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Jun 01 How to Attract Employees Who Think Like Entrepreneurs

By Eve Ashworth, President and CEO

 

One of the insights I’d like to share directly from my own two-decade experience as a business owner relates to how small business owners and entrepreneurs in general can grow their business by attracting employees who have an entrepreneurial mindset.

The Power of Thinking Like an Entrepreneur

The power of entrepreneurial mindset influences every aspect of our decision making — I am attracted to risk and my husband and business partner, Isaac, keeps me grounded.

From the get-go, success was our agenda, but we determined to pursue it on our own terms. As entrepreneurs, we thought outside of the box — taking calculated risks and learning how to be scrappy. But most of all, we knew that advancing our business meant building a strong team. At the center of this were employees that knew what it took to get us from where we were to where we needed to be.

What Would You Like Employees to Offer Your Company?

From day one, we looked to build a company with a cool, clean and simple culture that forged a path in the marketing industry. My goal was to attract employees who had a passion for knowledge and learning, AND who would lend their experience to me and my clients.

Before interviewing potential employees, think about the future of your company, what industries are you looking to grow into? What services are you lacking in your current offerings?

How Do You Articulate Value?

Being transparent about your expectations is essential to employee success. In order to spend time on our business and not in our business, we focus on hiring self-starters– driven individuals who understand business logic and who some would call ‘growth hackers’.

These are the individuals, according to Inc.com, with a combination of qualities including an entrepreneurial mindset and innovative spirit that push your business forward.

Look for those that have previously been employed by companies that have experienced major growth, that have all the skills to work at a corporate level but shy away from conformity, they adhere to an entrepreneurial mindset but don’t want the hassle of working for themselves.

Some of my interview questions include:

  1. Describe a recent event in your job that really challenged your capabilities
  2. Name a business person you admire and explain why
  3. Describe what you consider to be characteristics of the perfect boss
  4. At what time of the day do you feel you do your best work?
  5. What skills have you acquired in your job that make you the right candidate for this job?
  6. If a situation arose that you feel could change the course of the company, how would you approach and begin to convince the business owners to make a change?

How each candidate answers these questions grants you insight as to whether they are growth hackers.

Do Your New Hires Have What it Takes — Look for These Entrepreneurial Qualities

The following attributes are indicators of ideal employees when business growth is on the horizon:

Take greater responsibility for their success. Employees who think like entrepreneurs take responsibility for their success because they understand that their success is your success and vice versa. They don’t need a hands-on leader or micromanager. Just give them guidance and watch them bring in results.

Keen to further mission of your organization. Not surprising, they make it a priority to act in a way that furthers the mission of your organization. This is integral to the way they treat clients, approach new projects and integrate within your business culture. These independent workers and strategic collaborators look for opportunities and think ahead. They also are willing to share and implement innovative ideas to improve your company because they understand that adaptability is crucial to the survival of any successful business.

See opportunities in challenges. Here’s one important thing to note: an employee that thinks like an entrepreneur is proactive and remains unfazed despite challenges. In fact, they recognize that challenges are often opportunities in disguise which, when viewed with the right perspective, can help us discover solutions, improve our process and inspire us to make necessary changes. In essence, these growth hackers look at challenges as an opportunity to solve problems while growing their skills set.

Growth mindset pushes them to achieve. Ever heard about the growth mindset, a psychological perspective by Carol Dweck? Inherent in employees who think like entrepreneurs is the desire and willingness to seek opportunities to learn and adjust to changes in the world of business and technology. More likely than not, they excel because they are willing to go beyond their job description, step outside their comfort zones and take calculated risks.

Better at managing time. They go above and beyond and accomplish far more, not because they work longer or harder. They are not super achievers. Simply put, they manage their time better because with an entrepreneurial mindset, they know time equals money.

They are innovators.  Business as usual is not in their books. They make it a priority to look for new business and better ways of doing things. You don’t need to teach them how to be innovators because they are always on the prowl, looking for ways to collaborate and create.

The How of Attracting Growth Hackers to Your Business

Jennifer Prosek, in her book Army of Entrepreneurs, talks about how to create the kind of company culture that encourages employees to think like entrepreneurs. For some business owners, it’s about nurturing those you’ve already brought into your business. But what’s more important is taking a proactive approach that’ll make it easy to attract these employees in the first place.

For us at Ashworth Creative, this means being the kind of leader that entrepreneurial employees would be comfortable working with. I take a hands-off approach, giving my employees room to run their own little businesses within the agency. This may not work for your company but you can start with a self-assessment to determine what you need to do to attract the employees your company needs.

  1. What kind of employees do I want in my company?
  2. Am I their ideal leader?
  3. Do I consider my employees as equals?
  4. Do I provide opportunities for them to grow?
  5. Does my company value an entrepreneurial mindset?

Having clearly assessed your own aptitude for creating an entrepreneurial business environment, you can start the work of attracting like-minded employees who can help you achieve tremendous growth.

 

 

 



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