Entrepreneur Mindset

Entrepreneurship and development go together. Learning to think like an entrepreneur, whether you run your own business or work for an organization, is a critical skill to be successful in business.

Entrepreneurs need to have a mix of skills at hand: knowledge of marketing, leadership, basic finance, operations, talent management, business management, technology and other skills. They need to have these skills since initially their companies usually consist of 1 or 2 employees and they do not have the luxury of having specialists.

Learning enough of these skills will give you an advantage. You do not need to be an expert in all of these areas. You just need to have a basic knowledge and be able to see an opportunity from all angles so you can have an overall picture. An entrepreneur’s mindset is a great advantage in business. Thinking like an entrepreneur forces you to look for opportunities which otherwise can be overlooked.

If you surveyed employers today, the vast majority would say they wish their employees were more entrepreneurial. This has been something employers have sought for the last 20 years and it will continue to be highly sought after.

There is another more compelling reason to think like an entrepreneur. No matter how happy you may be in your career today, there will likely come a time when you will want to make a change. This could be due to having a terrible manager, poor working conditions, a faltering company or you may just have outgrown your job. Either way, you need to have options. Thinking like an entrepreneur and having the skills of one, allows you to see opportunities and to exploit them.

Reasons to act like an entrepreneur

1 – One of the reasons is because you need to keep your options open to someday run your own business.

On average, you will never be as wealthy as you could be by working for someone else.

Moreover, you never will be “FREE” and, at some point in your career, being “FREE” may become a requirement for you rather than a preference. This happens very often with successful employees of corporations of all sizes and types. Consequently, many of them leave to start their own businesses to satisfy their need for freedom, personal satisfaction, the feeling of building something of their own and the opportunity to spend more time with family, amongst others.

2 – You need to learn to think like an owner and entrepreneur. If you adapt your attitude and acquire a feeling of accountability that comes with being an owner – you will stand out amongst peers and have a greater chance for accelerated career development.

3 – Learning to think like an entrepreneur helps you to see the big picture and this is crucial for your career development. The higher you move up along your business career ladder, the more conceptual skills you will need and the less technical skills you will need. Conceptual skills refer to the ability to think strategically and see the big picture.

Entrepreneurship, DEVELOPMENT and Innovation

It can also be argued that entrepreneurship and development of the economy as a whole go together. The distinguished Harvard economist Joseph Schumpeter argued that capitalism exists in the state of “creative destruction”, where innovation leads to new companies replacing old ones. Entrepreneurship leads to development. He viewed entrepreneurship as a catalyst for growth of the economy. He argued that it is entrepreneurs who are the driver for the sustainable long-term growth of the economy. Therefore, he argued that entrepreneurship and development of the economy are inseparable.


Most employees know their job well, but they are weak at understanding the overall business. Acquiring the mindset of an entrepreneur will allow you to see the big picture. You can set yourself apart.



Annualized Net Present Value (ANPV)

The annualized Net Present Value (ANPV) technique is the best method to use when comparing mutually exclusive projects which have unequal duration. ANPV is the most efficient technique to convert Net Present Values (NPVs) of projects with unequal duration into an ANPV for each specific project, which can then be compared.

To find ANPV, the following calculation must be made:

1 – Find NPVs for each project

2 – Divide the NPV of each project by PVIFAr,n (Present Value Interest Factor for Annuity) at the project’s required cost of capital and number of periods. The amount for PVIFAr,n can be found in financial tables.

3 – The project with the higher Annualized Net Present Value (ANPV) is preferred.

Alternatively, ANPV can be found by using a financial calculator, as shown below:

PV = use NPV

N = Number of periods over the duration of the project (e.g. number of years)

I = required cost of capital (e.g. 10%)

Find PMT = this will be the annualized net present value (ANPV)

Test yourself

ABC Corporation has two mutually exclusive projects A and B that it can invest in. Initial investments investments required for project A and B are $150,000 and $200,000 respectively. The duration of project A is 4 years and of project B is 3 years. Expected annual cash inflows from project A are $40,000 and from project B is $70,000. The terminal cash flows from projects A and B are $21,000 and $34,000 respectively. The cost of capital of ABC Corporation is 9% and both projects have an average risk, which means that alteration for risk adjusted discount rate is not required. The 9% for cost of capital should be used for both projects.

