come naturally to them.

All entrepreneurs can learn from this. Don’t make excuses about what skills you don’t have; don’t think that you can go into business with anything less than 100% commitment, and don’t make any excuses for failure. If you try as hard as you possibly can, with determination and dedication then this sky is the limit for any entrepreneur.

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