Are You the Entrepreneur Inside?
If you recognise yourself as an entrepreneur here are the key traits you need for success.
Clearly articulating your vision is a skill all entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs need. Working within an existing business it will be your responsibility to bring colleagues, managers and a whole range of stakeholders on board with your vision. They need to see what you are hoping to achieve and why. What will the ROI be for the business? What are the risks and how will these be mitigated? Your ability to energise and excite your colleagues to rally around you and unlock the resources you need to progress with your endeavour will be the first stage to kickstarting your entrepreneurial journey. Take the first step today and discuss your ideas with your team members, manager or mentor and get their feedback on your proposition.
The buck stops with you. You have to take responsibility for a project, the quality of the delivery, work through every step, anticipate all the likely outcomes and lead by example (even if you are not in a direct managerial position.) Stepping up to lead will enable you to generate supporters who will ultimately help you make your vision become a reality.
This is not just in the innovation itself but also in being resourceful in achieving your aims in a way that you can demonstrate initial/early success to your employer with relatively low risk. Remember that things may not always go to plan first time so you have to think of new ways and have a contingency plan. Businesses rarely like surprises so be careful with how you manage your creative streak with the ongoing need to communicate your plans with stakeholders so that they can be kept up to speed with your developments.
Starting anything new is going to be hard and you will have to go over and above the call of duty. It’s more than likely that you will be working overtime on your idea but that’s fine; it’s your passion in seeing your idea succeed which will get you through the challenging times ;and be under no false impressions - challenges will certainly arise and it is how you overcome these which will be the true mark of your entrepreneurial skills.
Making connections both within the organisation and externally will be a critical factor for the success of your project. Internally, you will have to recruit people to join you on a project or new workstream. Likewise, making connections externally will help you to accelerate the development of your venture and organisation as well as bringing in external expertise which may help you to shortcut some of the developmental work you need to do if people have already tackled similar issues outside. Do not be afraid to share your ideas with others, keeping in mind the boundaries of commercial confidentiality but more often than not you will be surprised to find how many people are willing and able to help you on your journey.
Make a conscious effort to meet at least five new people you ordinarily would not have interacted with to get their feedback on your concept. In turn ask them for recommendations on people you could speak to regarding potentially supporting you on your journey. You will quickly see the power of the network in action and how quickly your connections multiply. Approach every interaction with an open mind and a sense of curiosity. When working on an exciting new concept it can be easy to get caught up in your own project and forget about what is going on around you. Always be in listening mode as it is often the feedback and input you receive from others which will help accelerate progress the most.
The main thing to remember is that the best way to hone your entrepreneurial skills is to learn by doing. Once you have found something you are passionate about do not be afraid to push yourself out of your comfort zone to pursue this. Only through trial and error will you be able to refine these skills. You must be comfortable with uncertainty and embrace change. You will not have all the solutions from day one but need to have the curiosity and willingness to explore whilst bringing your colleagues and employers along with you on that journey