London’s business environment today is often seen as a jungle, where competition is fierce and the law of evolution applies; it’s indeed the survival of the fittest. The list of preferred characteristics one needs to possess in order to “fit in” at a certain company, or to assume a particular position, is constantly growing, and seemingly near impossible to meet. A clear trend nowadays is that employers are demanding their employees are “entrepreneurial”. But what does it really mean?
The word “entrepreneurial” is really just the adjective form of the noun “entrepreneur”, which by definition means “a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit”. Although there are some exceptions in terms of innovative firm with lots of capital, we can assume that employers are probably not encouraging the employees to start their own venture, since that would mean leaving the company. This leads us to the conclusion that they instead must be looking for characteristics that are common among successful entrepreneurs, in other words an entrepreneurial mind-set.
The purpose of this article is to provide a few hands-on tips on how you can become entrepreneurial at work. The basis for the tips provided is collected from a sample of articles and studies of and by successful entrepreneurs, and summarized into the short checklist below.
Photo: Tom Ellefsen/Flickr
1. Bring Your Passion to Work!
Passion is a fundamental ingredient for starting your own venture. It is in fact a driving force to turn any idea into reality. Having passion for your projects and being dedicated to them hence indicates that you have entrepreneurial spirit.
Passion is also a source of motivation. When working long hours during the week and spending the weekends trying to catch up with private chores, it can be hard to allocate time to your hobbies and recreational interests. A solution to this is to bring them to work! Find a way to incorporate them into your job and time at the office. This may be a bit tricky depending on where your passion lies, but what greater opportunity to be creative. Why not start a running club during lunch hour, or arrange an event for your colleagues as a team building exercise or educational opportunity? It will not only allow for you to dedicate time to your passion but also keep you motivated when conducting your remaining work tasks and enable you to share it with your co-workers, managers or employees.
Photo: Martijn van Dalen/Flickr
2. Make Magic with Small Numbers!
Resourcefulness is a common, if not necessary, characteristic among successful entrepreneurs. Working with limited capital does not constrain creativity, rather it enhances it as it requires a certain degree of outside the box thinking. At the annual Entrepreneurship Forum this year, Jarno Vanhatapio, Founder of Nelly.com, explained in his keynote speech how to do marketing outside the box that is both free and viral. In the upstart of Nelly.com, when their budget not yet allowed for costly marketing campaigns, they hosted fashion shows at popular Swedish nightclubs, using friends of the team as models.
Will being careful with the company’s resources perhaps always should be pursued to some extent, making additional effort to become more resourceful is a good way to show your entrepreneurial spirit at work. Try to make the most of what you have and be creative despite budget constraints.
Photo Credit: Greg Westfall/ Flickr
3. Be Inspired by a Mule!
To be “stubborn as a mule” may not sound like a characteristic to strive for. Nevertheless, without persistence, no entrepreneur has ever managed to turn an idea into a profitable venture. Rome was not built in a day, and likewise starting a business is not solely a bed of roses. Along the road to success there are several obstacles to overcome, which requires a great deal of dedication. “Quitters never win”, surely is a saying all successful entrepreneurs would agree on is right.
Being confident and dedicated to your projects will thus enhance your entrepreneurial glory. It shows your colleagues, and managers or employees, that you have faith in your ideas and are not a quitter. Don’t be afraid to be a little stubborn too, fight for what you believe in and never give up.
Photo: Steven Depolo/Flickr
4. Utilize your Sponge-like Qualities
Entrepreneurs have to be experts at what they do. It is crucial for their success to stay up-to-date (if not ahead) of changes and trends among customers, industries and markets. They are of spongelike nature, soaking in everything from their environment, trying to learn as much as possible, and form various fields too. Entrepreneurial gurus master the art of association. Steve Jobs once said “creativity is just connecting things”, hence why new discoveries and knowledge should come from a broad range of sources.
In London’s vibrant business environment there are plenty of opportunities to learn from new sources and take inspiration from other fields of business. Take an evening class or attend business events with topics you possess little previous experience in (check out the upcoming SCC events). Do not let the fact that the subject has little direct connection to your work stop you, after all no innovation has been created by doing things the same way.
Now go forth and be entrepreneurial!