Entrepreneurial Spirit – Keeping It Alive

How's your entrepreneurial spirit doing these days – read on to find out our recommendations for keeping the entrepreneurial spirit alive and well.

Congratulations! Your business is really clipping along, you’re
paying the bills, reaping the financial rewards and maybe even taking
an occasional afternoon off to go to the golf course! But you’re
noticing something else as well. Your team isn’t as passionate and
people aren’t putting in the same effort and working those long hours.
They don’t seem as enthusiastic, and what was once a mission, is now
seemingly nothing more than a job for you and for them.

It’s
a fact, managing an established company is not as exciting as the
journey of creating the company, especially for those who are true
entrepreneurs. You begin to realize that if you are going to continue
to prosper and to grow your company, somehow you’ve got to reenergize
the team and reintroduce that entrepreneurial spirit .

Here are a few pointers on just how to light that entrepreneurial fire again:

Value employee input

Remember
when you had the great idea to start your business? You did everything
possible to turn that vision into a reality. It was exciting,
frustrating, nerve-wracking and rewarding all at the same time. You
created innovative ways to solve problems, worked insane hours and wore
many different hats. Your loyal staff members felt like their
contributions made a difference and they were an important part of the
organization. In short, that entrepreneurial spirit was soaring.

Valuing
employee input, even after the initial idea blitz, is critical to a
growing company. Successful businesses have one significant thing in
common. They keep this energy alive. It is the unique driving force
that motivates employees, inspires a long-lasting entrepreneurial work
ethic and lifts new companies above all adversaries. In today’s
fast-changing business environment, you and your team members need to
be looking for the next big idea. If you don’t recognize it, your
competition will.

For example, Compsat Technologies, Inc., a
profitable business specializing in data storage, server and backup
solutions, has a reputation for being an exciting place to work. It’s
not because they won various awards, reached first year sales of $1.3
million or have an annual revenue growth rate averaging over 32%. It’s
because the CEO, Dan Glisky, continues to create an innovative
environment where employees are constantly challenged to find creative
solutions to customer problems. “A technology company doing the same
thing year after year is not going to cut it,” he states. “It is
essential to look for new innovations and create a dynamic, creative
culture where there is an incubation of ideas. One should listen to the
market, and give employees an opportunity to go with it and grow with
it.”

Reward risk-takers

Employees want to feel
valued, suggest ideas without fear of retribution and know they have a
future working on new and exciting projects with a growing company. To
keep the entrepreneurial spirit alive, reward risk-takers. It’s up to
you to compensate innovation and generate enthusiasm. But don’t worry;
it doesn’t need to be expensive. In fact, stock options are taking a
backseat to variable compensation packages tied directly to individual
and company performance. Simple bonus programs, profit sharing, special
events, trips, and other awards go a long way to build a creative
culture that encourages risk-taking and employee involvement.

Look at the organizational structure

Maybe
your company’s entrepreneurial spirit was crushed by a new
organizational structure. How has your infrastructure changed since you
started your business? Can you make decisions quickly or are there “too
many cooks in the kitchen” slowing down the process? To maintain a
high-performance environment that exudes entrepreneurial spirit, review
your company’s organizational structure. It’s essential to focus on the
objectives that add value to your business. Take a serious look at who
is actually doing the work and striving to reach company goals. Also
note that it’s a two-way street. Employees should educate themselves
and constantly build skills to be the best in their particular field.
Although it can be difficult to let go of loyal employees, make a
commitment to hire and keep the right people with the right skills, and
cut those who can’t keep up. A lean and effective staff is an important
part of making changes quickly, developing new ideas and maintaining a
competitive edge. It’s not the worst thing in the world if staff
members know that their key to job security is extraordinary
performance.

Keep the customer connection

What
about your connection with customers? Are you still listening to their
complaints, suggestions and compliments on a regular basis or is there
a thick layer between you and your top team members and the
marketplace? As a business grows, it’s easy to concentrate on other
issues and lose valuable customer relationships. Always remember that
these are the people who make or break your business, and their input
is essential to your success. Be sure to find out firsthand why they
buy your products or services or go to the competition. You did this
when you first started your business and the entrepreneurial spirit was
driving you, so why stop now?

Don’t lose the exciting and successful culture you’ve worked so hard to create. Focus on core values, compensate contributing employees fairly, put key people in direct contact with customers, and develop a simple organizational structure to keep your company’s entrepreneurial spirit alive and well.

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