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  • Why Every Employee Should Have a Business Owner Mentality

    4 October 2012

    What’s the minimum I need to do in order to keep my job?

    I wonder if I really need to do that.

    How much paid vacation do I get?

    These are, unfortunately, the thoughts and questions that are creeping into the minds of more and more employees. Complacency appears to be a growing attitude among the workforce as people forget the importance of implementing every aspect of their job descriptions on a daily basis. Employees are getting too comfortable in their positions, forgetting the necessary roles that they personally play in growing their companies’ bottom lines.

    In order to turn that attitude around, employees have to begin thinking of themselves as entrepreneurs within their own companies. They need to realize that they are the CEOs of their brands and positions. After spending a few years working with startups after working in corporate America, I have realized that there are five common attributes that separate employees in a startup from those working for an established company.

    1. Pride

    Entrepreneurs take pride in their businesses, as they are just that: “their” businesses. They know that they are responsible for their companies’ growth and, likewise, responsible for their failure. Every aspect of a proud owner’s business is being taken care of; everything he does may not bring immediate results, but it’s still growing his brand and business.

    Take pride in everything you do. Whether or not you think it’s noticeable, employers are always paying attention to your work ethic and attitude, as well as the quality of your work.

    2. Responsibility

    Have you ever heard a business owner say, “Oh, someone else will take care of that,” or “That’s not my job?” If you have, then I’m assuming that particular business isn’t around any longer. All successful business owners know that they must do everything necessary in order to keep their companies moving in the right direction.

    You must be prepared for changing responsibilities. Be prepared to take on whatever is asked of you. As an employee, you have to realize that you are there to help the company grow in any capacity necessary. Sure, you were hired for a specific role, but you’ll be considered much more valuable if they know you’re willing to do what it takes to help grow the entire company, rather than just worrying about yourself.

    3. Accountability

    Entrepreneurs don’t have the luxury of saying they will do something and then not doing it. If you don’t follow through on something as a business owner, it will cost your business in the long run.

    Be accountable to your employer, your peers, and, most importantly, yourself. If you say you are going to do something or are assigned a task, make sure you follow through with it. The growth of your business often depends on a lot of little things working together to achieve a big result.

    I worked for a small food service directory, handling all of their marketing and sales while I was in college. Naturally, we needed to get flyers into the hands of students who would be interested in using our service. I asked a few interns for help with the guerrilla marketing campaign, and the first person who volunteered to help with this task was the CEO/owner of the company. Although he had a hundred other things to do, he was not above pounding the pavement to advertise his great service.

    4. Work Ethic

    The expression “Actions speak louder than words” could not apply more accurately than it does to business owners. Words, visions, and ideas mean nothing without execution. Entrepreneurs have to work harder and smarter than those around them. With the clear responsibility this entails, it’s no secret that only 7 out of 10 businesses survive their first year.

    You have to be hungry and driven in order to work harder and be more efficient than your competitors. This includes competition inside and outside your company. If you possess a true passion to do everything in your capacity to help grow the business, then you put yourself in position for success.

    Working with multiple startups, I realized quickly that the term “required work hours” was nonexistent in this setting. Sure, there were typical times when most people arrived at the office, but I noticed that once 5:00 hit, people weren’t running for the door. Everyone stayed as long as it took to finish what they were working on. Some days, they left at 7:00; other days, people left at 4:00. It was all about meeting the company’s needs.

    5. Knowledge

    Hard work is essential, but working smart is the key that gives today’s successful entrepreneurs an edge. You cannot be afraid to continuously research your field to keep yourself current. Entrepreneurs realize that in order to grow personally, and as a company, they need to constantly educate themselves on the industry, their competition, and how they can reinvent themselves as a more effective and efficient brand.

    What applies to entrepreneurs must also apply to employees. Don’t fall into the trap of complacency and entitlement. Being a Nine-to-Fiver is just not good enough anymore. If you really want to succeed and help your business grow, you must focus on growing yourself first. To truly be good at what you do, you have to continue educating yourself by seeking out mentors, experiences, and resources. Invest in yourself like you would a business – it is your business, after all.

    Ryan O’Connell is the Director of Professional Branding for Digital Talent Agents, an online PR company that helps experts build their personal and company brands through producing high-quality content for reputable publications.

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    16 Responses to Why Every Employee Should Have a Business Owner Mentality

    1. khan October 4, 2012 at 5:36 am #

      hey great post I am agree with your 5 attributes these all are applicable in our professional life and a person wants to achieve goals in there job they must follow or adept these 5 rules .

      • Ryan O'Connell October 5, 2012 at 9:33 pm #


        I couldn’t agree more with you. Glad you liked the article!

    2. Jon Palmer October 5, 2012 at 6:43 am #

      I’m not a business man, but this is a great article! Keep up the good work Mr. O’Connel! Sounds like you have quite a successful future ahead of you!

      • Ryan O'Connell October 5, 2012 at 9:33 pm #

        Thanks Jon. I appreciate the kind words.

    3. cerdaskom October 6, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

      Very good info, thx

      • Ryan O'Connell October 16, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

        Thanks for the comments!

    4. Hannah Hamilton October 8, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

      This is one great challenge for employees. For me, when you’re in a company it becomes a part of you and you become a part of it. There is a sense of dependence on both parties so worked not just for yourself but for your company as well. Never get stranded on complacency besides success is never-ending so never stop striving if you don’t want to be left behind. Thanks for sharing this Ryan, this is encouraging.

      • Ryan O'Connell October 16, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

        Hannah, I agree it is a great challenge but a necessary one to overcome. I also agree that the mentality of “I have arrived” always breeds complacency. Thanks for the feedback!

    5. Chris Neumann October 8, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

      As I set out to hire between 20 and 25 employees on a seasonal basis I will post this in the work area in hopes that if even 10% of this actually sinks in to the employees WE will have a successful season and everyone will do well as a result. A rising tide lifts all boats.
      Great article Ryan keep up the good work.

      • Ryan O'Connell October 16, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

        I appreciate the feedback Chris. My hopes for this article was to reach business owners and employees because both need to hear the message. Love the quote “A rising tide lifts all boats” and use it often. Best of luck!

    6. Kelly Dack October 10, 2012 at 2:18 am #

      Thanks for sharing this great post! I am sure these attributes which you have discussed will help many employees in their professional life. These tips are indeed very helpful.

      • Ryan O'Connell October 16, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

        I’m glad you enjoyed the article Kelly! I think all of these attributes can be learned and applied in any workplace.

    7. Brian Gaadt October 18, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

      I’m tacking this article to my inspiration wall. I couldn’t of said it better – Cheers!

      • Ryan October 22, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

        Thanks Brian!

    8. Mike Kawula October 23, 2012 at 4:38 am #

      Awesome and so true! I’ve seen both sides as an employee and an employer. Worked at a non-ownership mentality company and an internet start-up with ownership mentality. As an employer I’ve had employees in one business punch the clock and my current they won’t go home.

      I’ve always had an ownership mindset, but hiring and managing for that trait isn’t easy! This was great!

    9. Anton Volney May 12, 2013 at 3:31 pm #

      I believe these mindsets also make the job much more enjoyable. Good post!

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