What makes a successful entrepreneur has been the subject of public debate as much as pop culture and entertainment for decades. Yet while a great deal has been said on the matter, it can often be challenging for aspiring entrepreneurs to distinguish between the helpful guidance and the noise.
This is especially the case given how much time and attention entrepreneurs tend to put into their ventures. With the demands and the uncertainties of an upstart, there can be little opportunity to absorb or consult useful external information – and, where the subject is as popular and ubiquitous as entrepreneurship, the information and viewpoints can vary in their quality and utility.
Keeping an open mind and a critical eye is guaranteed to pay dividends. Open mindedness – the quality of being intellectually flexible and open to influence – is essential in bringing entrepreneurs outside of the confines of their projects and ventures.
This is likely to run counter to some people’s instincts; a project can feel all-consuming, demanding all the attention of the person leading it. This urge is genuine and can come from good intentions – namely the aspiration to see the project through, succeed and take off – but it serves neither leaders nor their teams.
This is down to a number of factors. Chief among them is the risk of developing tunnel vision, which can be an almost obsessive quality – a sense that the only thing that matters is the project at hand, narrowing an entrepreneur’s frame of reference, focus and perception to the detriment of the venture. It can mean that anything outside of this narrow sliver of attention – for example, opportunities for growth and partnerships, as well as industry-wide and competitive analysis – becomes overlooked.
This mindset, which often develops involuntarily, is also a reflection of a poor understanding of the business’s place in the grander scheme of things. Of course, entrepreneurs need to passionately believe and drive their ideas, but they cannot labour under the assumption that their venture is the only thing that matters.
This is a profoundly narcissistic view and one that is not likely to translate into a sound long-term vision that can animate investors, co-founders and larger teams. Entrepreneurs that are removed from the communities and ecosystems they set out to serve are unlikely to succeed. Keeping an open mind and a curious attitude when it comes to outside influence – and the norms and trends shaping a sector – can guard against that risk.
It can also mitigate against the perennial risk of burnout, which is known to affect entrepreneurs more than their peers. This is because this group of people is likely to prioritise their venture at the expense of other nourishing activities like rest and spending time with one’s family and friends.
Having this balance is essential as it enables entrepreneurs to keep a fresh perspective and meet their diverse needs. This is documented under Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a prevalent framework in modern psychology, which sees belonging and esteem as necessary for human beings. While creating and scaling a business may fulfil some needs, it can deplete others and therefore a balanced mindset is needed.
Roman Semiokhin has tried to embrace these principles throughout his career and professional trajectory. A successful innovator, philanthropist and business leader, Roman has made a positive difference via a number of substantial contributions made in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic and wildfires in countries from Russia to Cyprus. He has also, via a number of ventures and initiatives, helped advanced industries ranging from agriculture to IT and medicine.