There is a certain mindset that is exemplified in the startup community and with Scarcity and Abundance modeling might hold the key for us to understand how and why the shift happens to suddenly make the entrepreneurial folks feel like outsiders.
When you are starting out, your mindset is focused on abundance. The world is your oyster and there is a cornucopia of possibilities ahead. Your ideas and direction can reshape the world. There is hope! Entrepreneurs see the world as they want to make it, and therefore, see paths of successful outcomes.
The investors just showcased on the podcast series all talk about getting to know the person, the founder, as a key decision maker for their investing direction. They want to better understand the mindset of that entrepreneur and how grounded they are in their abundance beliefs. More than 50% of them interviewed for the book also look at the market-size as a key determining factor for investing. They look to see the potential for their investment and also to weigh the scarcity or abundance of the marketplace itself. “Are you going after 50% of a $100M space or are you going after 5% of a $1B space?”
Once the investments are made, often the conversation shifts to “bring in the adults” to shape the company and drive it forward. While it often brings in abundance mindset in their sales and marketing organizations who will ultimately fuel growth and propel the company forward, it also starts to bring in scarcity people who drive down costs and assess the risks for the organization. This is the correct approach for the organization who is likely not controlling costs and needs seasoned leadership to help improve the back office and operations of the organization. However, this is also the warning light that the entrepreneurial gravy train is about to turn and start making abundance thinking challenging.
As the company grows and the sales and marketing organizations push to expand the market size of the organization, the natural balance for that action is to drive down costs and streamline the company. Hopefully your organization will still have growth events (i.e. – international expansion, acquisitions, new product offerings, etc.), but the trend will be to assess risk and to mitigate them. This is a hallmark of scarcity mindset. There are a finite number of successful outcomes and the resources in the pie are limited.
Just like everything in life, there are pros and cons to every mindset. One of the best adages heard recently was “your greatest weakness is just your greatest strength – one step too far.” Each mindset has a purpose in our lives and in our organizations. But it is often the degree we use them. As an organization grows, there tend to be more scarcity mindset people brought on. It changes the dynamic from “growth” to “mitigate risk.” It is why you seldom see large enterprise companies or mature organizations with hyper-growth mindsets. It is not for a lack of smart people or seasoned veterans or even for people to be innovative, it is that the scarcity model has taken hold and no longer allows for the abundance mindset to be perpetuated.