The Entrepreneur Mind

100 Essential Beliefs, Characteristics, and Habits of Elite Entrepreneurs

The Entrepreneur Mind: 100 Essential Beliefs, Characteristics, and Habits of Elite Entrepreneurs by Kevin D. Johnson, 2018
This book teaches a lot of great entrepreneur lessons, with each point accompanied by pragmatic life examples.


A business can fail in two ways: not surviving beyond its start and not reaching its full potential.

Some of the reasons for failure include undercapitalization, overexpansion, poor planning, and a declining market.

One of the main obstacles to thinking big is the inability to outgrow your environment.

Many entrepreneurs lack the motivation to pursue big ideas.

People with the ability and the audacity to think big carve the path to greatness.

If your business depends on you, you don't own a business—you have a job.

Until an entrepreneur’s company runs without the founder, that person is just self-employed, the lowest rung in the hierarchy of entrepreneurs.

Just because you have the ability to assume a crucial role in your business doesn’t mean you should.

the reality of becoming an entrepreneur isn’t so much about the high probability or risk of failure as much as your ability to beat the odds.

Surround yourself with honest people who tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Be skeptical of a client who seems not to know what is needed or who constantly makes changes.

Entrepreneurs who have figured out how to make money while doing nothing have reached the upper echelon of entrepreneurship.

Companies that do not embrace change and reinvent themselves are headed out of business fast.

The most challenging thing to do in business is to stay in business.

Many nonprofits are required to spend money they received through grants that have very specific guidelines.

Ideas for my business now come from the most extraneous experiences. Without making a conscious effort to seek such new things, I doubt these inspirations would have come.

Placing yourself in new environments and exploring new things enables you to apply those experiences to other facets of life.

Some reasons not to form a partnership include covering your weaknesses and generating press coverage.

It’s one thing to rally a team around stodgy goals like increasing sales 35 percent for the quarter; it’s another to rally a team around a tangible enemy that hates you as much as you hate them.

No matter if you are in the initial stages of developing your start-up or if you are a developed company, don’t underestimate the competitive threat of substitutes.

The four most common reasons that a business idea is unfeasible and therefore has no competitors in the market are as follows:
1. No demand exists for the product.
2. The market is too small.
3. The business is not profitable.
4. The barriers to entry are too great.

Smart entrepreneurs not only focus on creating their business but also plan how to get out of it the best way possible.

If a person cannot see past the irrelevancy of your clothing to assess the relevancy of your idea, perhaps you should move on.

The idea of one person running a race against four others seems a bit ridiculous, but so many entrepreneurs do exactly that. For whatever reason—pride, fear, or greed—they think they can win by themselves.

Because attrition is inevitable, entrepreneurs and leaders of small companies must be committed to always looking for good talent.

Make sure that you pay estimated taxes quarterly to avoid being chopped by the tax ax.

When your company is experiencing high growth and increased revenues, strengthen your capital structure. For example, apply for additional credit lines or request an extension of your current lines. Moreover, apply for an installment loan if appropriate to fuel more growth.

The entrepreneurs who have strong pitches proactively declare their revenue while those who have weak pitches timidly hide their revenue.

A business whose founders are well-vested is a business that’s worthier of investment.

Should you ever have a financial problem with your business bank account or business credit card, your personal accounts will be affected negatively and vice versa.

Read everything on the D&B website, because it is an essential step toward effectively managing your business credit, which helps to drive down costs and improve cash flow—not to mention it could be the determining factor that helps you close a big deal to become a supplier for a major company.

An entrepreneur who has no interest in sales finds the best sales experts for the team to ensure the business’s success.

Sometimes people would much rather buy from a future Miss USA contestant (Chelsey) than an enterprising geek (me), no matter how logically sound the geek’s offer is.

Buyers don’t judge offers by the person making the offer; they can see past their own assumptions, stereotypes, impressions, and desires.

The likelihood of you doing business directly with someone you just met is small. However, the likelihood of you being able to help this person to find customers within your network is much greater.

The likelihood of closing a sale is directly linked to the preparation that goes into making that sale.

The passive entrepreneur serves no one except the competition by staying quiet.

Novice entrepreneurs often make the mistake of devaluing the worth of their product or service.

Companies that compete on price alone tend to go out of business quickly.

The value of networking in the traditional sense where random people meet and try to connect the dots is next to nil.

The simplest rule to follow in any business relationship is to treat even those who reject you like they are your biggest and best clients.

You can measure how badly an entrepreneur wants an idea to become reality based on what that person is willing to sacrifice.

One’ s level of success is directly related to sacrifice.

Training for and running a marathon is the closest experience to starting and running a business.

First-time entrepreneurs have only an 18 percent chance of succeeding; entrepreneurs who previously failed have a 20 percent chance of succeeding.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be successful, but it is the wrong reason to start a business.

If you are an entrepreneur and you don’t like Mondays, it’s probably time to do something else.

People who subscribe to the be-your-own-boss fallacy cripple their entrepreneurial potential and are in it for the wrong reason.

Knowing that your idea actually works and has impacted the world in some way is a feeling like no other. For many, it’s even a greater feeling than making the first sale or receiving the first payment.

Whether your business has anything to do with your passion shouldn’t be the determining factor in why you want to start a business.

The first level of motivation has to do with one’s desire to leave or to avoid a job because of unsatisfactory conditions, whether it’s a demanding workload, little freedom.

While entrepreneurs eat only what they kill, employees eat regardless of what they kill. While entrepreneurs don’t expect a steady paycheck, employees know exactly how much they will earn and when that amount will be paid. While entrepreneurs believe that the potential of their company is greater than the compensation from any job, employees define their potential within the confines of their company. Most importantly, entrepreneurs are motivated by an intrinsic sense of survival, and employees are motivated by an extrinsic sense of entitlement.

Entrepreneurs motivated primarily by survival or by maintaining a certain standard of living often don’t exceed the efforts needed to meet these goals. As a result, their businesses hardly grow.

Creating a great product or service that meets a need or solves a problem. As opposed to the previous two levels, only this level finds motivation within the context of the business world. Therefore, this level of motivation is most appropriate and conducive to high achievement.

The goal of entrepreneurs should be to align their motivation with their business’s objective, which is an element of the third and highest level of motivation. Once you achieve this level, your company has the highest potential for greatness.