How many times have you looked at a job description and seen a variation of this phrase: “We are seeking someone with an entrepreneurial spirit?” There is a reason more, and more companies want to hire someone with a startup or entrepreneurial mindset. Entrepreneurs are seen as bootstrappers, problem solvers, and individuals who know how to get a lot done with minimal resources.
Entrepreneurial individuals are ideal teammates, however, there is a bit of a conundrum. These professionals are likely going to want to strike out on their own (either now or eventually). So, how do you tap into the “entrepreneurial spirit,” of those who prefer to work within a company? How can you inspire them to feel invested in your business’ success?
Every startup and small business can benefit from employees who have an entrepreneurial mindset, so here are some ways to bring out this trait in your staff.
1. Emphasize Shared Goals and a Team Outlook
Entrepreneurs fight for what they feel they have invested in personally. They feel a sense of ownership. Employees can do the same if you empower them to feel just as invested in your business as you do. So, discuss your goals for the company with them. You can even get their input on what the company’s focus should be. This concept could look like working with your employees to set business goals, and from there, aligning their personal goals with these broader objectives. This way, employees can directly see how their roles play a part in the company.
2. Encourage Them to Contribute Ideas
Many of today’s most influential companies allow their employees to engage in brainstorming and collaboration sessions during company hours. For example, some of Google’s most popular concepts were developed during brainstorm sessions. The company allows workers to spend a considerable amount of time strategizing about new initiatives that could help propel Google forward. So, as much as possible, set aside time during the week for workers to collaborate to solve some of your company’s most pressing problems.
3. Give Them Examples
Now, we aren’t suggesting that you provide them with homework, but we do think it is a great idea to introduce them to examples of the type of entrepreneurial thinking you want them to mimic. For example, share articles, podcasts, and book suggestions on a shared Google Doc or Slack channel. Introduce them to the work of individuals like Neil Patel, Seth Godin, and Sara Blakely. These individuals–and those like them—are consistently creating content around business strategy, growth, and entrepreneurship. So, give them some good examples of whom to follow in this sphere.
4. Invite Them to Ask “Why”
So, you and the leadership team are planning to roll out a new process or product, and you want to have a staff meeting to get their input. Instead of just taking this time to talk at them, and hoping these individuals go along with the plan, invite them to challenge your idea. Entrepreneurs are always asking the tough questions, and savvy ones will challenge the status quo. So, encourage your employees to respectfully “ask why.” Allow them to ask insightful questions about rollouts, and encourage them to come up with pointed ideas that can improve on what you are planning to offer.
5. Let Them Own Something
Autonomy is a huge trait for entrepreneurs. These are individuals who are wearing many hats and have to manage themselves, employees, and potential clients. So, self-management and ownership are critical traits. As a result, you want your employees to have the same vigor. So, allow them to own specific tasks from conception to completion.
For example, you may have a digital marketing associate who is handling social media, and an act of autonomy would be to allow them to manage the company blog themselves (choosing the content, setting deadlines, and creating strategies that boost engagement). This scenario doesn’t mean they cannot get your feedback, but the overall operations associated with the tasks belong to them. This situation enables them to feel as if they have a stake in the game as they own a piece of the process.
Again, entrepreneurship has become a buzzword for those looking to hire individuals today. However, before you determine that you want someone with this broad trait, identify the characteristics that will help propel your business forward. From there, you can begin to set up strategies that allow these entrepreneurial traits to shine and make your employees feel as if they are a part of something bigger than themselves.
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