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Business Formation – Mindset

Well here we are, ready to jump in. The first topic I would like to discuss here about business formation is developing the mindset to start, manage, and succeed in your own business. I want to start here because I believe that having the right mindset is the key to actually making this whole thing work.

I want to break the mindset down into 3 areas: personal confidence, personal responsibility, and personal independence.

Personal Confidence: This might sound obvious to you that you need personal confidence to be successful in a business, but I don’t mean good self-esteem or a positive self-image or what we commonly associate with personal confidence. What I mean is that you need to have the confidence that even you will struggle, fail, and go through some really tough times, you will get up again. This was a lesson I learned in boot camp in the most basic of ways… you need to make the decision to always get back up and keep on going, and to not give yourself another option. This won’t always mean to follow the same business model or even that you don’t start another business, but if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, you need to decide in the core of your being that you will keep going – and from that decision will come a confidence that nothing you come up against will sway.

This might sound a little abstract, but I am speaking from the experiences I am going through right now as I am attempting this journey that others have said would fail, or have laughed away as crazy dream. But I know what is in my heart, I know that people need help, and I am confident that even though I will come up against situations I have never seen before, I will keep going.

Personal Responsibility: Let’s face it, you are responsible to provide for yourself and your family. You cannot rely on your employer, you cannot rely on the government, you can only rely on what’s between your ears and the work of your hands. Are you ready for the buck to stop with you? Are you ready to stop making excuses or blaming others for your mistakes and owning your failures? Owning your own business also means that you cannot rely on the stability of a paycheck every 2 weeks, but instead need to manage your cash and your business to make it through the lean times. This takes a lot of self-control and deferred gratification. What I mean by deferred gratification is giving something up or working harder today so that you can benefit tomorrow. The most common point of failure for a small business is to run into tight times and out of cash. Especially when starting a business, the more money you can keep in and reinvest into your business, the stronger your business comes. If you start to siphon cash out of your business before it is mature enough to handle it or even taking too much out when it is mature, you will in essence “bite the hand that feeds you.” In the beginning years, you should work harder, longer, and be more engaged in your business to build it to a sustainable level. In this period, you need to take as little from the business while still supporting your family. Take a look at your personal and family budgets… where can you trim down the bills to put more money back into the business?

Personal Independence: So ultimately owning a small business and being self-employed is about having the personal independence to own the work of your hands, your ability to choose your journey, and to live your life. Do you have the confidence to stand on your own two feet? Are you ready to take responsibility for your life and live with your choices? If so, then you have personal independence within your grasp. Within independence is the freedom to succeed or fail, to be rich or poor, to live life to the fullest or become your worst slave master. Independence is not the end, but instead it is the beginning. Independence is getting off the sideline and into the race; where you go from there is the real journey. Instead of giving up your choice to your employer, government, or society, you take it back up again and choose.

As a way of illustration, I was recently reading in the book of Joshua, chapter 24, where Joshua is presenting the people of Israel with this same point of decision. They have been led out of captivity in Egypt and are entering the Promised Land. They are beyond dependence on their former life and have a choice about what is going forward. It is at this point that Joshua says the following to them:

14 “Now, therefore, fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:14-15, NASB)

Whether you believe in God or not, the illustration is one of decision. Joshua sets them up by showing them they are no longer tied to what was before and that they alone can make the decision about what they will do going forward. This is the mindset of personal independence – in the position to choose for yourself what your life will be about.

So I challenge you to examine where you stand and what is holding you back. Are you confident that even though you will probably fail, that you will also get back up and keep reaching higher? Are you ready to shoulder the burden of responsibility for your business, your life, and your family? Are you free to choose your way or are you still tied down?

I hope this was encouraging and helped you gain some perspective. Next week I will be back with another business formation topic about how to make the transition from employee to self-employed.

Keep Reaching!

Mark

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