You can operate your business with two different mindsets, the one of abundance or the one of scarcity.
The scarcity mindset of people was defined by Steven Covey in his book the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People as:
“They see life as having only so much, as though there were only one pie out there. And if someone were to get a big piece of the pie, it would mean less for everybody else.”
It revolves around the idea that there is simply isn’t enough to go around. From a business perspective competitors are seen as enemies, customers are seen as rare.
If you have a ‘scarcity-based’ mentality in your business you might stress about what your competitors are doing. You might find yourself complaining about not having enough time, money, energy or resources to build your business. It’s the glass half full arguments. Unfortunately this can lead to a culture and focus on preservation rather than growth, risk free, internally focussed – working in the business rather than on the business.
Covey describes the abundance mentality as:
“… the paradigm that there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody.”
If you have an ‘abundance-based’ mindset you tend to focus on new possibilities. You work to ensure that what you are offering is different to your competitors. You don’t say ‘no’ – you say ‘how’. You develop a culture and an attitude of blue-sky thinking. Finding solutions rather than problems. If you have this mindset you are more likely to take risks on ideas and resources. You are willing to ‘put it out there’ and see what happens
The German statesman Johann Wolfgang von Goethe famously said,
"At the moment of commitment the entire universe conspires to assist you."
Scarcity based leaders can think of business as winning and losing. Abundance based leaders look for the win-win.
And while abundance based thinking does not guarantee success, it helps you remain open to opportunities. But – it’s not easy – some days when all you can think about it how to pay the rent this week – it can be hard to remain open to risk. When things go wrong, when cash flow is tight, it is easier to feel like resources are scarce and act accordingly.
But like any skill of the entrepreneur, you need to practice it to master the feelings and the actions. It requires constant effort and attention.
Six tips to shift your thinking to the abundance mindset:
- Focus time every day on working ‘on’ your business rather than ‘in’ it;
- Look at your customers with an appreciation lens – what are they doing well? Is that something you need to learn from, or does in re-enforce that you are doing the best that you can for your customers;
- Show gratitude to your loyal customers – who are your ‘raving fans’, how can you reward them for their custom?;
- Be organised (my favourite topic), then you will have more time to develop creative space in your day;
- Share what you have with others. Do you have a secret that’s not such a big secret but could benefit others – especially your customers?
- Stop comparing yourself with others. You are the most important differentiator to other businesses. ‘Own’ your story and be proud of your achievements.
If you have entered an industry that is growing; and, you have created a business that is different from others; there is no reason you should feel like success is scarce. There is enough pie for everyone!