How to think like an entrepreneur

Today is World Thinking Day, which has got us thinking about how your thoughts can affect the success of your business.

Thinking strategically is incredibly important when building a business. For entrepreneurs and business owners alike, setting goals and implementing activities to achieve them is key.

But did you know, there are multiple forms of thinking you can practice?

A range of thought styles can help you to bridge the gap between blue-sky thinking and implementation within your work. This is something many new entrepreneurs struggle with; finding a balance between day-to-day activities and overarching strategies.

Four styles of entrepreneurial thinking

Developing entrepreneurial thinking is something we can all do - it just takes practice. By practicing the four different thinking styles - critical, integrative, strategic, and introspective - you will find these begin to come naturally when you need them most.

In turn they will support you in making better, quicker decisions that benefit your business, life, and wellbeing.

1. Critical thinking

Critical thinking is the practice of objectively analysing facts to form a judgement. It is best used when you need to react to a situation - for example, a change in regulations that will affect your business.

To best use critical thinking, work through the following steps:

  • Gather information and evidence relevant to the problem

  • Isolate the problem from the context in which it is presented

  • Apply relevant questions to the now-isolated problem

  • Make a judgement

Critical thinking can be practiced individually, but it does benefit from listening to other people who may be affected by the problem. Team members, industry experts, and even fellow competitors may help you reach a better judgement than by yourself.

2. Strategic thinking

Strategic thinking is the mental thought process of developing a plan to achieve success in a business endeavour. This is much more linear than integrative thinking (below), as it only considers the factors needed to achieve a specific goal.

Creating a strategy involves developing a foresight for your business, estimating the factors that may affect it in three, six, 12, or even 36 months in advance. There are two core parts to strategic thinking:

  1. Analysing abstract and rational data

  2. Synthesising findings into a realistic and probable plan

Strategic thinking should be routinely used to monitor your business, and keep your business plan up to date.

3. Introspective thinking

Introspective thinking is the process of examining your own conscious thoughts and feelings. This is one of the most overlooked forms of thinking by entrepreneurs, and yet it holds the key to unlocking a better form of working, and in turn, working culture when applied to a team.

If you are yet to practice introspection in your work, try following our Entrepreneur Journey Reflection Exercise to get started.

To practice introspective thinking on a regular basis, you could:

  • Hold a daily check-in with yourself, such as writing a bullet journal or trying meditation

  • Invite your team to share their thoughts and feelings - anonymous surveys often work best

  • Routinely review the results from the above practices and see the pattern they form

4. Integrative thinking

Finally, there’s integrative thinking. This is the process of integrating imagination, intuition, and reason to develop a well-rounded strategy. The benefits of integrative thinking include gaining better grasp of your business and mental health, and taking more of a holistic approach to your business that could increase its sustainability.

To get started with integrative thinking, try following our Digital Wellbeing Training, which will enable you to find your feet as an entrepreneur, learn to manage your time effectively, and strike a balance that suits you.

By practicing integrative thinking, you will be able to straddle the divide between work and life, business and mental health.