When Covid-19 crashed into the shores of the United States in early 2020, it brought with it a slew of entrepreneurs trying to capitalize on the different needs of people who were stuck inside in order to squelch the pandemic. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 4.3 million new business applications in 2020, almost 1 million more than the previous year. But startups are not the only place where entrepreneurs can shine. In the regular daily grind of business, an entrepreneurial mindset can make or break an existing business.
It’s Not Just for Startups Anymore
The skills that make entrepreneurs tick are necessary for success and innovation in all aspects of the working world, from medical laboratories to shipping specialists to corporate America, and all employees can use an entrepreneurial mindset right where they are to create opportunities, adapt in uncertain times, and make quality decisions for a complex future. In fact, in today’s uncertain world these skills are even more important than they were in 2020.
Bill Aulet, managing director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, asserted, “If we’re going to address climate change, if we’re going to address health care, if we’re going to address education, we cannot just have startups doing that. We have to have large organizations that have infrastructure, balance sheets, other assets and global presence to be able to address these major challenges.”
Clearly there are a myriad of difficulties whose solutions can only come from out-of-the-box thinking, and individuals and companies need to be thinking along these lines to cultivate success. This means that companies that want to make it through challenging times need to value this mindset all the way up and down the ladder. When making hiring decisions, when dealing with the daily grind, and when making critical management decisions, companies need to value this framework in order to create innovation and resilience that will stand the test of time.
Build Your Business
Now that the glut of new pandemic companies has dissipated, and the pendulum is swinging the other way, some people think that the entrepreneurial mindset is no longer at work, but that could not be further from the truth.
“Entrepreneurship is much, much bigger than just startups,” Aulet said. “Entrepreneurs need to exist throughout our society, not just in venture-backed startups. They need to exist in government, they need to exist in big corporations, they need to exist in non-profits, [and] they need to exist in academic institutions. We need entrepreneurs everywhere.”
So, what are the key traits to look for in developing a mindset of entrepreneurs? According to MIT Management, there are three critical traits needed to create a successful spirit of entrepreneurship in any business. These entrepreneurial traits are being solutions-oriented, adaptable, and anti-fragile.
First, a candidate must be solutions-oriented. Rowena Barrett, pro vice-chancellor for entrepreneurship at the Queensland University of Technology, says that successful people see problems as potential opportunities, and “they have optimistic interpretations of adverse events.” This will allow them to push through problems to see a win-win solution.
Secondly, an entrepreneurial mindset calls for being adaptable, and being willing to embrace the inevitability of change. Aulet said. “We need ambidextrous leaders. We need managers who are entrepreneurial and can shift to be managers when need be, and be entrepreneurs [when need be].”
Finally, experts assert that there are four H’s to this anti-fragile mindset: home, head, heart, and hand. You need to have a “home” community that will support you and help to get the resources you need. Your “head” needs to understand exactly what is going on and how to maneuver through necessary change. “Heart” involves confidence and the ability to move forward despite the odds. “Hand” means you actually have to move and change things for the better. With this structure in mind, your business will be buoyed despite encountering difficulties.
Self-Starters Impact Existing Model
Strong businesses need to focus on the entrepreneurial mindset from beginning to end in order to be successful. In other words, each member of the company needs to embody the spirit of entrepreneurship so that the whole company can move forward with flexibility and focus. This cannot be a case of just one trend-setter.
Forbes Magazine says, “By seeking self-starters in this way, the benefits of entrepreneurialism can span the organization. Teams will likely take more risks and spin off more ideas, and those ideas will have advocates to help them reach their full potential. That’s because entrepreneurs are excellent idea advocates. Teams of entrepreneurs can also unearth ideas even from outside the scope of a project or from unlikely sources within the corporate structure, and then channel those ideas into new applications.”
Another quality to cultivate in your team, believe it or not, is FOMO, or the fear of missing out. When people are hungry for what is just out of their grasp, they will be able to innovate and find unique solutions.
Through innovation within the daily grind, companies can move forward in lean times and plentiful times to build a business that can withstand a sea of change. Entrepreneurial skills are not just for startups anymore!
As turbulent economic times cause many businesses to falter in these uncertain days, it is this entrepreneurial spirit that will keep businesses focused on the bottom line and moving forward to bigger and better opportunities.