We have spoken to hundreds of CEOs and leaders over the last two years and realised that the good ones tend to share similar traits. We label this the ‘leadership mentality’ and it is often most visible as a mindset that leaders demonstrate.

By thinking with this mindset from the start, and making it the pillar of all the business activities, other people will view you differently. Even if it’s just you sitting alone in a coffee shop on your laptop, your customers, suppliers and potential investors would have no clue. They would only see a great CEO.

The mindset of a successful entrepreneur is so influential because it determines how you think about and interpret situations, your emotional reactions, the decisions you make, and the actions you take. It directly impacts the quality of your relationships, the interactions you have, and the way you lead. It also sets the tone for your organization and determines the kind of experiences your people have in their work lives.

Whether you’re looking to build a cool side hustle or want to create the next Google, having a great leadership mentality is important. We looked at some practical ways that you can create this.

Understand your goals early

woman holding black Mission book

Do not get into a business that does not have a reason for existing. Develop a great company ‘mission’ – your reason for being.

Without considering the ‘why’ you exist and understanding what your purpose is, and why clients will require your product or services, you will struggle to get off the ground.

Planning is critical to success

Do not ‘wing it’ and hope for the best. Great ideas can die through bad planning and execution.

Take time and effort to create a solid business plan, incorporating long-term goals. This can include market expansion, team growth or even be profit-related.

Every successful entrepreneur needs to have a strong strategy for growth, but how do you go about it? Ask yourself, do you want to operate on a franchise basis, or build for a profitable exit? There are many options out there.

Think ahead rather than just in the moment

Everything you do at the beginning has a ripple effect on your business – maybe a year from now or even ten years.

Implement the processes and systems that you know will be needed in the future. Do some boring but important like create a company handbook – even if it’s just you to start with, including all business and HR policies. It may seem unnecessary or overly cautious, but it will get you thinking about what you believe in and help you become the entrepreneur you want to be.

Look the part

As shallow as this sounds, people just associate success with things that look the part.

Therefore, invest in branding. Try to hire professionals to support you with your website, logo design and marketing. Having a strong, visual brand in place will ensure clients take notice from the beginning.

What other entrepreneurs say

We realise we are not the only authority on subjects like this, so we’ve included some of our favourite insights from entrepreneurs that have been featured in our publications.

Build a good culture. You have the opportunity to build a culture from scratch so be sure to build a good one. At EngageRocket, we have built a culture based on transparency. We believe a transparent culture is where truth and courage can thrive and be an enabler for greater effectiveness.

Dorothy Yiu, EngageRocket

Patience, experience and perseverance. Be patient, and take the time to know the industry you want to venture in. Build up your experience, contacts and skills. These will help you go far. You have to truly believe in your business. When you have that, you would be able to persevere against naysayers and tough times, because there will be a lot of both.

Melissa Sim and Therine Goh, AdEasy

The key advice I would give is to make sure that you have a unique proposition and resilient people who will fit the culture you are trying to build. There will always be lots of setbacks and the need for resilience to the ever-changing landscape will be key. Secondly, I would advise any young founders in this region to prioritise their efforts and make sure that what is promised is delivered. I frequently hear stories of up and coming startups making various promises and not delivering on them. In these markets, you might not get a second chance.

Wendy Chen, Omnistream

The first thing is knowing and believing that you’re not the smartest person in the room, and that forces you to build a team of very smart people. When you can build a team of very smart people, you end up doing well for yourself. The second advice is to realize opportunities. When luck falls on your lap, you quickly take it and not question yourself. Listen to your gut and instincts. If you make a mistake, move on quickly, and learn from it.

Joseph Phua, M17 Entertainment