Become a Star Employee by Thinking Like an Entrepreneur
If you’re wondering if there’s a way to really make a job recession-proof, there is. Yes, a large part of it depends on your industry and whether or not it’s expanding or shedding jobs. However, even though you might not have control over the decisions your company makes, you are in control over how you do your job.
Years ago when I was in my first real corporate job, I remember hearing that employees should be more entrepreneurial in the workplace. It didn’t make much sense to me then. I couldn’t see how you could be both an entrepreneur and an employee. As far as I knew, an entrepreneur ran a business, and that was not the same thing as having a job.
Now that I’ve had experience in both worlds, I can understand how employees can benefit by bringing entrepreneurial thinking into their work environment. In fact, during these times, there’s a big advantage to companies to have their employees more invested in their work. Though in some workplaces, employees may not have the impression that their efforts really matter, engaged employees are more productive. It’s not hard to understand why. If you care about your position and the company, you’re going to do more to make it successful. That certainly would be good news for a lot of businesses.
It’s easy to have negative feelings on the job if there have been a lot of cuts in personnel and you’re left to pick up the slack. An attitude change may be easier said than done. So, you have to look at the big picture.
Entrepreneurs start out with a vision of what they want to create, whether it is a product or a service. As an employee, your vision is just as important. What is your vision for your career? Do you see opportunities for advancement? If you look at the big picture, you can see that by improving the bottom line you’re also contributing to the overall success of the company. That means that your efforts are extremely important.
Another trait of entrepreneurs is the ability to find creative ways to get things done. If a small business owner doesn’t have funding or has to wear multiple hats, they have to find alternative ways to accomplish the tasks required to run their business. I’ve worked in companies where no one wanted to change because “we’ve always done it this way.” In an environment where change takes a long time to happen, you may hit resistance to new ideas. If you’re in that type of workplace, pick your battles. If you can make a change in how you do something and be more productive in your own work, then that can go a long way. Just because there’s been only one way to do something, it doesn’t mean you can’t try another way.
Keep an Open Mind
A most important trait of entrepreneurs is the ability to learn new information and to continue to adapt. The business idea you came up with in the beginning may need tweaking or a major overhaul as time goes on. You have to be ready and willing to move quickly when you see new opportunities.
For many people, this may be the toughest thing of all. If you’re in a job where you’ve been for many years, it can be tempting to be comfortable in your accumulated knowledge. On the downside, many employees are finding that once they leave their jobs a lot has changed in the outside world. They may not have kept up with new skills or continued to learn. If you are current with certifications or degrees, then you’ll not only be an asset to the company, but you’ll be helping yourself as well. The more knowledge you have, the more attractive you’ll be as an employee. People who stay current will be in a much better position to advance or take on other roles within the company. The more you learn, and show that you’re willing to keep learning, the less likely you’ll be looked on as someone who’s stuck and unwilling to change.
Thinking like an entrepreneur is not just for business owners; it can benefit employees as well. Your company is not just your employer, but it’s also a place where you’ve made a major investment of your time and energy. Being entrepreneurial in your workplace will position you as an asset, as opposed to being seen as someone who can be easily replaced.
This is a guest post by Deborah Bailey, author of Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life. With a background in human resources, employee and executive coaching, and hiring strategies with companies such as Lucent, AT&T and Johnson and Johnson, Deborah helps clients get 'unstuck' in their professional lives by adopting the entrepreneurial mindset. Read more articles by Deborah: