It seems that more and more people are developing an appetite for entrepreneurship, they like the idea of being their own boss and are taking things into their own hands to make a mark in their chosen sector. As a fellow entrepreneur, this really excites me. Times have certainly changed since I first began my entrepreneurial journey and I am so happy to see so many people identifying entrepreneurship as a respectable, rewarding career choice.
So, what can corporate businesses learn from startups? A question I’ve been asked hundreds of times and one I never tire of answering. I like to think my private equity firm, Hamilton Bradshaw, adapts characteristics of both industries perfectly as a professional, dynamic and flexible organisation.
Firstly, the most important start-up characteristic to think about (and my favourite) is valuing the individual. Often, great people go missing in corporate industries, their particular expertise are not recognised or taken advantage of which means the businesses’ talent attraction strategy doesn’t prosper. As you will know from my previous blogs, I am passionate about people – they are the drivers of a business so attracting the right people should always be your main business objective and I have adopted this within all of my professional ventures. The best thing about start up businesses is they always attract the right talent because they attract people who share a similar passion for entrepreneurship, are dedicated, driven and aren't afraid of putting in long hours because in a startup business, everyone has the opportunity to be a hero.
Secondly, as I briefly touched up, startups possess the passion to keep moving forward rather than clock watching, counting down the minutes until 5:30pm. Now I know there are lots of people working in corporate businesses who love their job but there is certainly something special about being part of a start up business where each employee truly cares about their role and will work on until they are satisfied. Being an entrepreneur is not a 9-5 job, it’s an all day, every day kind of job, there's not one person at Hamilton Bradshaw who actively seeks to leave dead on 5:30 because they’re here to make a difference and they know that they’re appreciated, they have been specifically selected and are here for a reason. By adopting this strategy, you’re adding value to your business; it’s all about sharing passion for your industry with other like-minded individuals.
As well as this, startups always have the ability to recognise the impact they can make on someone’s life. Typically, corporate businesses are fixated with how to make it to the next level, how they’re going to bill their first million which, of course, is fundamental in business but what they can forget is how to go about making that happen, how understanding the importance of people and making an impact internally will be immensely beneficial in the long run, both financially and culturally.
The Swiss Army knife approach is a metaphor I like to use when describing a startups approach to projects – their willingness to be everything at once means employees are competent, motivated and happy to accept constructive criticism through mentorship. By offering this to your staff, you are simultaneously bettering your business and their skill set and automatically making yourself more admirable to potential new talent.
The common themes with each of these aspects are pride and humility and I think these are two concepts corporate businesses can often take for granted or leave behind. By incorporating these into your business you are considering the importance of people and will create a work culture that is attractive, effective and ultimately, remunerative.