Entrepreneurs need to work on mindset – Bangkok Post

Start by viewing everyone around you as people with unique needs and aspirations that must be met
published : 19 Dec 2022 at 07:08
writer: Arinya Talerngsri
I admire entrepreneurs with a genuine passion for building a business that solves problems. As an entrepreneur, I am familiar with dealing with the day-to-day pressures that a small and fledgling business entails and the challenge of just keeping a business going.
At the same time, however, I must keep an eye outward on what is changing and what new possibilities are emerging. It is not an easy task, but it is an important one.
Like many entrepreneurs and small business owners, I started with a passion for something better. In the early days, I spent my energy making sales and deals and growing my business. Looking at every detail was essential.
However, the pressure decreased somewhat when I started taking a more outward view about six years ago. It improved considerably and allowed me to evolve my leadership and approach to work when my top people and staff also made this jump.
Every entrepreneur, family business owner, and professional manager lives, eats and sleeps the business. It goes with the territory. But those who cannot shift their thinking and mindset outward can make their job more difficult. It is difficult to lead your people to be passionate about the mission.
Unless you take the time to see your collaborators, co-founders and family members involved in the business as people, it is difficult to avoid derailing clashes and simmering bad feelings. Without taking time to see people as people, it is difficult to get into the headspace and needs of potential investors. From my own experience, the quality of business discussions goes up immeasurably, as do the possibilities of taking your conversations to a new level.
Founders and entrepreneurs are used to finding out what customers want (so they can build better), but many will find it less natural to get truly outward. Even if you see the people who joined you early as trustworthy pioneers, with skin in the game, not taking time to see them as people can stop you from helping them build a fulfilling and more beneficial future at the company.
In my organisation, I have seen career transformations in which people who had been with me for a long time created new and significant outcomes. These would never have been possible if I had not personally shifted my mindset outward to their needs. And guess what? They demonstrated the same approach and impact leading their people.
If you are an entrepreneur or founder interested in shifting your mindset and the mindset of your people, you may well be asking how? Here are some ideas:
Understand your investment. The right mindset is not some soft, intangible nice-to-have that will divert precious resources from more pressing needs. It is an investment in the present and the future that will create new possibilities and better ways of working and relationships. These are essential, and you and your people need to be clear on the potential value this can create.
Start with you. As Gandhi said, “Be the change.” This is 100% essential. I have seen industry-leading results in organisations whose CEO made this shift. I have also seen it in small teams. In every case, if you are not prepared to make the jump yourself, nothing will happen. That means you have to set time to work on yourself and again see this as a part of improving the business and your leadership.
Embed mindset in your recruitment and development processes. And subsequently in your business culture. Ensure that you are getting and growing the right kind of mindsets in people for the future. It is much easier to start early. It is important to understand that the right mindsets create opportunities that even those with pertinent skills cannot.
I think this mindset is essential for empathy and design, which are critical skills for all businesses in the future. In the words of a mentor of mine, Khun Anupong Assavabhokhin, chief executive of AP Plc, it is important for new graduates, employees and entrepreneurs to have the skills necessary for the work of the future.
Make mindset part of your company language. Change takes time, and people change at different rates. As the leader, you must manage those who oppose change, but, naturally, people will struggle and relapse. You need to recognise and encourage people to act with the right mindset and outward to each other and outsiders. This manifests in people doing things differently.
Offer support and feedback when people slip. Ensure your policies and systems support people being outward. Startups and small businesses often have much more flexibility than corporates, but this can work both for and against you. The more you talk about it, the more it will be adopted.
As a leader, consultant and business owner, I know it is easy and feels good to focus on improving your marketing, sales or service offers. But success here can be dangerously temporary because nothing changes for the better until you do.
Today’s world is full of constant change, so it makes sense to adopt a mindset that makes you more outward and sensitive to change so you do not find yourself disrupted.
More importantly, your people will drive your future business success (or cause its failure). Seeing them and valuing them as people with unique needs and challenges — and ensuring they take the same view of each other — is the best way to ensure the former rather than the latter.
Arinya Talerngsri is Chief Capability Officer, Managing Director and Founder at SEAC – Southeast Asia’s Lifelong Learning Centre. She is fascinated by the challenge of transforming education for all to create better prospects for Thais and people everywhere. Reach her by email at or
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