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The heart of entrepreneurial thinking & how it differs from a traditional business mindset

Not only is entrepreneurship on the rise, but companies of all sizes across Canada are increasingly looking for ways to encourage their employees to adopt entrepreneurial mindsets. But, many companies, underestimating the significant gap between traditional business thinking and an entrepreneurial approach, are struggling to harness an entrepreneurial spirit.

At the heart of an entrepreneurial mind

The most significant difference between a traditional business approach and an entrepreneurial outlook is the way that risk is regarded. Traditional business thinking looks at risk as a factor that must be managed and mitigated, while entrepreneurs don’t just learn to evaluate risk but they embrace it. To entrepreneurs, risk is a key force behind success.

Being a calculated risk taker is not all that separates entrepreneurs from the corporate ranks. Entrepreneurs are unlike their traditional business counterparts in their willingness to exchange ideas and share their learnings. While conventional business approaches do anything to safeguard their inventions and keep new insights hidden from the marketplace.

5 differences between the two mindsets

Traditional business thinking The entrepreneurial mind
  •       Manage and mitigate risk
  •       Evaluate and embrace risk
  •       Safeguard inventions and insights
  •       Exchange ideas and share learnings
  •       Avoid failing
  •       Fail fast and try again
  •       Work within the confines of the current environment
  •       Think in terms of possibilities
  •       Increase the bottom line
  •       Create value and make a difference

The end goal also often differs for entrepreneurs. They are less driven by money and are more committed to making meaning. For an entrepreneur, profit becomes a necessary outcome, but it isn’t the end goal. Entrepreneurs look to create new value and contribute to the market, and in turn they share in the benefits of the value they deliver. They don’t look to exploit customers, or take advantage of the current market. Instead, they look to make a positive difference and solve old problems with new approaches.

3 ways to foster entrepreneurial thinking in your employees:

  • Encourage a culture of innovation. Before your employees unleash their inner entrepreneur, it’s important to ensure that they feel their ideas will be accepted and that they will be rewarded for thinking outside of the box, regardless if their idea succeeds or fails.
  • Create time and space to be creative. You might not be ready to go as far as both Facebook and Google when it comes to carving out creative time for your employees, but you do need to provide the tools and time for your employees to develop new ideas. When you have a problem that needs to be solved, build in time to brainstorm and try adding some team competition into the mix.
  • Give employees a pass to fail. If you don’t give your employees permission to fail, they will be too scared to take risks and won’t be willing to think outside of the box. It’s important to take risks in implementing employee ideas, and if the outcome isn’t what was expected, fail fast, and then try again.

While taking steps to change your company’s culture can yield big results, it’s also important that you have the right talent at the table that will move your agenda forward. Do you know when it’s time to bring new skills to the table? Here are four strategic reasons for hiring a new employee.

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