I’m sharing a guest blog from a fellow entrepreneur.
– Coach Wolfgang
Many companies list “entrepreneurial-minded” as one of their desired qualifications on job descriptions. But what does that mean? What is the company hoping for in those candidates? Common answers may be “creative” or “innovative” in creating new business models. You might also think it means “efficient” or “lean” in terms of processes and operations.
What does “entrepreneurial-minded” mean?
I used to think it was creativity, that is, being an entrepreneur requires you to be so much more creative than your current job. I still think that is right but, from my perspective, I see a different primary value that entrepreneurial-minded people bring to established companies: entrepreneurs have a mindset to maximize the scarce resources of time, money and man-power.
First of all, you should know my situation – maybe you can relate. I’m a marketer by profession and work for a good-sized technology company. I also have a small business on the side. I don’t run the daily operations of the small business but I handle all the marketing, part-time. Usually, I work at night and on the weekends on my small business and correspond via email with my team. My situation doesn’t give me the full burden of being an entrepreneur but it helps me realize the differences compared to working for an established company.
Differences between start-ups and established companies
Things take a lot longer to execute when you are an entrepreneur working for a bootstrapped start up – you don’t have the cash to outsource much, you have dozens of other things that require your time, and you don’t have employees to throw at projects. Without much cash, it comes down to utilizing your time. You have to really focus on doing the most important things because you only have a few hours each day.
In a corporate job, you have the time but you spend it on things that don’t directly move the needle and sometimes don’t seem to add much value. Here’s the most frustrating part of working for a big company: at the end of the day you and your team have spent far more man-hours to produce something that you, as an entrepreneur, produced in a fraction of the time. The reason is straight-forward: constrained resources forces entrepreneurs to focus, be very efficient and make sure their work produces results. You quickly lose that mindset when you start working for an established company.
Example of the differences
Let’s take an example. When I run a paid media campaign for my own business, I get approval from two other people on the ad copy, I setup my own tests, I know which leads came in each day and I know what each lead is costing me. I’m trying different copy and looking at the stats to see how my test performed. At the end of the day, we did okay, not great, but we tried and learned something new.
At my day job, we need an agency to figure out the ad copy and another agency to run the ads. We have to wait two weeks to get the first report and then it takes us another two weeks to consider other ideas to test. Then it takes another week to find reports to show us if these leads are creating opportunities. During that time, my team has kicked off a number of other initiatives that both distract us from determining the success of our ad campaign and keep us from moving the needle much on any of the initiatives we started since the ad campaign.
What entrepreneurs bring to established companies
I will admit that I’m leaving out the advantages that the established company has over the start-up. Instead, I’m discussing the ways the entrepreneur’s mindset could positively impact an established company. You probably see it. Entrepreneurial-minded employees can identify areas of inefficiency and unnecessary activities. Entrepreneurs push for much faster turnaround times and want to process information in real-time as much as possible. Most importantly, entrepreneurial-minded employees are focused on the bottom line – they make decisions with ROI on their mind and take action when the results aren’t up to snuff.
These are the improvements I try to bring to the company I work for. Why don’t YOU give it a try? Then you can have a compelling story in a job interview when asked if you are “entrepreneurial-minded”!
Amy Wolfgang is a career coach who founded Wolfgang Career Coaching and co-founded Coaching 4 Good. She brings over 15 years of corporate and coaching experience to help organizations boost employee engagement while simultaneously helping her clients excel in their careers. She is a certified PCM (Professional Career Manager) and has a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin.
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