With startups being all the rage these days, everyone fancies themselves to be an entrepreneur. However, it’s one thing to say you are an entrepreneurial small business. It’s another thing to walk your talk.
Entrepreneurial small businesses embrace risk. The majority of small to medium-size businesses don’t. The majority of small to medium-size businesses are modeled as miniature versions of large corporations. Because that’s where their founders grew up.
It’s not apples to apples at all.
Many small businesses are set up in silos. Everyone has a function. Most functions aren’t related to other functions. It’s a segmented, segregated approach. You know: you do your job, I’ll do mine. Don’t get in my way. We don’t talk during the day.
Except when your entrepreneurial small business is comprised of less than 10 individuals (more like 3 including your mother), there’s no opportunity for a segmented approach. Everyone wears multiple hats, passes the baton, and covers each other’s back.
There’s a lot of risk in that model. No silos (other than the occasional “Remember, I’m your Mother!”)
Entrepreneurial small business has a horizontal throughput feel to its culture. Things flow laterally. No one person is in complete, autonomous control over their output. That’s a good thing.
Most traditional small business has a vertical flow to it. The CEO/GM/Owner is the Figurehead. All directives and activities flow from the top down. There are few options for differences of opinion or cross-functional collaboration. “Remember, I’m The Founder! You wouldn’t have a job if it weren’t for me.”
What type of small business culture do you work in?
Here’s a more important question for you: what type of small business culture have you created for your employees?
Most traditional small business has a set retained customer base who have pigeon-holed your small business. Your customers purchase certain goods and services from you and a repeat basis. They have no comprehension of the breadth and depth of your capabilities. You’ve sold yourself small to them.
Entrepreneurial small business seeks to increase and upsell their retained customer base. They have graded that customer base. They understand who their A, B and C customers are. They understand where to leverage risk and where to conserve their energies.
Where does your own small business fall in this continuum? It all hinges on your business model. It’s all leveraged by whether your corporate culture embraces a horizontal workflow model focused on cross-functional collaboration.
Are you a truly entrepreneurial small business or a small business headed up by a CEO who fancies herself as an entrepreneur?
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, is a management consultant and business coach. Babette develops business, technical and engineering professionals of worth. She remodels startups and small-to-medium manufacturing and service companies experiencing difficulty with unpredictable revenue streams.
A recognized Top 50 Marketing & Sales Influencer, Babette’s blog won the 2014 Bronze Medal, Top Sales & Marketing Awards, Top Sales World. Her book on communication and collaboration strategies and tools, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.