Benchmark Business Group

Creating An Entrepreneurial Culture

May 23, 2023

Business owners often say they want their team to have more entrepreneurial spirit and they tend to get frustrated when their team doesn’t embrace that culture. However, what does entrepreneurial spirit mean?

Because how you define entrepreneurial spirit is a huge factor in creating a culture around it. When we ask teams what it means to them, we often hear faulty thinking. We hear comments such as:

  • I’d love to do things my way, but I can’t.
  • Well, if I was an entrepreneur, I’d change this, or buy that!
  • I could do a lot, if I didn’t have to answer to…

Often, entrepreneurial spirit is confused with the idea of not having anyone to answer to or even being able to make any decision they want. And that’s why it can be hard for a company to create a culture where their team embraces the entrepreneurial spirit. For many it seems impossible because they have restrictions that they believe entrepreneurs don’t have. And when you ask someone to do something they think is impossible, they tend to disconnect.

If your business wants to create a culture of entrepreneurial spirit, try defining what that means to your company, and then work on those individual elements. For instance, below are five traits we use to define entrepreneurial spirit and tips on how to develop those skillsets.

Adaptability – First and foremost, entrepreneurs understand that plans get messed up. Unfortunately, you can’t control everything. The best entrepreneurs are those that can adapt quickly. You might have to adapt due to customers, vendors, laws or even elements such as the weather. If you don’t adapt, you’re going to spend a lot of time, energy and probably money fighting against things that you simply cannot control. Adaptability happens when you are laser focused on the result and not the path to get to that result. When there is an obstacle in your path, and there will be, you find a new way to reach the desired result.

  • When something isn’t going right, don’t jump to a solution. Stop and define the result first. Write it down. Display it. And then make plans.
  • Always ask what the result is… for everything.
  • Never take the first solution. Ask for 2-3 solutions from everyone. Then adapt to what’s needed.
  • In meetings, prepare for plans to go wrong. Get used to asking, this is great, but what happens if… and then throw out both ridiculous and common barriers to the plan. This helps your team prepare for things not going right. And they’ll be ready to be more adaptable.

Double Vision – While entrepreneurs are often thinking about the future, they must have double vision. They must address the short-term needs with a balance of the future. Just because something works now, doesn’t mean it’s the solution that works to get you to your goals. Having an entrepreneurial mindset means that you’re solving today’s problems with a focus on the future.

  • Ask, why won’t this solution work when this problem occurs again in 5 months?
  • When talking solutions, calculate the ROI for different time frames.

No Excuses – Excuses are real. There will always be barriers. Entrepreneurs recognize barriers, but also don’t get too worried about them. They’re natural. They don’t waste their time, energy or money on complaining about them. Instead, their resources are spent on removing or getting around the barrier. Sure, a solution might be easier if you could just (hire someone, get a lucky break, buy that software, etc.) but entrepreneurs don’t spend a lot of time getting stuck. They either find a way to get the resources they think they need, or they find a different way to reach the result (see Adaptability). The key though is to realize that they don’t ignore the excuses. They see them. They understand the excuses are real. But entrepreneurs are good at knowing what gets their time, energy and money. And excuses are not where they tend to dwell.

  • Get good at refocusing your time, energy, and money. When an excuse is presented always ask:
    • Is there a way we can make this solution work or
    • What are 3 more solutions to this issue?
  • Don’t ignore excuses. Allow your team to discuss them but ensure that the conversations are productive and not venting sessions.

Proactive – Everyone has ideas. Entrepreneurs are successful, not because they have the best idea, but because they put things into motion. They don’t sit back and wait. If there’s a problem or an opportunity, they tend to take it.

  • Teach your team to ask questions. Stop giving the answer, and instead ask what’s next and let your team start thinking ahead.
  • Look at your business and see if there’s anything that would encourage your team to not speak up. Are their ideas heard? If they take an initiative, but it’s not the right one, are they still praised for being proactive? Discover what in your culture encourages your team to be proactive.

Look for a Better Way – Having an entrepreneurial spirit also means not accepting the status quo. It means looking at routine tasks in the business and asking can we do this in a way that:

  • Saves time.
  • Creates more profit.
  • Allows the client to be more satisfied.

This creates innovation within a business and also creates a business that is running with efficiency. To get your team to look for better ways to do their work:

  • Set a time to test and improve all your systems.
  • Each month ask your team to bring 1 task to a meeting and discuss how to improve that process.

We challenge you to create your own definition of entrepreneurial spirit. What traits and characteristics do you want to make part of your culture? Don’t expect your team to have the same definition as you. Instead, define it and then look for ways to create that culture.

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