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O2E Brands – Encouraging employees to have an entrepreneurial mindset

Article - Encouraging Employees to Have an Entrepreneurial Mindset

It might seem counter-intuitive to encourage your employees to take on side projects. After all, business owners want their staff to be 100% invested in the job they’re being paid for.

But at O2E Brands, we’ve learned there are huge benefits to nurturing an employee’s entrepreneurial mindset. It ignites their innovative spirit, and it encourages them to take risks that push our business forward.

One of our franchise owners, James, started as a junk hauler on our 1-800-GOT-JUNK? trucks in California. He never considered business ownership until the franchise owner, Tom, identified the opportunity for him. Tom nurtured James’ development and promoted him as his skills progressed. Eventually, he asked, “Have you ever thought of owning your own franchise?”

Tom could have ignored the fact that James would make an awesome business owner – he’d be losing his top employee. Instead, he leveraged the increased customer satisfaction and positive brand awareness that came from giving James the reins (not to mention the fact that sales went up the following year). 

Here’s how you can develop a successful entrepreneurial mindset among your employees. 

Give employees some skin in the game

We have a profit-sharing program, so that every person on staff knows their decisions directly impact their annual bonus. That way, they’ll treat their job with the same mentality as any business owner.

We’ve also created systems and tools available to help people learn and grow.  Our People Department, which oversees the training and development of more than 2,500 franchise partners and corporate employees. They run our A-Player Development Program, which consists of in-house workshops on topics like developing as a speaker, goal setting, business model generation, time management, and conflict resolution.

Don’t be afraid to let employees leave the company – you’ll show your current team that you value them

About 90 per cent of the people we’ve trained have stayed within the O2E Brands family. Some of the people who started off working on our trucks or in the call center have gone on to become some of our most successful franchise partners or corporate leaders.

But we also understand that the pursuit of passion is a varied path. However, even people who have left us for their own ventures often remain valued business associates. Our former vice-president of information technology, Roman, created the booking platform for 1-800-GOT-JUNK?. He was so excited about its success that he went on to start his own business, providing the booking and dispatch software for other industries. But we’ve continued to work closely with his company.

Growing and developing talent, with the understanding it may lead to opportunities outside the company, is possibly the greatest loyalty attainment tool of all — and it goes both ways.

 

This article was contributed to INC Magazine by Brian Scudamore.

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