Be a businessman or an entrepreneur within your company:
Not long after I left my job to go and set up my own business, I had an opportunity to have lunch with a sales manager of a travel agency in Scandinavia. There were three things that caught my attention about her attitude, and this still remain with me today:
First of all, when I told her, I would be travelling out of town by start of next week; she suggested we meet on evening before my departure, a Sunday. This was not that strange to me, come from the hospitality sector where we work in shifts and during weekends and public holidays. However, knowing that travel agencies generally are open during weekdays, I was a bit surprised, as it is not common that people use their own personal time for company business.
Throughout our dinner she kept using terms like, "my business", "our company", “my staff”.... And finally, when she said, "as a businesswoman, like you”, I had to interrupt, and asked her, out of curiosity
"Are you a partner in the agency or are you actually the owner?"
"No, why?" she replied.
"Because, you keep using words like, "my" business. And now you are saying, you are also a "businesswoman", but it is not your company, so I do not understand?"
Then she laughed, and explained to me, the following:
"Being a businesswoman /businessman, has nothing to do with whether or not you own the company. I cannot effectively do this job, if I am a professional businessman, just like you."
I responded “OK, I understand but as a businessman do you not have to talk like you own the company?”
To which she responded:
“Our company has been in business for over 30 years and even the foundation was laid some time ago. We are still operating, and growing, developing new destinations, and new markets. This is only possible because, we have an entrepreneurial spirit in our organisation. To succeed in our company, you must demonstrate that you are an entrepreneur.”
The day after, reflecting on our conversation; I realised something very important. As an employee we, tend to use WE, OUR and MIN in reference to our department or colleagues, especially in larger companies. We only start to think of ourselves as a businessman, or woman, when you start our own business.
And when you think of it, you are only an entrepreneur, if you start and run your own small business, by yourself.
But this is not true!
You do not have to wait until you own a business, to call yourself a businessman. In fact you cannot become successful within your field and/or organisation, if you do not adopt a mindset of a business. Nor are you working in the interest of the company that hired you and contribute to its success if you do not take the approach of a business minded person.
A successful businessman (employee) needs to own his/her position and as such knows that his/her contribute (investment) to the company’s success, is also his/her success.
Similarly, if you are not entrepreneurial within the department/company i.e. helping to create new products and services, showing consideration toward the customers, taking ownership of your decision and finding innovative ways, to make "your" company more successful; how can you suppose that you will have an successful future in the any company or organisation?
I read that a successful company or organisation is one which encourages its employees to take "ownership", at all levels. But if you do not take up such opportunities, you should not complain about your job situation or job environment. Being an entrepreneur is a "state of mind", more than a "status".
You might be one of the many who dream of starting their own businesses. If that is the case, then start right now – Start at your workplace. Use the opportunity or even better create the opportunity that lies within your job to become an entrepreneur and help to build up an entrepreneurial environment in your company or organisation.
Own your Job, Take reasonability, Be business minded, Take an approach of success.
12 May 2015