An entrepreneurial mindset

Editor’s Note: Since its inauguration in 2010, National Entrepreneur’s Day is an annual event, celebrated every year on the third Tuesday in November, that honors those men and women who have built an empire from absolutely nothing, most of them becoming rather wealthy in the process as well. In 2012, President Barack Obama declared November as National Entrepreneurship Month. Here is an article from an aspiring entrepreneur, and former Maritz EX intern, Olivia Sauer.

As a soon-to-be senior at the University of Dayton, the time has come when I need to start narrowing down what field of work I am interested in. While I know people change professions all the time, I’d like to have a better idea of the path I would like to pursue after graduation. That’s one of the main reasons I chose to accept my internship at Maritz Motivation Solutions.

I’m a double major in marketing and entrepreneurship. I quickly realized that both of these majors are quite broad when it comes to picking a specific profession. In past internships, I’ve worked in focus group facilities, meeting and working with new people daily, and four-person offices. This possibly being my last internship opportunity, I thought it was time to explore the corporate world. When the possibility of working at Maritz presented itself, I quickly reacted. After receiving the news that I was hired to be on the 2018 summer intern team, I was anxious to see what opportunities, lessons and problems this fast-paced work environment was about to offer me.

As an entrepreneurship major, one of my main goals in life is to eventually start my own company, whatever it may be. When hiring someone who exhibits entrepreneurial characteristics, some may think, why would you want to hire someone who is just going to steal your ideas and go start their own company? I like to think of entrepreneurship differently. A word like entrepreneurship has so many meanings, to me, it’s a way to learn and understand all of the underlying gears and how they intertwine to make a company tick. Contrary to popular belief, being an entrepreneur or having an entrepreneurial mindset does not always result in starting your own company.

With there being so many definitions of what it means to be an entrepreneur, it is important for people to understand them. One of my favorite definitions states, “At its core, [entrepreneurship] is a mindset–a way of thinking and acting. It is about imagining new ways to solve problems and create value. Fundamentally, entrepreneurship is about…the ability to recognize [and] methodically analyze [an] opportunity, and ultimately, to capture [its] value.” (Bruce Bachenheimer, clinical professor of management and executive director of the Entrepreneurship Lab at Pace University.) 

Here are three ways to break down how to foster an entrepreneurial mindset:

Entrepreneurial Attitude

According to a Forbes article, the entrepreneurial attitude isn’t only an attitude that you wake up with every day; it’s a lifestyle. If you don’t wake up with the attitude that you’re ready to tackle any roadblock that you may face that day, then you’ll never get anything done.  While I know being in a good mood and optimistic every single day can be hard at times, it takes someone with an entrepreneurial attitude to not let obstacles or failures stop them in their tracks, but instead find a way to get around them.

Entrepreneurial Thinking

I like to consider entrepreneurial thinking as a way of thinking a step ahead of everyone else. Instead of waiting for a problem to present itself, take the initiative and anticipate problems and challenges. This way, instead of being shocked and set back, you’re prepared and ready for action. Entrepreneurial thinking opens the door for creativity. You don’t have to be an art major to be creative. By being creative, you can think of new ways to stand out, solve problems and pave the way for success.

Entrepreneurial Action

When thinking big picture, entrepreneurial action is the most important of these three characteristics. You can have an entrepreneurial attitude and be optimistic about change, you can use entrepreneurial thinking to make plans on how to solve problems or advance in a specific area, but without entrepreneurial action, these ideas never become a reality. That said, entrepreneurial action is also the hardest to execute.  Living an entrepreneurial lifestyle brings risk, and with risk comes the possibility of failure, which may scare some people away. However, if we never take risks, we will never advance.  Whether your action leads to success or failure, the cycle continues. You must keep your entrepreneurial attitude to drive your entrepreneurial thinking to either find ways to continue your success or solve your problems and try again.

So, what can your business do to embody this entrepreneurial mentality?

You can seek to hire people who already portray this entrepreneurial mindset. Such employees will be able to work independently as well as collaboratively, giving their team a glimpse of how to personify the characteristics of a workplace entrepreneur. If you’re not looking to hire, you can focus on fostering a culture that strives to promote entrepreneurship and innovation.

By shifting into an entrepreneurial state of mind, both your company and your employees will enjoy a great advantage. These ambitious employees, combined with an optimistic culture, lay the groundwork for success. Unique results will come from the implementation of this powerful combination. Innovation will completely stand out through practices ranging from looking at a project or problem in a new way, to generating completely new ideas. Finally, you’ll see your employees take ownership of their specific roles, because of their satisfaction in their creative work.

With the world of work constantly changing, it is essential to have employees that think creatively and innovatively.  You can begin by cultivating a culture that encourages entrepreneurial attitude, thinking and action by implementing them into your average work day.  It’s up to you to determine what works best for your organization.  By promoting your employees to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset, you’ll help to create new opportunities for both your employees and your organization. The fear of failure can only hold you back. Why not take a risk and see what doors may open?


Article originally appeared on the Maritz Employee Experience blog.

By Olivia Sauer

Olivia Sauer is studying marketing and entrepreneurship at the University of Dayton. She is a former intern at Maritz EX.

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