The term “entrepreneur” doesn’t necessarily have to apply to the founder of a company. In fact, a collaborative study launched by Upwork and Future Workplace found that 90% of all the professionals surveyed considered an “entrepreneur” to be someone who “sees opportunities and pursues them”. In other words, anyone with a vision for their career could be an entrepreneur.
In any business environment, various personality types are essential to creating a fully-functioning work environment. That means that not everyone in your business needs to be pursuing their entrepreneurial dream in order for your organization to thrive. However, it’s worth keeping the entrepreneurial spirit alive in your company if you want to encourage passion, creativity, and innovation as your venture continues to grow.
Having an entrepreneurial spirit is about more than just wanting to start your own business, it’s about making sure that your company is always pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. Unfortunately, this level of inspiration can begin to diminish as enterprises begin to focus more on things like profit margins and revenue. So, how can you hold onto the entrepreneurial essence in your company?
1. Be A Good Example
As the founder or leader of your company, you’re bound to be the person that the other members of your team look to for guidance and inspiration. This means that if you want them to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit of passion and creativity, then you need to be a beacon for that same attitude. Every day, ask yourself what you can do to think outside of the box, innovate, and embrace new modes of innovation. This might mean:
- Leaving your office door open to anyone with a new idea
- Bringing different members of your team together for regular brainstorming sessions
- Sharing stories about your path as an entrepreneur with your employees.
Whatever you do, don’t let a sense of comfort stop you from evolving. In today’s highly competitive marketplace, it’s tempting to stay still when you think that things are going right for your company. Unfortunately, if you’re not moving forward, then you’re stagnating, and stagnation can be the death of a company.
Look at some of the biggest companies in the world like Google and Apple, and you’ll find that even during their quietest times, they never stopped thinking about the future, and what their customers needed.
2. Know Where You’re Going
A good way to keep hold of the entrepreneurial spirit in your company is to make sure that you don’t let rules and expectations hold you back. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have a good vision of the future guiding you forward. It’s important to know where your business is headed – or at least have a basic idea of what you want to achieve. When you have a vision in front of you, you can push your creativity and energy into the areas of your business that are most likely to generate the best pay off.
Remember, while it’s good to have a vision, don’t allow that vision to restrict you from new ideas and possibilities. Minimize the rules wherever you can and try to initiate a culture of questioning in your company. In other words, don’t expect people just to do something because they’re asked to do it, let people know that they can question things if they don’t think they’re acting in the best interests of the business.
When everyone’s focused on the same vision, it’s important that the people in your company feel capable of speaking up and talking about their discomfort if they think that whatever they’re doing doesn’t fit with your roadmap.
3. Reward Creativity
Innovation and creativity are what set entrepreneurs apart from the rest of the people in a business environment. The most successful entrepreneurs are the ones that get a unique idea and push themselves to work towards that concept, whatever it takes. If you want your company to have an entrepreneurial spirit as it continues to grow larger, then you’ll need to let everyone you work with know that you appreciate every idea they share – even if you don’t follow through with every suggestion.
Introduce an out-of-the-box culture in your workplace, where employees are free to share even the most outrageous thoughts they have in weekly brainstorming sessions or submit an anonymous suggestion to management. When employees embrace this creative mindset, reward them for their input too.
Giving your employees the credit, they deserve and incentivizing their work helps to lead to deeper insights and improved cooperation. Just make sure that the incentives you offer actually appeal to your team. For instance, if you know that your marketing team is obsessed with coffee, sign them up for a free coffee subscription service for a few months when their big idea leads to a breakthrough for your company. The more you reward people for their innovations, the more they’ll push themselves to break the mold.
4. Consider A Little Competition
Competition can also be a great driver when you want to develop an entrepreneurial spirit in your workforce. After all, entrepreneurs are constantly pushing themselves to overcome the odds and accomplish difficult things. The key to success is making sure that you handle your competition strategy with care. While a little gamification can be a great way for team members to push each other to be more productive, you don’t want your office to become so competitive, that the culture turns sour.
Keep an eye on the competitions in your workplace, and make sure that people feel comfortable speaking up about anything that makes them feel overwhelmed or stressed. Additionally, it might also be worth focusing on hiring the right kind of people when you’re building your business too.
When you’re adding to your organization, look for people who thrive in a competitive environment, and share the same entrepreneurial mindset that you had when you launched the brand. While you can develop a spirit of entrepreneurship within your team, it is easier to hire those people that already have it.
5. Introduce Plenty of Opportunities for Flexibility
Finally, there’s a reason why flexible and remote working has become increasingly popular in the modern workplace. Research constantly shows that people who have flexibility in their schedule are more productive and creative because they can organize their day around the times when they’re most likely to come up with great ideas.
Allowing your team the opportunity to choose their own flexible schedules or giving them the chance to work from home when they feel like it can make your employees more motivated, and it can also help to nourish the drive for better work/life balance that’s so common among entrepreneurs.
Still, just because you should be giving your team their freedom, doesn’t mean that it’s not important to work on some solid communication practices too. As companies grow and become more dispersed, internal communication can become more complex. Make sure that every member of your team feels connected to the rest of the business.
By Raj Jana, Guest Author
Bio: Raj Jana is the man behind the Java Presse Coffee Company. As his own business has grown over the years, he’s learned how to maintain the creativity and passion of an entrepreneurial spirit. When he’s not running his business, he likes to share his knowledge with the business world.