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How Your Mindset Plays an Important Role in Scaling Your Business

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You have already validated your product within the marketplace and achieved significant traction, and now it’s time to scale. Shifts to managerial processes and internal workflows are crucial to growing your business. However, another critical element to this evolution is expanding your leadership mindset from focusing on launching your business, to growing it.

Founders who only focus on external efforts most often fail to succeed accelerating growth and have a harder time managing to scale their businesses. Dr. Carol Dweck has done an extensive research on achievement and success and has discovered a truly groundbreaking concept. In her book “Mindsets: The New Psychology of Success”, Dweck explains why it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success, but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset.

This is one of the reasons, all the tactics, systems and strategies won’t help at that stage of your company’s development if you don’t have a strong mental game. Your mindset has to grow in lockstep with your business, and a fixed versus growth mentality can be a critical factor in achieving success. Let’s see why!

Fixed mindset entrepreneurs

This group has a defined identity and often uses labels and affirmations. They would see situations and qualities as unchangeable and their skills and capabilities as fixed. They may say: “ My experience is such that I won’t be good at/or successful at (some new task)”,  or believe that certain people were born leaders, or “the people’s type”, or communicative etc. The strengths and behaviors allowed them to successfully navigate the early stages of their business won’t be sufficient for scaling or could even work against them in the process.

The initial tactical approach needs to be replaced with a strategic one. That requires a shift in the mindset and identity, to see the bigger picture and understand what new behaviors and skills they need to develop in order to succeed the rapid changes coming their way. “Know it all”, keeping a tight control or not adapting are clear signs of a fixed mindset. How we choose to see ourselves and our identity can have a tremendous impact on our overall success.

“I think anything is possible if you have the mindset and the will and desire to do it and put the time in.” – Roger Clemens

Growth mindset entrepreneurs

This group is constantly evolving. Themselves and their businesses are never seen as a finalized structure. A company really grows by finding ways to serve a sizable market and/or constantly innovating and adding to their products or services. The same applies to entrepreneurs with a growth mindset. They seek ways to add to their skill set by not being afraid to be exposed to a challenging situation.

They are able to see the hard times as opportunities to develop a side of themselves they didn’t even know existed. They see themselves as a product of their experiences, hence they look for more experiences to help them expand and enrich their personality and skills even more. They don’t label or judge these experiences, they see them as an opportunity. The success of their company so far is a product of a number of contributions everyone on the team has brought in.

Data and feedback, negative or positive is welcomed and serves as a reason to get curious. That way of thinking enables continuous innovation and improvement. Change is always positive because it is not only a constant in business nowadays, but it brings more chances to evolve. Growth mindset entrepreneurs see the bigger picture of the journey, are more resilient and have more chances for a long-term success.

Here are a few ways to set yourself on the growth track:

1. Give up control and delegate

It’s absolutely understandable to have a tight grip on everything in the beginning stages. Most of the work is done by you, your co-founder and maybe another team member. The processes are not documented, so you’re used to overseeing everything closely. When it’s time to scale, you have to find a way to delegate appropriately. Not leaving the scene, but learning to trust and build your people up. Giving them the right tools to execute without you and helping them unfold their potential too.

2. Open up your mindset to see the challenges as growth experiences

The easiest way to do that is to simply ask yourself in the face or a difficulty or as a matter of fact in the face of success too: “What might be the opportunity here?” This will help you lessen your judgment of the situation and offer you different angles of how to solve the problem.

3. See the bigger picture

It is time to build the systems and most importantly to work on your strategy. As much as the creative side and the experimental phases are fun, scaling needs more structure. Instead of the immediate gains, seek ways to implement the tactical steps to follow the long-term strategy. Setting this in place will allow you to free up more time, so you can get involved in solving the harder problems. And this is essential to get through the threshold.

“Grinding is a mindset and a willingness and commitment to work at it.” – J. B. Bickerstaff

4. Take ownership

Take ownership of your attitude and leave your ego behind. Having a growth mindset is about being open to admit you can and will fail. How you see the difficult situation is what makes all the difference. Failing is a part of the learning process and the more you get used to sitting with these experiences and grow from them, the more your identity will develop. Adopt a perspective of being in the constant act of becoming and evolving. Everything that happens serves as a test to teach you what works and what doesn’t. You must be versatile and embrace change as something inevitable and beneficial.

