As a fresh business graduate and a job candidate on a very demanding market, I remember recruiters having an interest in one specific section of my CV. It was my entrepreneurial experience that often intrigued the interviewer way more than my internships at high-end agencies. This star experience consisted of the establishment of a short-term start-up with my classmates. I say short-term here because we ended up closing the company after 2 years. But hey, we were only 18 years old at the time, yet managed to build a tremendous amount of business acumen. And that’s just priceless!
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Fast forward to a decade later, I am now fully aware of why having the entrepreneurial spirit is a must-have. It’s an acquired skill that should be part of a young candidate’s mindset or a milestone in the career path of an experienced professional.
And the reason is the following: when you are an entrepreneur, i.e. someone who is working on his/her start-up company, you are basically trying to construct something out of nothing. Which means that many critical processes are required. Starting off with the indispensable step of building a business portfolio, finding funds and investing your money wisely. Secondly and most importantly, establishing a network that will kick off the company. When you hand out your business card with the logo of a multinational corporation, people will be less hesitant to talk to you. But when your company is unknown, it is your mission to grab their attention in every possible way. Then comes the responsibility of delivering the product or service, which should also include the “over-delivering” factor, to motivate customers to work with you over and over again. And lastly, with bigger projects comes bigger dreams and objectives, so you will need to grow your business on every level while maintaining your strong presence and reputation along the way.
Starting a business doesn’t mean hiring a ton of employees, renting an office space or having a huge amount of capital.
So for professionals who decide to be employed, their business discipline will be also determined by whether they have had entrepreneurial experience or not. Personally speaking, I’m better at dealing with uncertainty, disorganisation and last-minute “emergencies” than my fellow colleagues. And better yet, I have always had a clear strategy for damage control in case of failures. I also noticed the same applied to my managers, as I was lucky enough to work with both kinds of mentors. Those who had entrepreneurial experience were high-risk takers, very innovative and followed the standard corporate rules in an unconventional manner, for they have been immersed in all the dynamics of an entrepreneur’s life. And because of all that, they often motivated their teams and delivered more. While other managers, who were never business owners, had a lower tendency to think out of the box.
Therefore, companies are reshaping their talent development strategies to give more responsibilities, risks and freedom to their employees. Something that is quite similar to an entrepreneur’s way of working. And which has also become at the centre of infamous employer branding campaigns of top tier companies. For instance, my friend who is a human resources director was mostly proud when one employee expressed his commitment to the company and said: “The only reason I would ever consider quitting your company would be to establish my own. I have become addicted to the entrepreneurial rush here”.
So if you are battling the idea of establishing your own company, remember that, unlike previous times, starting a business doesn’t mean hiring a ton of employees, renting an office space or having a huge amount of capital. Because nowadays, and thanks to all the facilities of the online universe, all that has been simplified. If you have a new idea, just give it a try. And in case it fails, it would be a great added value on your CV.