Army of Entrepreneurs

Create an Engaged and Empowered Workforce for Exceptional Business Growth

 Army of Entrepreneurs

Author: Jennifer Prosek
Pub Date: February 2011
Print Edition: $18.95
Print ISBN: 9780814436967
Page Count: 224
Format: Paper or Softback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814416747

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Building an Owner's Mindset in Every Employee

Tips for Training and Motivating a Company of Entrepreneurs

It takes more than one entrepreneur—even if she’s a natural rainmaker, a fearless risk-taker, a tireless worker, and a smart businessperson—to grow a company. That’s what Jennifer Prosek realized on the brink of entrepreneurial burnout. She could have survived by selling a stake of her firm or adding new partners. But she had a different idea. “I decided I would create a new culture in my company, one that would essentially clone me,” Prosek states. Tapping the entrepreneurial talent of her staff transformed her startup into a prosperous, award-winning international public relations and financial communications consultancy, driven by a highly motivated and fulfilled “Army of Entrepreneurs.”

In her new book, ARMY OF ENTREPRENEURS (AMACOM 2011), Jennifer Prosek shares strategies to help any entrepreneur, small business owner, or enterprising manager build an owner’s mindset in every employee:

Teach your employees the business. Standardized training isn’t “too corporate” for a small company—or any company that values a small-firm feel. “Quite the opposite,” Prosek argues. “By institutionalizing training and mentoring, you ensure that the entrepreneurial spirit of the firm can be sustained even as the company grows.” To make a formal training program pay off, go beyond teaching critical skills. Give employees the opportunity to understand how those skills fit into the broader success of the organization. Help employees grasp the “why” of what they do and recognize how they’re a part of something bigger.

Provide incentives for employees to align their own financial and professional goals with the company’s growth and success. In her company, CJP Communications, Prosek has developed a system she calls “Commission for Life.” Open to all staff members, it rewards the employee who sets up a successful new business meeting with 5 percent of the revenue from the account for the life of the business as long as he or she remains with CJP. While enabling employees to earn more money, Commission for Life reinforces teaching them the business.

Encourage autonomy. Allow people to stretch their wings, experiment with new technologies, and implement their own ideas. Communicate to your employees that you trust them to do their jobs, even when it seems they are wandering outside the lines of their job descriptions, and to do what’s right for the company—their company. “When you empower people to make decisions and take responsibility for their actions, you inspire an important process,” Prosek attests. “You encourage them to educate themselves.”

Institutionalize celebration. Become a champion and public cheerleader for the contributions of all members of your company. Give each employee the credit he or she deserves for working hard. Offer a forum for employees to applaud individual feats and share in successes. At CJP, monthly staff meetings end with a “pat on the back” session, where colleagues thank other colleagues for moments of greatness.

Adapted from ARMY OF ENTREPRENEURS: Create an Engaged and Empowered Workforce for Exceptional Business Growth by Jennifer Prosek (AMACOM 2011).

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