All Blog Posts By Topic, Journalism, Marketing, Writing Tips

Embracing the Entrepreneurial Mindset

Thinking like a start-up company will increase your ability to come up with new creative projects.

John Murdock, an instructor from the Nashville Entrepreneur Center (, discussed the importance of content creators thinking like entrepreneurs during his July 11, 2014, session at the AAN Convention. “The will to create is encoded in human DNA,” he said. “And creation is the essence of entrepreneurship.”

Successful projects are not just about a great idea, but the person behind the idea. “If you don’t believe in your idea, who will? And if you’re doing it for money, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons,” he said, presenting the following key points for members of the media to pursue an entrepreneurial advantage.

Secrets to Entrepreneurial Success: How to Think and Act like a Start-up Company

  • Pinpoint your assets

o   Find something you’re most passionate about

  • Believe fully in your dream, vision or aspiration

o   Come up with a new idea that fills a need and holds value

  • Research market realities

o   Analyze the market, your competitors and your desired consumers

  • What do people want to buy?
  • Is there a consumer group for your idea?
  • Innovate and execute the creative idea

o   Work really, really hard

o   Be resilient, flexible and open to change

  • Products and services change quickly and don’t last long
  • Adapt your idea based on feedback and lessons learned
    • Most successful ideas go through entire revisions about 2.5 times before completion.

o   Feel empowered to make your idea successful

  • Don’t get derailed by an emotional roller coaster
  • Rely on others; trust

o   Build real, lasting relationships

o   Build and utilize a powerful professional network of colleagues, partners and mentors

o   Trust others to do their jobs and help you succeed; don’t feel as if you must do everything yourself

  • Find and take advantage of opportunities

o   Tap into social networks

  • Connect with people in your industry on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

o   Stay in motion

  • Attend professional and social events and meetings to make personal connections
  • Take intelligent risks

o   Don’t be impulsive. Think about the risks and benefits of what you’re doing as you pursue new opportunities.

According to Murdock, great entrepreneurs have the ability to move fluidly between having an “open” and “closed” mode of thinking—transitioning from idea to action. The trick is: “Don’t let perfection be the enemy of accomplishment,” he said.

How to Think in “Open Mode”

  • Allow yourself to openly brainstorm ideas
  • Make time and more time to flush out and revise your ideas
  • Be confident in your ideas
  • Don’t be afraid of humor (this should be a fun process)

How to Think in “Closed Mode”

  • Focus and create a plan based on your best idea
  • Execute your plan

Activity: How to Pitch an Idea and Think Like an Entrepreneur (45-60 minutes)

  • Come up with an idea for a new product or a project

o   What’s a new idea that fills a need and holds social value?

o   What’s the problem your idea will address?

o   What’s the solution your idea provides?

o   What’s the relevance of your idea? Why does it matter?

o   How will your idea make money, or impact change?

  • Draw a picture of your idea; include details
  • Draw the customer (or write a list)

o   What do they look like?

o   What’s their age?

o   How do they think, feel and act?

  • Pitch your idea to your peers

o   Present the idea

o   Ask for feedback

o   Revise your idea

  • Start over

o   In real life, you’ll do this 2.5 times before you finalize a successful idea!

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