When most people think about entrepreneurship, being entrepreneurial or entrepreneurial management, they often conjure-up an image of someone running their own business, the “boss”, who is autonomous in the choice of time, manner and place of business. This lay persons’ stereotype of an entrepreneur is not necessarily completely correct – like most stereotyping! In today’s economy it is more important than ever for success in business to make time, manner and place contingent on generating the best possible bottom line no matter. As a self-employed person, a business owner or an employee, working diligently to increase positively the bottom line is key to successful entrepreneurship.
In the past few decades’ companies are more and more focusing on the need to engage all employees in a culture of working actively towards the goal of individual contribution to the financial statements as an asset not an expense. From this employees are nurtured into being innovative, managing change and being actively opportunistic in any and every activity that will strengthen the organization’ brand, generate revenue or save the company money. In this way all employees, especially managers, are nurtured into entrepreneurial management, as they constantly look to improve the organization’s revenue-generating capacity. Fostering this type of organizational culture requires one to breaking down previously-built, stereotype corporate structures to make way for employee innovation, change and opportunity capitalization.
So as a employee how can you be an entrepreneur and focus on entrepreneurial management as a core responsibility of your job position? You might say, I just work for a company as a low-level employee, or, I’m just in In middle management with rules, regulations and structures all around me. While this may be true, there are always opportunities to be entrepreneurial no matter in what capacity you work. This is because an entrepreneur or entrepreneurial manager is someone who looks for new opportunities and attempts to organize resources in a new and valuable way in order to capitalize on a new opportunity. Indeed, viewed from this perspective you may already be an entrepreneurial manager or perhaps you may change your perspective of the stereotype entrepreneur to see how you could be more entrepreneurial within your place of work.
The technical or academic definition of an entrepreneur, or the function of entrepreneurial management, is of a person who looks for new opportunities and attempts to organize resources in a new and valuable way in order to capitalize on a new opportunity. I tend to agree with this definition but would also add that improvement of systems or process that contributes positively to the bottom line of a company also is a way of being entrepreneurial within a company. The key difference from say just being just an employee working within company structures is to think constantly about how resources can be reorganized in a new way that adds value to the business.
In order to develop yourself as a corporate entrepreneur, or start to develop an entrepreneurial management culture within your organization, you might consider the following:
1. Understand the business and the industry: Take the time to understand the business you’re working for and the effect your position has on the company.
2. Become a company problem solver: Always be on the look-out for solutions to problems. Learn how to analyse situations and come up with at least two reasonable solutions.
3. Always be thinking creatively: Use a broad range of methods and models to analyse and synthesise problems and opportunities. After analysis try to make clear judgement about solutions and how they will affect the company bottom line.
4. Build your network: Build a network of allied professionals within your company and externally to the company and use them to be more effective and efficient in your job position and for benefit of the company.
5. Speak up: Don’t be afraid to tactfully spearhead the conversation about opportunities with colleges and supervisors/management. Challenge the status quo.
6. Be open to learning: Always take the time to learn and grow within in your job position and within areas of the organization where you can contribute. This will undoubtedly keep you able to continuously be looking forward for new opportunities and ways to structure resources for positive benefit.
7. Have an open mind: People who wear blinders miss great opportunities – I’ve seen it a million times!
Although being entrepreneurial within a corporation does have its limitations, the rewards for entrepreneurial successes can ultimately put you on a path of being noticed within your company and the job satisfaction and monetary rewards that go with promotion. That’s entrepreneurial management!