Although bigger companies need disciplines and structure, there is no reason to lose entrepreneurial habits – the very behaviours and habits that got it there in the first place.
Sahar Hashemi has never been one for complacency. From thought leadership to sweeping company reform, Sahar believes that entrepreneurial behavior is not a personality trait but a set of habits that can be taught to everyone and learned by anyone. More importantly, it’s not restricted to start-ups.
In her appearances at NBFSweden and NBFNorway, Sahar proved this point by addressing how you can act like a startup in a large corporation. Through her unique workshop-style session, she instilled inspiration in her audience and challenged them to use their experience and her tools to think and behave more like entrepreneurs (and less like an employees) when tackling their daily challenges.
Cultivating an Entrepreneurial Mindset
To start, here are 8 habits that Sahar has compiled to start embracing the entrepreneurial mindset even when you don’t work in a startup.
Habit 1 Believing That Anyone Can Do It
Creativity is a skill we all innately have – its in our DNA. The only difference is some of us learn and practice creative habits and others don’t.
Habit 2 Step Into Your Customers’ Shoes
BECOME your customer and experience the world from their perspective. And ask yourself what YOU would hope, need, expect to receive if YOU were the customer. It’s the easiest way to get great insight and predict future needs. Don’t just rely on market research.
Habit 3 Get Out
Don’t just sit at your desk. Go see for yourself what it’s like out there. Free yourself from all the busy-ness.
Habit 4 Become Clueless
Your skills, experience, and “how we’ve always done it” mentality will blind you from seeing new opportunities. Break from established thinking and un-learn so you stumble on new ways of doing things.
Habit 5 Prototyping
In startups, things happen fast. They try, they fail, they adapt, they move on. Again and again. That nimbleness doesn’t exist in established companies. There is constant pressure to do it “right” the first time. Prototyping is about trying things out and making them tangible. No PowerPoints. No presentations. Just trial and error.
Habit 6 Notch Up On Nos
Accept that there is a status quo bias and new ways of doing things (however great) will always be met with resistance. Never stop at a no. It’s just someone’s opinion. Famous people we all know have notched up hundreds of nos.
Habit 7 Bootstrapping
Bootstrapping is about somehow making 2 + 2 = 5 by making the most of what you’ve got. Entrepreneurs are forced to bootstrap because of the scarcity of their resources. Big companies don’t bootstrap but this is a good discipline to instill in large companies. It adds momentum and it’s a way of getting around the corporate traffic jams that stall new initiatives.
Habit 8 Take 100% of Yourself to Work
There is a direct correlation between how much you enjoy your work and how well you do it – and you can’t enjoy your work if you are holding back. Organizations don’t need corporate automatons any more. Being yourself and expressing your individuality is the greatest asset you can bring to work.
Tip: Learn more about cultivating entrepreneurial spirit in Sahar’s blog.
Who is Sahar Hashemi?
Sahar Hashemi is a former solicitor and founder of Coffee Republic, the UK’s first US-style coffee bar chain. Along with her brother, the two built it into one of the UK’s most recognized high street brands with 110 bars and a turnover of £30m. She exited Coffee Republic in 2001 and, in 2005, she founded Skinny Candy, a brand of sugar-free sweets which was sold to confectionery conglomerate Glisten PLC in 2007.
Sahar is the author of 2 books: the bestseller Anyone Can Do It: Building Coffee Republic from Our Kitchen Table, and Switched On. She was one of the keynote speakers at both Nordic Business Forum Sweden and Nordic Business Forum Norway in May 2019.
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