It is great to be recognized as an expert, but when it comes to entrepreneurship, as Andrew Weinreich, a serial entrepreneur, said to me a few weeks ago, it is vital to have the basic understanding and general knowledge about the different areas of your business. You don’t have to be the best in everything, but curiosity and being open to learning new things constantly will help you connect the dots and see the big picture. It is important to understand how things fit together, so you see the opportunities for connections inside and outside of your company. That naturally leads me to the last point.

5. Celebrate the success of others

Celebrate the success of others and appreciate collaborations and partnerships. Noticing and validating the success of other people will help your mindset shift in a positive and more abundant perspective. Understanding that there is enough pie to go around for everyone is a game changer to your level of growth.

It will enable you to internalize your own wins as well and determine the qualities and skills you have acquired up to this point. Most importantly, it allows you to build deeper connections which can lead to more satisfaction and of course opportunities for your own business to grow.

You’ll be a part of the whole and surrounding yourself by successful people will bring you more motivation. Always seeking a “win-win” situation is the way to go if you want to build strong partnerships and expand your network for future positive ventures.

At the end of the day, you need to think big to achieve big results. Scalability has to do a lot with your mindset and building from that place makes a difference.

What are some techniques you use to level up your mindset? Comment below!

Vanya is a Professional Leadership Coach, certified by the "Institute For Professional Excellence In Coaching" (IPEC). Prior to her coach certification, she graduated "Sofia University" with a B.S. in History of Philosophy, where she began her journey to study the human experience and the powerful role of the mindset in changing behavior and achieving success. Her entrepreneurial nature and innate drive for personal and professional growth, balanced with a deep connection to purpose have led her to work with leaders, entrepreneurs, and founders. Her personal experience, moving to the USA at the age of 22, allowed her to develop the skills and mindset to navigate constant change, tolerate risk, and build resilience. Based in NYC, today she helps her clients to optimize their leadership potential, gain perspective, improve their productivity and time management skills and define the bigger vision for themselves and their business. You can find out more about her and her work on her website www.liveauthentic.net and her weekly podcast 'The Coaching Journal'.

Startups

How to Create a Winning Startup Culture

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Some time back, in my infographic on 51 Business Mistakes that most Entrepreneurs Make, I had outlined that one of the biggest mistakes is that you do not give any thought as to what you consider would be a great startup culture. And, without good policies or HR to keep things in check, the startup begins to develop a toxic business culture. (more…)

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51 Mistakes That Can Sabotage Your Dream Startup

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So you’ve got an idea. You know it will work. And, it means the world to you.

You are an entrepreneur and you think you can rock the world with this one idea that matters to you the most. And, you set out to form the idea into a startup that you are going to nurture and develop into a blooming business in the upcoming years.

However, I don’t want to throw water over your dreams but, I do need to bring this “optimist” you into the hard and cold reality…….. the reality which says that 90% of all startups fail.

Of course, this can bring a great deal of uncertainty into your life and you got to be prepared to deal with it. You are also going to face a ton of challenges in your life which will force you to grow as an entrepreneur. But, the important thing is that you stick with it.

Of course, as Charlie Munger (Warren Buffett’s friend) once said, “All I Want to Know is Where I’m Going to Die So I’ll Never Go There”. No entrepreneurs want their startups to fail after putting in days and weeks of effort into it.

So, a lot of research has been put forward into knowing what does actually sabotage a startup?

Fortune reported that the single biggest reason startups fail was because they do not identify what the market wants before setting up their startup.

However, it isn’t as simple as that. An entrepreneur needs to perform a comprehensive business plan before he sets out with his business idea. Also, you have to know whether your business idea actually suits you or not. If it doesn’t then, you either you need to fine-tune yourself with your business idea or you need to change the business plan so that it suits you.

And, it is only after that, should you venture upon your startup.
Now, is that all? Of course not. The problem most entrepreneurs face when they first begin their entrepreneurial journey is that they don’t know what they don’t know.

That’s where they tend to make a series of mistakes that may cause great harm to their startup.

That’s why I scoured for successful entrepreneurs to provide me with information on what they think were the most common mistakes that startups do. Plus, I also got tips on how to avoid these mistakes.

You can check out the original article here: 70 Mistakes Startups Make And Tips On How You Can Avoid Them

Now, it’s your turn to do some work. Let me know what you thought of these mistakes and tips that entrepreneurs commit. Do you know of any other mistakes that entrepreneurs do? Comment below!

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8 Key Factors That Discourage Investors From Putting Money Into Your Startup

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Today’s ideas are tomorrow’s winning businesses. Ideas executed brilliantly and with proper investment bring your business success. That is how the world of business got the likes of Apple, Google, McDonald’s, Amazon and so on.

