Think like an owner: Training for an entrepreneurial mindset
Interviews / Opinions

Think like an owner: Training for an entrepreneurial mindset

, Senior Content Writer

When you hear the term “entrepreneur,” you most likely think of business owners. Brilliant, idea-people with the financial know-how, business acumen, and scrappy determination to make it in their field.

But the skills associated with entrepreneurship aren’t exclusive to heads of companies. Employees can develop these skills too—with a little help.

You might wonder: Why encourage your workforce to act like business owners? Won’t entrepreneurship at work disrupt existing processes and rock the boat?

While there are valid concerns, training employees in entrepreneurial skills offers tremendous benefits. It just requires careful planning and support.

Let’s look at the why and the how of empowering your team with an entrepreneurial mindset.

Why train your employees as entrepreneurs?

When employees think and act like entrepreneurs, they bring a lot to your workforce. They’ll have the skills to be proactive problem-solvers, resourceful innovators, and passionate advocates for improvement.

Think like an owner: Training for an entrepreneurial mindset

The good news is that many of these skills, including the attitudes needed to enact them, can be learned through entrepreneurship training.

10 essential skills for entrepreneurial employees

So what content should you include in your L&D strategy? If you want to help employees think and act like entrepreneurs, make sure you include these top ten skills:

1. Resilience

In business, setbacks are inevitable. Teaching employees how to bounce back from challenges helps them navigate uncertainty. It also maintains morale.

Whether facing a product launch delay or a market downturn, resilient employees channel their frustration into finding solutions. This way they can reduce disruption and work toward a successful outcome.

2. Risk-taking

Calculated risk-taking is the lifeblood of innovation. Train employees to assess risks, weigh potential gains against losses, and make informed decisions.

There are times when taking a risk is the right choice (like proposing a bold campaign strategy or streamlining set processes). When they’re prepared for these moments, employees will be able to explore new markets, experiment with ideas, and drive growth.

3. Leadership

Even without official titles, everyone can lead. Teach your whole team leadership skills like clear communication, inspiring others, and delegating. This know-how creates a culture of shared ownership where people feel empowered to use their initiative.

Picture a customer service representative taking ownership of a complex complaint. Solving the problem proactively leads to a satisfied customer and improved brand loyalty.

4. Innovation

Encourage out-of-the-box thinking and problem-solving. When your employees understand how to unleash their creativity, they can identify inefficiencies, brainstorm solutions, and prototype new ideas.

An innovative team leads to a constant flow of fresh perspectives and drives continuous improvement.

5. Adaptability

The business landscape changes rapidly. To keep up, your employees need to know how to embrace change, learn new skills, and adjust their approach.

Teach your team to be agile so they can respond to market shifts and customer demands. Then, when faced with things like changes to social platform algorithms or updates to technology, they’ll be ready to move with the times.

And you’ll be able to keep up with your competition while maintaining audience reach and engagement.

Meet TalentLibrary™
A growing collection of ready-made courses that cover the soft skills
your teams need for success at work

6. Networking

Making connections inside and outside the organization opens doors. Doors to new opportunities, partnerships, and valuable insight. Give employees the skills to build relationships and leverage them for collaboration and knowledge sharing.

For instance, consider an engineer who knows how to connect with industry experts at a conference. With the right networking skills, they’ll be better equipped to gather external knowledge that informs your own internal product development.

7. Communication

Clear and concise communication ensures everyone is on the same page. It helps people avoid misunderstandings and fosters a positive work environment.

Think of a project team communicating progress updates. Better communication skills will lead to smoother collaboration and on-time delivery.

Train employees in the skills to:

  • Express themselves effectively
  • Actively listen
  • Tailor their communication style to different audiences

8. Failing

This might not seem like something you need to teach people. But it turns out that knowing how to respond to failure can boost your team’s willingness to take risks. It can also lead to a culture of continuous improvement.

For instance, say a marketing campaign is underperforming. Instead of panicking and pulling the plug, a resourceful team will analyze and learn from the data. They’ll find their missteps. Then they’ll refine their approach, likely leading to a more successful campaign.

When employees view failure as a learning opportunity, not a setback, they’ll be prepared to move forward.

