Mindset and culture: The engine and fuel to drive new business

March 07, 2024

Consider these three founders:


Founder one has been in business for over 25 years with a huge network of contacts. However, the market has been sluggish, and pressure is mounting to win new business. They’ve been successful for years, so drastic change seems unnecessary, plus they don’t have the energy for it. 

Founder two and his co-founder have found themselves out of alignment recently; his co-founder is advocating for a shift in the business direction that plays more closely with his strengths. It’s not escalated into a full-blown conflict, so he’s not worried – after all, navigating differences in vision is a common challenge among business owners, isn’t it?

Founder three has never worked in sales but has diligently implemented best practices to drive new business. But it’s not forthcoming despite her best efforts. The underused CRM definitely isn’t the issue, it’s got to be something else. Despite doing everything she knows to be ‘by the book’, the business has lost direction.


There’s a lot to unpack here, but there is one common obstacle which hinders these founders from being the all-singing all-dancing new-business-driving machine they aspire to be. Without recognising or addressing this, they will never unlock their full potential to win new business.


So what is it? You will likely have guessed it based on the post’s title, but the answer is of course: their culture and mindset.


Culture and mindset 101

When asked what is ‘culture’ within business, I say it’s about embodying an attitude of growth and accountability. A positive culture encourages individuals to reflect on their contributions to the business’ evolution, a willingness to unite, evolve, and actively participate in the journey. 


Mindset is about embracing change, becoming the driving force for innovation. It is underpinned by the founder’s attitudes, beliefs, and perspectives. It influences decision making, problem solving, creativity and plays a crucial role in shaping overall performance. 


If you imagine culture to be the engine, then mindset is the fuel. If the fuel isn’t the right type, it’s diluted or there isn’t enough, then it won’t propel the car forward regardless of the engine. Equally, a clapped-out old engine isn’t going to carry you across the finish line, irrespective of the octane you feed it. 


Needless to say, both need to be optimised to work well together. 


Culture and mindset hurdles

Let’s revert back to our founders to understand what hurdles they are facing. 


Founder one has been running a business for a long time, and it’s more than likely they are burnt out. Driving a business requires relentless energy – it’s tough out there! The mindset for change – or the willingness to – is not there.

Founder two is clearly at loggerheads with his partner, and this ‘elephant in the room’ has permeated into every single business decision, effectively halting growth – whether they care to admit it or not. This is clearly a culture issue – there’s no togetherness or unity to propel them forward. 

Founder three has got off on the wrong foot. She’s never worked in a sales role before, lacks experience, and therefore the vision to design an effective sales strategy. She also thinks that her processes are ‘by the book’, but how does she know what ‘good’ is if she’s not experienced what – actually – a ‘good’ sales process looks like? She also needs to put that CRM to work! 


How to overcome hurdles

Let’s be frank; some of these issues are really difficult to overcome. Change is uncomfortable, it’s scary – most people don’t like it. It can take months, sometimes even years. 


But the fact is – it can be done, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this now. 


Most of the founders I speak to are open about their weaknesses when asked to self-reflect, but I’ve often found their perception to be warped. As with founder three, accurately assessing your situation is challenging when you’re uncertain what optimum looks like.


You need (someone else) to hold up a mirror. 


Whose mindset is the fairest of them all?

Mindset and culture is part of a bigger picture when we measure business performance. 


It is the first of the four pillars we analyse at Gray Matters:

  1. Mindset & Culture
  2. Positioning
  3. Go-to-market plan
  4. Rev Ops 


When we onboard clients we score them to gauge their starting point and readiness for impending change. 


It might be surprising when I talk about mindset and culture first, when I start work with clients as it seems like the fluffy, creative pillar comparatively – but it is actually the foundation on which everything needs to be built. Without it, the business-driving machine won’t work properly.


We bring transformational change

We hold up a mirror to your business which objectively allows you to see what needs to be fixed. I guarantee it will reveal holes where you never realised there were any. 


I never said it was going to be easy, but we can help you enact change. All we need from you is willingness, a desire to adapt, and to bring everyone onboard for the ride. When a change in mindset and culture starts to happen, that’s when the future really starts to look exciting…


If you identify with some of the hurdles we’ve mentioned in this blog or you’re interested to learn more about the role of culture and mindset in driving new business, why don’t you book a call with me?