What is the ANPV for projects A and B?


By using a financial calculator, we can find the solution to this problem. First we need to establish the net present value (NPVs) for projects A and B.


Clear calculator: second function, “C ALL”

CFo: -150,000

CF1: 40,000

CF2: 40,000

CF3: 40,000

CF4: 61,000 (40,000 + 21,000)

I: 9

Second function, NPV: 5,534.28


Clear calculator: second function, “C ALL”

CFo: -200,000

CF1: 70,000

CF2: 70,000

CF3: 104,000 (70,000 + 34,000)

I: 9

Second function, NPV: 3,444.86

However, because the projects have different duration, we need to convert Net Present Values (NPVs) found above into ANPV for each project.


Clear calculator: second function, C ALL

PV: – 5,534.28

N: 4

I: 9

Find PMT: $1,708.26


Clear calculator: second function, C ALL

PV: – 3,444.86

N: 3

I: 9

Find PMT: $1,360.91

Since the ANPV of project A ($1,708.26) is higher than that of project B ($1,360.91), project A should be selected.

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Drowning at the office…improve your time management with these 15 tips

The Alarm

Image by Burns! via Flickr

To understand time management, think about what a wise person once said, you can live your life any way you want, but you can live it only once.

We could adapt it to:

“you can live your day any way you want, but you can live it only once.”

If you don’t have an effective time management approach, your days are going to zoom by while leaving you with the feeling that nothing really gets done. Theoretically, it is not possible to manage time. But one can manage what one does with their time. Effective time management approaches are therefore needed. Below are some of the main principles that can significantly improve your time management and productivity.

1 – Do not deviate from your schedule

There are many distractions around you throughout the day. The more you deviate from your schedule to do something unproductive, the less you will accomplish. Be disciplined, develop a daily schedule and follow it. This is crucial for effective time management. If something comes up that is important, incorporate it into your schedule. If something is not important, then stick to your schedule. Remember that more often than not, your daily activities determine your success.

2 – Have programmed decisions

Programmed decisions are decisions made about recurring activities. Such decisions are made once and used every time the need for such a decision presents itself.

For example, if you are a very ambitious and driven individua, a time management programmed decision can be:

“I decided that I must only watch TV up to 5 hours a week, only between the times 6pm to 10pm on weekends”.

Now, all you have to do is to follow it.

Initially every time you think “should I do my report or watch a show on TV?” you will remember that your time management programmed decision does not allow you to have this option. As long as you are disciplined in following through, it will become a habit, and eventually you will not even have this question in your mind.

This example of programmed decisions also offers you an additional time saver – less TV. Another example of a programmed decision can be:

“I must exercise 30 minutes, 3 times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 6.30pm”.

Now you no longer have to spend any time planning and deciding on when you should exercise. The decision is already made. Time management programmed decisions can save you an enormous amount of time, which can be invested in value-adding activities.

3 – Manage your energy

It is important to do the most challenging tasks when your energy is at a high level.

4 – Respectfully say, “I wish I could help but I do not have capacity”

It is very important not to take on more tasks than you can handle. It is an important skill to learn to say “No” when you do not have the capacity to incorporate additional activity into your schedule.

5 – Keep a positive attitude

This may sound irrelevant to time management, but it is. If you have a positive attitude and see opportunities rather than problems, you will not waste time and energy on worry and regret. Instead, you will focus on solutions rather than problems, and opportunities rather than threats and unpleasant events.

6 -Email routine

Emails can be a significant time waster. It is vital, if at all possible, to set a specific time during the day when you will attend to your emails instead of continuously checking them as they arrive.

You could, for instance, make a time management programmed decision about allocating 10 minutes in the morning to attend to urgent emails and 20 minutes in the afternoon to attend to the rest of emails.

Only respond to emails addressed to you or where your input adds value. The novelty of being copied on thousands of emails soon wears out but the time you already wasted on them can never be recovered.

The morning is generally when you have the most energy. Therefore, it is not productive to spend this time handling non-urgent emails. Do not let other people decide how you should spend your most productive time. You should spend it on the high priority tasks.

