Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey – Workplace Culture Experts & Barefoot Wine Founders

By Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey – Workplace Culture Experts & Barefoot Wine Founders

Every Startup Needs Employees with an Entrepreneurial Mindset

Every Startup Needs Employees with an Entrepreneurial Mindset 150 150 MIchael and Bonnie Harvey

Paid employees have led to the collapse of many startups. When you first grow your business, you don’t want to hear, “I was there, pay me!” when you’re already strapped for resources, time, and money. Paying for attendance rather than performance will quickly deplete your budget, leading you to miss invaluable opportunities. You don’t have the privilege to pay employees just for their attendance, even if you wanted to.

When you want to hire new employees, look for problem-solvers and self-starters. Look for candidates who have worked on a team, preferably as the leader. Take this one step forward and look for people who have small business experience. In other words, find people who think like entrepreneurs. These people have what it takes to think and act beyond their “job”, and look at the big picture.

One of the biggest problems your business will face is a clear description of the work required to make it run well. In the beginning, you just don’t know what’s necessary for your company to satisfy clients’ needs. You learn as you go. And, your employees need to find every single chance to contribute, whether or not it’s in the job description.

Just like a football player, knees bent; ready to jump in whatever direction necessary to get the ball, your team must be flexible and willing to get the job done. They have to be looking for the ball! You can’t afford to hire people who don’t think they’re responsible for sales. They must have an interest in sales to understand the meaning of urgency. They need to be on high alert—their income and job security are based on sales. They have to do everything in their power to make that next sale happen, and keep ‘em coming!

To emphasize this, as the business-owner, you must be prepared to take a smaller piece of the bigger pie. You need to be willing to share the benefits, and offer frequent bonuses based on growth, sales, and profitability. If you need to pay a base salary to your salespeople, make it an advance on commission. Do anything you can to send a message that their job security, income, bonuses, and benefits all directly rely on sales.

When you hire people who think like entrepreneurs, your employees will bet their paycheck on your success. They truly believe in your mission, and they know they can help make it happen. To support this through and through, you need to provide comprehensive orientation, in-depth training, and access to consistent learning resources. Make sure they understand how they can contribute to the success of your company by utilizing their skills, and how they will benefit when your company expands and creates more profit. Aren’t “investors” more beneficial than “employees” anyway? Think of how great this will be for your startup company culture! Think focus, commitment, and teamwork. Consider how it will lessen your need to micro-manage your team, giving you the space to focus on more urgent matters.

We say, “In a startup, there is no room for passengers. If you’re not steering, rowing, or bailing, you are swimming because you are no longer on board!”

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