In my experience your small business can succeed against the giants ,even if it is a new company (with a new brand) provided that your company has the ability to come up with ideas and put them into action very very quickly.
To achieve these two things : Coming up with ideas and putting them into action very quickly, requires entrepreneurial spirit. This quality however, needs to be present within every member of the team, not just the entrepreneurial leader/founder.
It has to feature across the company in every way.
To begin – you as the leader needs to create an environment where entrepreneurship can flourish.
Empower your employees to act:
Previously, when we succeeded and overcame the industry giants, it was because we enabled our employees to be in control of their own work – in other words we empowered our people. Many of the leaders who i have spoken to believe that it is absolutely crucial for people to feel in control of their own work, because it will mean that they will feel like they have the flexibility and ability to come up with ideas.
When employees feel that they are empowered to come up with ideas, they will want to put those ideas into action, and they will want to get fast results.
The power of Speed:
When you are a small business with an entrepreneurial mindset, you have the advantage of speed.
Speed gives you the ability to come up with new product ideas, and to implement development from start to finish in a matter of months, where the giants would probably take years.
This is off-course not only limited to product development. As a small business you have the speed advantage in every facet of the business.
Creating an entrepreneurial environment:
The creation of an entrepreneurial environment has to involve the business leaders ‘letting go’ in order to show trust and respect for the talents of other people. When you grant your employees flexibility and respect, you are also showing that you trust them.
Employees return that trust in the form of respect and trust for your company , for your brand, and for your management team.
The creation of an entrepreneurial environment has to involve the business leaders ‘letting go’ in order to trust and respect the people talents of other people…. it is about management allowing people to get on with things
Creating an entrepreneurial environment, is not about demanding respect or even earning it – it is about giving it.
Many small business owners that i talk to are afraid that their employees will take too many unnecessary un-calculated risks, if they are given leeway.
What they fail to see is that letting go , is about taking risks – but calculated ones.
It is about management and the company leadership, allowing people to get on with things .
What i have seen happen, when management lets go, is the development of an atmosphere that has an amazing buzz.
In the companies where i have worked, when we empowered our people, they paid us back by creating an amazing buzz, where employees were engaged, and came to work everyday wanting to take on the industry giants.
Freedom from fear:
What i have seen is that the result of creating an atmosphere in which employees are encouraged to come up with ideas is that no one is scared they will be ridiculed for trying to contribute. At worst , employees ideas wont go ahead, but praise is given where praise is due.
In such an environment , if things aren’t going well, people will know that too. It is crucial that your people know where they stand.
Encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit:
You can try to encourage this openness in a number of ways. In my previous company (a multi national retailer with some of the most iconic retail brands), employees were invited to submit “Ideas of the month”. People from all across the company (from Sales associates upwards) were encourage to put their thoughts into a ‘idea box’.
Members of the company’s executive or leadership team were then invited to select the top ‘ideas of the month’. The top ideas were then announced and prizes were given. The company received wonderful ideas and ways to grow and innovate.
The key to maintaining your competitive edge is to nurture your entrepreneurial spirit.
An environment of continual, fast moving , entrepreneurial innovation, will always give you the edge over the business giants.