November is one of our favorite times of the year at Kdan. It’s a month-long celebration of entrepreneurship, that culminates with #globalentrepreneurshipweek from Monday the 18th to Friday the 22nd.
Our U.S. Team had a unique opportunity to partner with two organizations that are dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship, the Juniata Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (JCEL) and Startup Alleghenies, to host a mini-series of events this month that share experiences and start conversations about starting a business.
One of the big ideas discussed in both events is that you don’t have to be self-employed to be considered “entrepreneurial.” Intrapreneurs, or entrepreneurial people within an organization, are valuable assets to any team. We want to share some highlights from the two sessions and how these concepts relate to your work, whether it’s for your own company or the one you’re working for!
Strive to be a Well-Rounded, Inquisitive Professional
For Entrepreneurs: You’re responsible for EVERYTHING in your company…especially when you’re just getting started. It’s not enough to only understand marketing, or product development, or finance, or accounting, or anything else that you may have a background in. Starting a successful company means understanding how marketing, product development, finance, etc. are all interconnected parts.
For Intrapreneurs: The job market rewards people who are comfortable working on interdisciplinary projects, so you should challenge yourself to always keep learning new things. Whether this means teaching yourself through online tutorials or simply asking a coworker from a different department about their work. Nothing exists in a vacuum–meaning that the more you understand how other team members’ work relates to your job, the more you’ll be able to contribute!
For Both: You find ways to say “yes” to everything because your mentality impacts how successful you’ll be. You take opportunities to get outside of your comfort zone and experience more of the world both personally and professionally. You’re adaptable and flexible in order to stimulate creativity and develop your ideas.
Look for Opportunities to be a Problem Solver, and Don’t be Afraid to “Complain”
“There has to be an easier way to…”
“I can’t believe people are still using…”
“When’s the last time they upgraded…”
Phrases like this may sound like “complaining” at first, but the ability to successfully identify an industry’s or society’s problem is the first major step of creating a great enterprise. If you can identify a legitimate problem that people would pay money to solve, you’re on your way to developing a new product, service, or business that has market potential.
For Intrapreneurs: Building off the three sample phrases from above, intrapreneurs look for problems that can be solved both within and beyond the company they’re a part of.
Intrapreneurs look for problems within their own company to see if there are processes that can be improved, or for innovations that can save time, money, and other resources.
They also look outside of their company for new ways to serve existing customers or for unexplored potential markets that need their solutions.
For Both: Whether you’re an entrepreneur or an intrapreneur, you think about your own world. You consider how your visibility is limited by your own life experiences, so you find ways to be interdisciplinary. You expose yourself to more ways to find your vision. You take time to “complain” because that leads to opportunity recognition and sparks ideas for improvements that help others, change the company, and promote growth for all.
Leverage Any and All Available Resources
For Entrepreneurs: Depending on where you’re planning to start your company, there can be dozens–if not more–readily-available resources waiting for you to use! Our U.S. office is housed in a business incubator that not only provides resources for entrepreneurial students from the local college, but also connects them with organizations like Startup Alleghenies that offer mentorship, networking, and funds to any business starting up in the region.
If you aren’t sure where to start, this post from Finder.com will help give you an idea of what kind of resources you can look for in your area.
For Intrapreneurs: Intrapreneurs, depending on the size and stage of the company you’re involved with, may be able to tap into similar resources outlined above for entrepreneurs.
They can also leverage existing resources that the company has at its disposal (human resources, capital, etc.) to embark on new projects that help the company advance.
For Both: You have a problem-solving and creativity-based mindset. This allows you to support people within and outside of the company in ways that are beyond what you were hired to do. Out-of-the-box thinking promotes the most value to utilize those resources – and you know how to do this and follow through with their ideas!
Great Resources for New and Growing Businesses
A final point our team presented our audiences with was that 10 years ago, we were at the startup stage as well. We’re now very proud of the fact that we’re designing solutions that can benefit startups and small-mid-sized businesses as they work to create new content and leverage their team’s productivity.
Any business–and especially startups–have contract-heavy processes. Earlier this year, we introduced our eSign service, DottedSign, to help teams cut down time wasted collecting signatures so they can spend more energy on tasks that drive the business forward. You can start using DottedSign for free today by visiting our website.
Also published on Medium.