Earlier this week I had the opportunity to speak to the team at Arnott’s about my startup businesses and the challenges that I faced when I first embarked on my entrepreneurial journey.
As I looked around the room, I saw the faces of inspired women who were interested in learning how they could adopt a startup mindset, take risks and bring forth new ideas all while working within a large organisation.
I shared with them how they could “own it like a founder” and act like intrapreneurs within their unit. I couldn’t help but think how lucky I would have been if I had someone who had shared all their learnings and provided me with some guidance along the way.
Fast forward to six years in the tech space where I have launched four different businesses and found myself with the best job in the world, being a mum. I have finally found my passion and purpose, helping other women start their own businesses and be successful in the tech space. There are not enough female leaders in tech. I wanted women to feel welcome and not overwhelmed. I wanted to create the next generation of successful role models who would blaze a trail for the future. That’s why I created Tech Ready – an 8 week accelerator that helps non tech female founders step confidently into the tech space.
Embedding a startup spirit within your organisation is essential to the future growth and scale of the business. When businesses are in their infancy, employees are engaged, there is a fresh energy that permeates throughout the organisation and everyone is striving to actualise the vision and mission of the business.
The goal of any business is to grow. However with growth comes complexity which leads to the lag of the business. This is why embracing a founder’s attitude and being an intrapreneur within your unit is essential and helps to push the business forward. Intrapreneurship is the act of behaving like an entrepreneur within a large organisation.
Intrapreneurs are usually enthusiastic and proactive individuals who are always searching for new ideas that will benefit the organisation they are with. Fostering innovation and encouraging intrapreneurship is important because as a business grows the culture dilutes and it is easy to fall into the trap of doing things the way they have always been done. Below are some strategies you can implement to keep innovation at the forefront of the business and own it like a founder.
- Cultivate a Growth Mindset
Switching from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset is essential to thinking like a founder. Having a growth mindset means focusing on solutions and seeing opportunities with each new challenge you are faced with. Developing a growth mindset helps you to learn from situations both internally and externally and lets you bring new ideas into your organisation.
- Create a Culture of Collaboration
Creating a culture that is based on collaboration is empowering and helps to make everyone feel engaged, welcomed and valued. Drawing on individual’s strengths and experiences is a great way to formulate new solutions that can lead to new products and offerings.
- Build – Measure – Learn
Build, measure, learn is a common process that startups use when building their minimum viable product or MVP. An MVP is the very first version of your product and has just enough features so it can launch. It is not your final product. Gaining valuable feedback from your customers early on means you iterate your product using their suggestions and feedback. This ensures you are building something that customers want.
- Vision for the Future
Founders and entrepreneurs create something from nothing and can see opportunities where others can not.. They have a vision for the future and it is their articulation of the vision which enables them to inspire and empower the people around them.
- Fail Fast and Fail Forward
Failure is inevitable and part of business. In the startup, world failure is embraced, as it’s an opportunity to learn and grow. The businesses that are successful and appear to be an overnight success are the ones who have taken a leap of faith and have already failed multiple times in the past.
- Customer Centric
Your customers are the reason you are in business. Obsessing about your customers and listening to their feedback is invaluable and ensures you are building products that customers want to use.
- Embrace Uncertainty
Change is the only constant. If you wait for change to happen outside of your organisation it will prompt the change within. The other alternative is to be the catalyst for change within your organisation and change the market and industry you play in.
- Develop Resilience and Perseverance
Resilience paired with perseverance are the two qualities that all startup founders have in common. Resilience is what helps you to face challenges, while perseverance gives you the drive to move past them.
- Validate Ideas
Investing the time to validate ideas and interview your users prior to launching a product is a way to take a calculated risk and sets you up for success.
- Decision Dollars
Founders know exactly the amount of financial runway they have in their business. Intrapreneurs can adopt this mindset and make business decisions by spending their budgets as if it were their own dollars.
Action is what sets founders and successful entrepreneurs from the rest. Click here if you want to learn more about validating ideas, building an MVP and developing resilience and perseverance so you can “own it like a founder.”
In the words of Thomas Edison, vision without execution is hallucination.
What can I say?
Sometimes you have to risk it, for the biscuit!