Tracy Tanner, M.B.A.

Tracy Tanner, M.B.A.

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Encouraging and Developing An Entrepreneurial Mindset

Why is it important to tap into our entrepreneurial mindset? It is not necessarily about starting a company but that is certainly one path to be taken. It’s more about the process and what is learned along the way. Some of the skills that may be developed are:

  • Self-Sufficiency
  • Effective Leadership
  • Strong Decision-Making
  • Confidence
  • Initiative

Encouraging an entrepreneurial mindset is more about the learning process than it is about the product or services. It’s about taking risks and following through on one’s ambition when acting on intuition.

My Story

Growing up in a family-owned business etched a sense of ownership, teamwork, and responsibility in each of us. One day my dad said he had to tell me something and asked me to sit with him in our den. I was only one year old. He started by saying that he was going to name our family business after me, Tracy Auto Parts, Inc. 

It was a full-service business complete with repair, towing, repossession, salvage yard, and car parts counter. I sensed the importance of the our private conversation because it was without any distractions. He said that my picture would be in the phonebook. Eventually, the tag line in the local phonebook’s yellow pages stated, Watch Us Grow As Tracy Grows. As I grew, I welcomed more responsibility.

Being the youngest of five, I was tasked with different jobs, especially when my siblings were at school. By the time I was 5 or 6, I sometimes would file paperwork or even answer the phone when my dad ate lunch. He would leave me in charge which gave me great confidence. I took my role serious when answering the phone, “Tracy Auto Parts, this is Tracy. How may I help you?” I even would represent our company when elsewhere which resulted in selling four tires to my principal when attending kindergarten.

I held this mindset close to me when I entered school and then ultimately in my career. Working at several Fortune 100 corporations with the philosophy of ownership and responsibility afforded me much success in any role assigned.

Raising a Young Entrepreneur 

Once your child has invested time, effort, or perhaps, even their own money into their startup, they are more likely to see it through and become successful business owners. Just like my dad did for me, I’ve encouraged my son, Nick, to explore his entrepreneurial interests.

The basis of an entrepreneurial mindset is self-sufficiency. Children may earn money from small chores around the home in order to adopt that sense of ownership, for example. As an alternative, simply giving them chores not tied to a money reward is imperative in encouraging teamwork. There are many small actions one may be able to take to set the stage for entrepreneurial development.

Educating a child at an early age to understand saving money is also key. For my son, he had saved some money so I took him to the bank to start a savings account at the age of three years old. The bank representative kept talking to me and disregarding him. I spoke up and said, “This is not my money nor my account. Please speak to my son.” I even refused to sign the paperwork and had him sign his name. The representative smiled when Nick signed NICK in big print. From that moment on, he has managed his own accounts.

When your child embraces challenges or roadblocks as learning experience rather than as failures, you’ll begin to see a flourishing entrepreneur before your eyes. This fosters decision-making, initiative, and, especially, perseverance.

We can encourage entrepreneurship by teaching:

  • Any idea is a valid business idea
  • Failure is okay and a learning experience
  • A profitable business requires continuous learning and tweaking
  • Creativity and innovation are competitive advantages

No matter how successful your young entrepreneur’s business itself is, the experience alone is invaluable. The key is to teach your child to be resilient and to keep moving toward achieving their dreams by continually applying the lessons learned.

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