Running your own business has more than its fair share of ups and downs. Staff, vendors, customers, competitors – all vying for your time. A ‘normal day’ running your business is stressful enough but add to that the inevitable problems that come about in business and you can easily get discouraged.
The solution? Cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset throughout your organization.
A customer is mad because something didn’t go as planned, you are short-staffed because two staff members are on vacation the same week, vendors late delivering supplies needed to complete a project you’ve had scheduled for weeks, the list goes on.
These are all annoyances getting in the way of your business — or, could they be clues on how to grow your company? I want to challenge you to look at problems in a different light. Problems are GOOD! Why? They are growth opportunities for cultivating entrepreneurial mindsets throughout your organization’s team.
Problems Are Your Mirror: Embracing An Entrepreneurial Mindset
I can hear the head-scratching from here. Problems– Good? How the heck do problems benefit my business? Problems are blessings in disguise because they help shine a spotlight on areas of your business that you need to fine tune. Trust me; if you hear about some problem, I will almost guarantee it has happened multiple times before that you haven’t heard about – at least this time you have an opportunity to address it and prevent it from happening again.
Think back to when you first opened the doors of your business, or what lead you to open the doors of your business. Maybe you were an employee of a business, and you saw ways you could improve or take a new approach to your market. Perhaps you were fed up with the way things always had been and wanted to do it another way. Or maybe it was a long-held dream of yours to open up your own enterprise.
That tenacious, can-do, go-for-it attitude that brought you to flip the switch on your metaphorical “We’re Open” sign is your entrepreneurial mindset. All of the obstacles to opening your business – were opportunities! Scaling, growing, hiring, building – all those mountains you conquered added the strength and vigor to the business empire you’ve grown today. But, something shifts as we ride that momentum and grow. We develop more protocol, create more systems, and sometimes we disconnect with that original spirit of innovation, that entrepreneurial mindset. The key to reconnecting? Problems!
Problems: The Breakfast Of Entrepreneurial Giants
Problems are so critical to the growth of a business that I’ll say if you AREN’T seeing problems from time to time then your people probably aren’t telling you everything, and you most definitely aren’t making the changes in your business to help you move towards your goals.
An entrepreneurial mindset is an essential quality in business, but it doesn’t have to live at the executive level of an organization. The very best of leaders create an environment for individual contributors to bring their own entrepreneurial spirit to the table.
What Does An Organization With An Entire Team With An Entrepreneurial Mindset Look Like?
Cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset throughout your organization means that all employees, no matter their title, are:
- Empowered to think creatively
- Innovative in their role
- Curious about how to improve the company or better serve customers
- Take risks confidently
By leading in a way that encourages others to innovate, you create a workplace where employees see themselves as the entrepreneur of their position. You create the space to allow individuals to dream big, to be responsible for themselves and to contribute to something more. With that environment, individuals and the company can reap significant benefits.
In 2014, strength-based leadership development experts Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman performed an analysis of the 33 top leaders at a major telecommunications organization and established traits that made those leaders effective. Some of their findings included creating a culture that magnifies upward communication; setting stretch goals and emphasizing speed.
The Fruit Of Problems Paired With An Entrepreneurial Mindset? Higher Levels Of Innovations And Success.
When you’re overflowing with ideas, how do you say “No” to too many ideas as an executive?
“Hey, I really want to discuss this but can we push it to our Friday meeting?” Or for the overly creative on your team, ask them three questions and actions to hone their idea and refine their offering.
What If A Team Member Is Going After A Bad Idea?
If they’re proposing after a really “bad” idea that’s not aligning with the current projects or doesn’t feel like a good fit, don’t shut it down; rather, offer positive feedback with an alternative. Offer a response along the lines of:
“One thing I appreciate about you is your very thoughtful. I’m not really in love with this idea, but don’t stop generating ideas.” or “I really like this element of the idea, but maybe develop this side of it!”
Or if you use a Traction focused system in your business- add it to the queue: “Let’s add it to the Traction To-Do/Issues list.”
#1 Key To Nurturing An Entrepreneurial Mindset In Your Employees: Choose Your Words Carefully
Here, it’s worth repeating:
Choose Your Words Carefully.
Try to not shut people down. Let them know you value what they are bringing to the table. People don’t remember what you say but how you say it.
Good leaders encourage a culture where every team member’s ideas are heard and valued. They’re open and imaginative — and they support those traits in their employees.
So grab your favorite spoon, your favorite bowl, and grab the milk from the fridge: Problems really are the breakfast of champions – they allow you to see what things you need to improve on so you become a better business. If you are re-encountering the same issue repeatedly, then clearly you didn’t really solve it the first few times around – you’ve learned what doesn’t solve the problem so keep swinging away on this!
Welcome problems in your business and see them as opportunities for incremental improvement – then ask for a second helping!