9. Problem-solving

Help employees be proactive by giving them analytical skills and creative problem-solving techniques. Enable them to identify issues, analyze root causes, and develop effective solutions.

Then, when problems like complex customer complaints arise, they’ll be ready to act. They won’t have to wait for direction from higher-ups to resolve the issue and reassure the customer.

10. An entrepreneurial mindset

Entrepreneurs dream big. They’re driven by a deep desire to create something impactful, not just climb the corporate ladder.

Just as important as teaching employees the skills listed above is teaching them to have an entrepreneurial mindset. Your employees need to think like business owners to apply the rest of the skills.

By cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset, you unlock potential. You’ll set your team up to identify market gaps and solve problems creatively. Plus, you’ll prepare them to overcome obstacles with resilience and achieve remarkable results.

Get help cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset
Unlock your employees’ hidden potential with TalentLMS.

The training platform that users consistently rank #1.Create my TalentLMS forever-free account

Beyond training: The role of intrapreneurial experiences

Entrepreneurs traditionally launch their own ventures. Internal entrepreneurs, however, champion new ideas within their existing organization. These “intrapreneurs” drive innovation and growth within your company.

Training people in the right skills is a good first step. But you can take employee development further by investing in formal programs to cultivate and support the skills. For instance:

  • Idea incubators. Provide dedicated spaces and resources for employees to develop and refine their ideas. Offer mentorship and guidance from experienced innovators.
  • Innovation competitions. Challenge employees to submit their best ideas. Include opportunities for funding, prototyping, and potential launch within the company.
  • Hackathons. Bring teams together for intense brainstorming and rapid prototyping sessions. These encourage collaboration and generate quick solutions to specific challenges.
  • Intrapreneurship awards. Recognize and reward successful intrapreneurs, motivating others.

The dark side of entrepreneurship skills (and how to avoid it)

Fostering your team’s entrepreneurial skills offers plenty of benefits. But if they’re not grounded in the right mindset, the skills can pose potential risks to a healthy and productive workplace. Without the right cultural support, people may err on the side of:

  • Valuing individualism over collaboration, eroding teamwork and collaboration
  • Neglecting routine tasks, potentially impacting efficiency and quality
  • Innovating without clear purpose, leading to wasted resources and unsustainable initiatives
  • Engaging in unhealthy competition, creating a toxic environment

To mitigate these risks, make sure your culture supports healthy intrapreneurship with the following strategies:

1. Balance individual and team focus. Encourage individual initiative while emphasizing the importance of teamwork and collaboration. Celebrate joint successes and reward collaborative problem-solving.

2. Prioritize core operations. Define essential tasks and ensure they’re not overshadowed by new projects. Create systems for effective workload management.

3. Focus on meaningful innovation. Guide innovation efforts toward addressing real customer needs and solving specific business challenges. Encourage experimentation but ensure alignment with strategic goals.

4. Promote healthy competition. Set clear expectations for collaboration and teamwork within the competitive framework. Encourage colleagues to learn from each other and celebrate collective achievements.

Finding the right rhythm with personalized training

Encouraging an entrepreneurial spirit is not about building an army of mini-CEOs. It’s about unlocking the unique potential within each individual. And the best way to do that is with personalized training paths.

Some employees will crave the challenge of developing their entrepreneurial muscles. They’ll be eager to innovate and champion new ideas. Others might thrive in their current roles, preferring stability, and well-defined tasks. Respect and support both paths.

By offering tailored training, you avoid forcing a one-size-fits-all approach. Employees feel valued and engaged in their development. And you invest your resources wisely, focusing on those who actively seek the intrapreneurial journey.

Save time, frustration and money with TalentLMS, the most-affordable and user-friendly learning management system on the market. Try it for free for as long as you want and discover why our customers consistently give us 4.5 stars (out of 5!)

Try for free!

Fiona McSweeney - Senior Content Writer

Fiona, a skilled journalist, offers deep insights in L&D and HR, blending thorough research with storytelling. Her content captivates readers. Discover more by Fiona!

Fiona McSweeney LinkedIn

Start your eLearning portal in 30 seconds!

Get started it's free!

TalentLMS is free to use for as long as you want! You can always upgrade to a paid plan to get much more!