But why in spite of the brilliant and promising ideas at the core of their business, many startups fail to attract investors? Why do investors hesitate to put their money into some startups? Well, investors have reasons and only by deciphering these reasons we could get hold of some deterrent factors that hold them back.

Let us explain some of the vital factors that prevent investors from putting their money in the startups below:

1. Inefficiency or Absence of Leadership Qualities

Inefficiency is the most significant deterrent factor for pulling the success of most startups. This can also be referred to as the lack of leadership qualities. Investors always want to make sure that they don’t lose their money through a company that has an extraordinary business model but no efficient and skilled business leader to make it successful. When fetching investment from investors, you need to offer a clear prospect and detailed plan of how you are going to achieve the goals.

2. Lack of Trustworthiness

An investor puts his money on a venture purely on the basis of the credibility and trustworthiness of the business. This is why besides having a sound business plan with clear objectives, you need to establish the integrity in terms of the security of the investor’s money and how the fund is going to be invested to give results as per business plan.

If an investor has a feeling that the startup may not have enough customers to fulfil its financial liabilities or if it finds that the business is hiding some information, it may further push the trust of the investors down. Total transparency and establishing the faith of the business brand are crucial for finding investors in favor.

3. Lacking Experience in Business Management

You have a great business idea backed up by a sound business plan and solid trustworthiness based on your background, but you have zero experience in managing a business. This is a serious reason for an investor to deny making any investment in your business. An investor cannot put his money just to allow you trying and learning your management skills the harder and riskier way. Uncertainty is the single biggest turn-off factor for any investor and lack of managerial experience is synonymous to that.

4. Business Model is Not Sound Enough

You have a business idea, some efficient, competent and experienced professionals as leaders, the great stamp of trust and pretty much everything that make a company look promising. But what about your business strategy and business model? Are they sound enough to take on the market competition and challenges for business growth? Well, this is what investors are most interested in.

In most cases, a business model is what makes an investor think twice and even take a backward step from investing in a startup. After all, your business model and strategy will decide how your business and products will be able to withstand competition and become victorious.

5. Taking Investors for Granted

This is a big mistake on the part of many startups. Just by becoming confident in the potential and the soundness of the business model and prospect, a business can consider getting investors on board requires just a little effort and time. But in reality, getting investors on board is the toughest thing a business can think of.

This is why without proper and meticulous preparation, it would be foolish to approach investors for your business. Most investors receive hundreds of such emails and a similar number of approaches through other means and they coldly just let them pass. This is why you need to send them very detailed proposals backed by strong recommendations and referrals.

6. Targeting the Wrong Investor

Every business has a target customer base, right? Not all customers are interested in every product in the market. Similarly, not all investors are interested in your business. Investors based on their prior experience and industry exposure, put their money in businesses that they know like their own palm of their hand.

So, targeting an investor who has no interest in your business will only drain your energy and bring you unnecessary frustration. When you are seeking investors for your software startup, don’t approach someone investing in real estate business.

7. Non-Realistic Proposal for Funds

Investors normally come with huge experience of your industry and so they have a clear idea about the fund requirements for your business startup. Moreover, they already have invested in other ventures or have gone through many proposals. Naturally, they have every bit of estimate already in their mind. So, any proposal claiming a lofty and unrealistic amount will only face rejection.

This is why it would be wise to become meticulous about your estimation of the required fund and calculation of various cost factors. Have meticulous details about every facet of investment backed up by breakup of the costs. Only when you can convince them with correct estimation, investors can take interest in discussing the matter further.

8. Make Sure Your Product Solves a Customer Problem

Will any investor put money in building a simple calendar app now? No, simply because such an app idea has no value for the end users now. Will an investor put money in a product that has already been outdated and has no use? No, no investor has to even go through such a proposal for dismissing them.

Well, to fetch investment, your product must be thoroughly customer-centric. It not only has to solve a problem but has to deliver some competitive value in comparison to similar products in the market.

Obviously, finding an investor for a new business is not an easy task, considering the huge competition that businesses need to deal with. But, if your business idea is unique and you fill all those requirements correctly as mentioned above, finding investors may not be as tough as it sounds.

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5 Must Have Branding Tools for Your Startup

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Your brand is more than just the colors on your website. And for startups, it’s important to create a strong and memorable brand from the beginning if you want to stand out from the competition, scale your company, and find your ideal customers faster.

