Why a Big Business Should Still Be Entrepreneurial

Companies are built on entrepreneurial principles, but the same traits, which fostered initial success, can be the first to fall to the wayside as a business grows. Keep your company riding the fine line between small shops and big business by focusing on these top startup traits:

Companies are built on entrepreneurial principles, but the same traits, which fostered initial success, can be the first to fall to the wayside as a business grows. Keep your company riding the fine line between small shops and big business by focusing on these top startup traits:

 

Speed and Flexibility - They Turn on a Dime


It’s a lot easier to turn around a tugboat than a tanker; that’s why entrepreneurs are experts at being nimble and quick on their feet. In the beginning, a company’s success depends on this flexibility and ability to roll with the punches – but, as a business grows, the added complexity of operations often makes the decision-making process much more rigid and hierarchical. Processes get longer, things take more time, and everyday business procedures become structured and inflexible.

 

To combat this, you may need to do some restructuring. For example, dividing an organization into individual markets can create a more entrepreneurial ethos, allowing for more small-group collaboration and the flexibility to pursue new ideas and opportunities. You’re also likely to get better effort from your staff, who will feel like a more central part of the team when the team itself is smaller and more manageable. This also leads to personal accountability; when every individual is empowered, each person has two great tools at hand: the right and the responsibility to do better. All this extends the length and breadth of an organization – from the CEO to entry-level colleagues.

 

Creativity – Everything is an Opportunity


Startups thrive on fresh ideas and new approaches; they have no concept of business-as-usual thinking. To foster creativity in your established business, encourage employees at all levels to take a broader view of your market and the opportunities it provides. This requires training, focus, and development. Hold brainstorming sessions. Think of new ways to tackle old problems. Seek ways to keep your company growing and changing in an ever-evolving business landscape. You might be surprised at the opportunities and growth potential that are just at your fingertips once you take the time to look for them.

 

Some big businesses might benefit from structured requests for feedback. For example, setting a scheduled time to send out surveys – every six months, perhaps – can ensure that not only do the bigwigs have a say in the direction the company takes, but the frontline staff does, as well. With such measured and stilted approaches, it can slip a corporation’s notice that the people who interact regularly with customers have some of the best insights.

 

Innovation – Fresh Ideas Mean New Solutions


Innovation thrives in uncertainty. Entrepreneurs are constantly seeking new ways to meet challenges and solve problems. Once businesses are established, however, they often only repeat activities that have been successful in the past. In addition, large organizations usually require specific procedures to standardize operations and satisfy legal requirements. That being said, it is still possible to remove some of the constraints placed on a company’s structure and strategy.

 

Determine what is required legally and contractually in your set processes, and then identify areas where constraints can be removed to foster idea generation. Once constraints are removed to open the door for innovation, keep it propped open with time – allow the space and hours to put energy into ideation.

Additional steps can be taken; for example, invite junior-level employees to take part in brainstorming meetings, or create opportunities for cross-functional collaboration across departments. Seek ways to maximize your human capital by providing employees with opportunities to share ideas and come together to recognize and identify new opportunities. By combining skill sets and backgrounds, you’ll increase your company’s potential to perceive and actualize great things. You’ll be ahead of any curve set by your competitors because you’re setting your own.

Large companies can easily become caught up in a big-business mentality – but that doesn’t mean they can’t also embrace the startup traits that carried them there. In fact, by providing a flexible business environment that permeates everything, from processes to market analysis and strategy development, you will open up new avenues and greater revenue for your organization. With the positive habits of taking time, creating accountability and supporting each other, who says you can’t have small-shop innovation in a big business world?

Luis Gallardo is a global brand and marketing leader and expert in the areas of strategic brand management, brand engagement, brand expression, marketing, communications, business development, and reputation management. Former managing director of global brand & marketing at Deloitte, Luis provided leadership to Deloitte’s member firm network of more than three thousand marketing and communications professionals. Author of the book: Brands & Rousers.

About the Author

Luis Gallardo is a global brand and marketing leader and expert in the areas of strategic brand management, brand engagement, brand expression, marketing, communications, business development, and reputation management. Former managing director of global brand & marketing at Deloitte, Luis provided leadership to Deloitte’s member firm network of more than three thousand marketing and communications professionals. Author of the book: Brands & Rousers.