How—and why—to encourage employees to be entrepreneurial

The entrepreneurial spirit, even in an established organization, fosters innovation and, ultimately, spurs customers to embrace your products or services. Try these five approaches.

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For startups and for large corporations, there are tangible benefits to empowering employees to act like entrepreneurs.

It’s essential for company leaders to cultivate a culture of learning, iteration and innovation.

Here are five ways to empower employees to act like entrepreneurs:

1. Innovate.

Startups challenge existing business structures with new ideas, technologies and operations. Established companies often focus on keeping up with production demands and activities; entrepreneurs evaluate the market to see what new product or service meets an unmet demand. For instance, Netflix and Redbox provided easy access to consumers’ favorite movies, with fewer late fees. By the time Blockbuster and Hollywood Video stepped back from their daily operations to see what happened, it was too late. Internal entrepreneurs (intrapreneurs) must have a safe place to run experiments, held accountable by learning metrics instead of just profit. Give your team authority to do what would benefit the customer, and fund them appropriately.

2. Put the customer front and center.

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