Here are 5 simple tools that will help your company avoid branding mistakes, take charge of your visual identity, and set a solid foundation for future growth:

1. Graphic Design Software

The word “design” doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Before deciding on your startup’s logo, colors, designs, and overall tone, consider working with a brand strategist who can translate the core ingredients of your startup into a visual identity that speaks to your target market.

Brand strategists have expertise in the psychology of colors, shapes, textures, and words, and they will work with you to make sure that your branding appeals to your target audience. Once you have those basics of your brand established, there are several tools that can help your company refresh and maintain your visual identity.

The absolute best graphic design tool for non-designers is Canva. While the free version has a lot of functionality, the paid plans offer more customization such as the ability to import your exact brand fonts and colors.

But if your company handles all of your design in-house, you will need something more advanced than Canva. In that situation, I would recommend Adobe Creative Cloud to startups who work on their designs in-house, as it includes top-notch design software like Photoshop, Illustrator, Lightroom, InDesign, and more.

“Branding is what people say about you when you are not in the room – Jeff Bezos

2. Visuals & Creative Imagery

Have you ever wondered where your competitors get those beautiful branded photographs that end up on their website? While it’s possible that they worked with a photographer, it’s also likely that much of their imagery comes from stock photos.

Here are my recommendations on the exact places to purchase stock imagery to improve your company’s branding:

  • Creative Market – A treasure trove of quality visual imagery where you can buy anything from stock photos, to branding mockups, to social media templates (Facebook cover photo, anyone?), to custom fonts… the options are nearly endless.
  • Adobe Stock – Beloved by designers, and the platform offers tiered pricing plans based on your image needs and download quantity.
  • Pixels – If you’re on a tight budget and just need to grab an image or two for a blog post, you may be able to find what you need on Pixels – which is great because all of the photos and videos on Pixels are free!

3. Social Media Scheduler

You’re a leader. You’re an entrepreneur. Your staff, board, funders, and admirers depend on you to make big decisions, lead the ship, and plot the vision towards your company’s future. You don’t have time to stare at a blank screen every day wondering what to post on Facebook.

By using a social media scheduling tool, you can sit down for a few hours, schedule batches of content, and schedule the dates and times when it will post to your accounts over the next couple of months. Then, once the content is posted, you only need to worry about responding to comments and engaging with your customers. 21st century efficiency at its finest.

Popular social media schedulers include Buffer and Hootsuite, both of which include free and paid plans. Not sure what exactly to post? Check out these social media ideas from influential businesses. And if the idea of writing and planning months of content still overwhelms you, our next tool will help you stay organized and on-brand.

4. Editorial Calendar

When it comes to your content, it’s time to step it up a notch and start thinking like a media outlet. Every piece of content that you put out as a company, whether it’s an e-mail blast, blog post, social media post, podcast, or video, needs to be aligned with your brand.

Each major magazine maintains an editorial calendar which outlines the overarching theme for each of the upcoming 12+ months. By establishing a monthly content theme in advance, they create a framework to generate and organize their ideas.

Consider creating an internal editorial calendar that will guide your startup’s content over the next 6-12 months. The software tool you use to maintain your editorial calendar isn’t that important — I like to use Trello, but you can also create a simple numbered list in Google Docs or Microsoft Excel. You may be surprised at how quickly the creative juices flow once you have an editorial calendar in place.

“Design is the silent ambassador of your brand.” – Paul Rand

5. In-Person Networking

Offline efforts count towards your branding too! And if you run your entire startup from behind your laptop screen, you miss out on ample opportunities to build your business offline and gain local referral partners.

If you’re new to in-person networking, start by visiting Meetup.com or Eventbrite.com where you can browse for events in your area. Think outside the box when it comes to selecting events to attend. For example: If you’re a chiropractor, it makes sense to attend local holistic health meetups. But you could also attend a travel event and meet digital nomads who don’t yet realize that a chiropractor can help them recover after long plane rides.

Remember that you’re not at the networking event to make instant sales, you’re looking for referral partners and connections. Don’t be the person who tries to shove your sales pitch down everyone’s throat upon meeting them.

As you can see, there are many simple online and offline resources that can help you spruce up your branding, reach new customers, and pique the interest of your target market. If you take branding one step at a time and start with the tools above, you will be well on your way to creating a brand that your customers will cherish and remember.

Have you used any of these branding tools before? Are there any additional tools that have helped your startup’s branding shine? Share your thoughts below!

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