7 – The “Pareto” rule (80/20)

The “Pareto” rule refers to the tendency for 20% of your effort to account for 80% of the impact. For time management, it refers to the tendency of 20 percent of your activities to account for 80 percent of the positive impact from your work.

Therefore, it is an advisable and smart thing to identify those activities with the highest impact. Spend the majority of time on them while cutting down or cutting out unnecessary activities (activities with no or very little impact).

For example, if you are a student and your main job is to earn a degree, then you should be spending the majority of your time on things which help you obtain your degree. Focus your time on your studies and cut out things which add no value to your studies. You should definitely not be spending less than 50% of your time on your studies if this is your main objective.

8 – Delegate and delegate often

It is important to delegate what can be done by others. This will save your time for high priority items and gives lower level employees an opportunity to grow. When delegating, it is critical to delegate some authority together with responsibility. That is, you need to delegate the task together with the appropriate level of authority to make decisions. Only such delegation brings real value to both parties. If only the responsibility is delegated but every minor decision about the task is still made by you, then your time will still be used up on this task and the lower level employee will not gain the true developmental benefits that delegation can offer.

In fact, you may spend more time on the task should an extra problem be created due to the poor delegation of authority.

9 – Lower standards for lower priority tasks

Some tasks should just be done at “Good enough” level. Striving for perfection in low priority tasks is generally a waste of time that can be spent on more important goals. Time management is also about eliminating the obsession to make everything perfect, even things that do not need to be perfect.

10 – Alarm snooze time waster

Many people search for ways to get up in the morning. You probably know that resetting the alarm or putting it on snooze in the morning can lead to significant time wastage. Moreover, the quality of your sleep during such periods is very bad so you do not get a good rest.

It is, without doubt, very hard for many people to get up in the morning. It is customary not to hear the alarm or not remember any of the reasons why you should get up before you absolutely must get up. Yet, later in the day, many people regret  lost hours that they could have spent more wisely.

The best way to break out of this insanity is to train yourself to wake up exactly at the same time every morning. Our bodies go through what is known as basic rest activity cycles. When you awake a few days in a row at the very same time – your body will adjust your basic rest activity cycle so that it feels natural to be awake at specific time.

It may be helpful, especially in the beginning, to leave the alarm in another room so you physically have to get up when you hear it.

After you start waking up at the same time every day, a pattern develops, and you may not be able to sleep beyond the  time set by your “body-clock”.

If you miss a day or two and will wake up later than your normal set time, you will have to again train yourself to wake up at the set time and it may be almost as hard to train yourself as the first time. Therefore, it seems better to take a nap during the day if you need extra rest and get yourself out of bed at a set time in the morning.

11 – Group similar activities together

It is important to group similar activities together. For example, if you need to make a few phone calls, it is better to do them all at once. One simple rule that can be used to save time is never to leave your desk for just one thing. In this way, you are forced to group a few activities together before your work is interrupted and, therefore, work will be interrupted much less. This is a simple but very effective time management technique.

12 – Work passionately

Time management can be improved not only by reducing the time spent at the office, but also by enjoying the time spent at the office. Constantly look for ways to be interested and passionate about your work. This way you can do your best work and you can be more focused and accomplish the task faster.

13 – Avoid disruptions

Avoid all kinds of disruptions such as drop-in visitors, telephone calls and emails, magazines and newspapers, and news websites. Those activities can take up a large part of your time if you are not careful. Allocate some time from the least productive part of your day to deal with these type of activities.

14 -Avoid procrastination

There is a saying, if you have a frog to eat, eat it the first thing in the morning and, if you have two frogs to eat, don’t start from the small one.

It is a good time management habit to do the most difficult and unpleasant activities earlier in the day. This way it will be done once and for all and you no longer will have to occupy your mind with the thoughts on how unpleasant and difficult it will be do engage in such activity.

15 – Assign a “dollar” value to an hour of your time

You need to assign a “dollar” value to an hour of your time. Time is an even more precious resource than money, but, for some reason, people are generally more careful with their money then with their time. By keeping in mind how much each hour of your day is worth, you can be much more accountable for the way this time is utilized.