5 Myths and Realities of An Entrepreneurial Mindset

Tammy Y. Allen, Director, Marketing & Programs, The NIIC
Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

There’s a reason a small percentage of the general population pursues entrepreneurial ventures. Myths and misconceptions abound, which dissuades many.

Following are five myths and realities inspired by Dr. Donald F. Kuratko (Dr. K.), a national leader of entrepreneurship. Seriously, check out his biography. I had the pleasure of hearing him keynote The NIIC Ideas@Work Event a couple of years ago. He is inspiring.

Everything is impossible—until it isn’t.

The essence of an entrepreneurial mindset. Do what others say is impossible. You probably don’t have a viable concept, unless it scares you a little. What if Steve Jobs decided to play it safe and not co-found Apple Inc.? How would that have impacted our lives today? Think about personal computers and smart devices.

There is no future in “can’t be done.”

Business builders know the future is about finding ways to make things happen. Some of the most successful inventions and companies had to first overcome criticism, rejection and failure. Part of achieving success is pushing through them.

Take, for example, former Yale student Fred Smith. He wrote a paper on a reliable delivery service. His professor gave him a “C” and told him it was interesting, but not feasible. Smith later founded FedEx based on the concept in that paper. The company became the first “single carrier, door-to-door service, helping to deregulate the air cargo industry in America.” He ignored his naysayers and paved the way for reliable, tech-forward shipping. The win for us? Shipping and receiving overnight packages.

The secret to innovation is people.

Innovative people have the ideas and vision. As Kuratko said, “(They) recognize opportunity where others see chaos, contradiction and confusion.” It’s important to surround yourself with innovative people. Jobs had Steve Wozniak. Who is your Wozniak?

Dream, Create, Explore, Invent, Pioneer and Imagine. 

Kuratko stated these words define 21st-century innovation. Think about Airbnb, which was once an idea in some guy’s head. Or, consider self-driving cars. Entrepreneurs are dreamers, who find a way to turn their visions into realities.

The U.S. is ranked 1st out of 137 countries for “supporting the willingness and ability of new firms to grow and scale,” according to the 2018 Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index (GEDI). The Northeast Indiana Innovation Center (The NIIC) and our Women’s Entrepreneurial Opportunity Center (WEOC) are two ways you can get support for your venture.

Ideas are the key to innovation—don’t turn them off.

Do you ever let yourself daydream? Creativity sometimes comes out of letting your guard down, asking “what if…?” and ignoring “no” or “can’t be done.”

Disney World is the most visited theme park in the world, claiming eight of the top ten spots on the list. When Disney Founder Walt Disney first tried to get funding for his famous mouse, he was rejected over 300 times. What if he had not persisted? Sadly, there would be no Mickey Mouse.

“Innovation is seen as a vital aspect in the purchase decision, especially when it enhances the customer’s self-image,” Quirks.com. The vast majority of consumers (84%) are looking for innovation in their purchases. Don’t be discouraged by initial setbacks. Fail until you succeed.

Remember to dispel the myths and embrace the realities. And if you need help, contact us at The NIIC.


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