7 tips for keeping your entrepreneurial spirit alive!
We associate entrepreneurialism with innovation. A successful entrepreneur brings something new to the market – a unique product or service that differentiates the company and gives it a competitive advantage.
Contrary to this, we see established companies as slow in identifying and exploiting opportunities and as too rigid to innovate. This is not always true as businesses such as Toyota, Honda and IBM, among others, have been able to uphold reputation as innovators.
Fortunately the entrepreneurial spirit can sustain during growth and success. But what can you do to ensure continued vitality of that spirit?
Follow this practical advice to stay aggressive, innovative and responsive to the market conditions.
▼ 1. Preserve an Innovation friendly culture
Start rewarding acts of creativity, welcome and appreciate new ideas from creative people, do not punish risk takers who fail, be outwardly focused and eliminate complacency during success.
▼ 2. Establish Strategic Direction
Know where your business is going and set the boundaries right to focus your money and creative energies in the areas that generate the greatest payoff.
▼ 3. Be personally involved with Innovation
Do not allow operational issues to detach you from the innovation on which your future depends. Keep up-to-date with technical and market issues.
▼ 4. Continually improve the Idea-to-Commercialisation process
Companies that continue to innovate and grow have a process for generating ideas, recognising which of them have commercial potential, and evaluating those promising ideas, followed by development and commercialisation. You will need such a process, too; otherwise your innovative efforts will be ad-hoc, arbitrary, and a waste of resources.
▼ 5. Apply Portfolio Thinking
This helps you see a set of ongoing projects in terms of risk/return characteristics. And when you understand those characteristics you can shape and manage the portfolio to achieve the right balance of risk and potential return.
▼ 6. Engage/Partner with people who have entrepreneurial attitudes
Specifically they should have (1) a good feel of the trajectories of technologies important to your business and (2) a genuine curiosity about the stated and latent needs of customers. People who are narrowly interested in applying their technical skills will rarely produce the practical innovations you need.
▼ 7. Work more effectively and anticipate tomorrow’s discontinuities
Most leaders become absorbed with one to the detriment of the other. In most cases the immediate problems of the business dominate your time and attention, leaving the future business to be treated as a stepchild. So here are few suggestions:
- Assess where you are in terms of innovation trends. Are your current products/services and technologies in the early phase of perfection, or are they mature? Do new products/services have the potential to undermine your business?
- Assess your company’s operations. Are they effective, fast and efficient? Are cost improvements possible?
- Based on your answers to the above questions re-order your priorities and resources. You need to be very good at both current operations and innovation.
Once you have customers, the “tyranny of served markets” can block your capacity to innovate. Follow the above steps to preserve your entrepreneurial spirit!
Post originally published via ICAEW Business Advice Service – click here