Keeping the Entrepreneurial Spirit Alive

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The word “entrepreneur” gets thrown around so much that the meaning has been diluted.

amb-innovationThe true spirit of being entrepreneurial is about the process of innovation…but not just for the sake of having something new! It is applied innovation to solve problems and create value.  The solving problems piece is about the customer. The creating value part is about the business entity within which the entrepreneur functions.

Being able to solve problems for others involves awareness, actually caring about what other people are doing and being curious about where they are going and what they will be trying to do tomorrow. Self-serving EGO can quickly get in the way of the entrepreneurial spirit.  A little success can go to one’s head. Business owners can start believing their own media clippings.

It pays to sustain investment in externally focused research.  Encourage team members from various disciplines to surface potential customer problems for the company to solve.  Thinking that innovation and product development is the divine right of the R&D department is passé.  Some of the most significant products can be traced to collaborative effort across departmental lines.

Being able to create value also requires awareness.  Products/services need to be scalable for value to be built.  Over dependence on individuals may fuel EGOs but is the enemy of value creation. Replicating processes and looking for sustainability rather than depletion of resources are not academic phrases or idealistic pipe dreams.  These things are at the core of building real value.

Ask yourself if the concepts of scalability and sustainability come up early in your product development process. If not, could they? It is surprising how many business models are obsolete before they get off the ground.

Entrepreneurial spirit isn’t about EGO.  I know that is difficult to believe with the “celebrification” of entrepreneurs. Be careful who you and your team members emulate.  Some of the celebrities may have made big piles of money once…when he/she sold software for billions of dollars to another company and the software never worked for anyone. That person may be a shrewd sale person. But is it entrepreneurial? Are self-serving EGO-driven transactions what you want your employees to celebrate and emulate?

About Aldonna Ambler:
Known as The Growth Strategist®, Aldonna Ambler built and grew a suite of companies to help midsized B2B companies achieve accelerated growth with sustained profitability® A Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), Ambler has addressed over 2000 audiences and hosted a syndicated online talk show about growth strategies for 9 years. As a growth financing intermediary, Ambler raised over $1 Bil dollars for midsized companies. The winner of over 2 dozen prestigious national and statewide "entrepreneur of the year" awards, Ambler is available to speak about “profitable growth during any economy” and/or serve on the board of a growth-oriented privately-held company.

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