Think like an Entrepreneur Even If You are an Employee

Think like an Entrepreneur Even If You are an Employee

 

Did you know that you are in business?

 

You may say that you are an employee, but think of yourself as an entrepreneur. Let me explain.

 

Businesses simply serve people, via products and services. The people they serve show their appreciation by paying the business, at an agreed upon price.

 

Non-profits work similarly. They serve people via products and services. However, appreciation comes through two ways. First, appreciation comes relationally through the individuals benefitting from the work, and second, through monetary donations through individuals who are indirectly encouraged by the work being done.

 

Employees serve businesses. Businesses show their appreciation to their employees. They do this through what Economist Walter Williams calls “a certificate of performance”, aka a paycheck.

 

In the marketplace, there are two types of transactions: business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B). So let’s look back at the first statement in the last paragraph: employees (a collection of small businesses) serve businesses. If you dig a little deeper, you will notice that as an employee you are in the B2B industry. You are a small business entrepreneur serving a large business.

 

As an entrepreneur, you make all the decisions and you have your hand in all aspects of the business. If you looked at your career, in the same way, you are essentially the CEO, CFO, and COO of your career.

 

Have you ever thought about your work in this way?

Furthermore, have you ever thought about creating a business plan for your career?

 

There is a system that one can use to help build a business plan.  It is called the SWOT analysis.  SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.  It is a strategic planning process that helps businesses make decisions and create plans for the future.

Let’s walk through the SWOT process as you assess your own small business, your career:

 

Strengths

This is the first and most important step in the SWOT process. Identifying your own strengths is key to your success in the marketplace. Regardless of the type of work you do, operating within your strengths will allow you to function at your highest capacity. People who “play to their strengths” can easily and consistently bring unique value to others. For me, I found that I am strong in finance and communication. I have found a “sweet spot” in developing this blog and my books in order to create value for you, the reader.

 

Questions to Consider

How is your expertise unique to the marketplace?  What is your competitive advantage?

Competitive advantages are “conditions that allow a company (or person) to produce a good or service at a lower price or in a more desirable fashion than the competition”.

 

Weaknesses

Many people start and stop at step 1. While it is important to know your strengths, you need to also know where you are weak. Determining weaknesses forces us to do one of two things: either we look to improve or compensate for our weaknesses, or we cut our losses and move on to something else.

Weakness not only pertains to skills and talents, but it also refers to your current circumstances or context. For example, a weakness for me, when it comes to blogging, is that I can’t post content as much as I would like, due to having 2 little daughters (a two-year-old and a two-month-old) to take care of. That is an example of a circumstance. Another weakness I have is that I am a horrible self-editor (please excuse any typos). That is an example of a particular skill I am weak in. It is helpful to be aware of both types of weaknesses.

 

Questions to Consider

Are you constrained by lack of time, money or resources?  Do you lack the passion or physical energy to pursue your vision? Are you deficient in a particular skill you need for your current work?

 

Opportunities

At this point, the exercise shifts from an inward focus to more of an outward focus. In this step, you have to determine if people actually need the value that you bring through your talents and strengths. If people are not buying what you are selling, then you are not in business. Or if you are not getting job interviews based on your current resume, you need to do something different.

 

Questions to Consider

What are the needs that are not being fulfilled in the marketplace?  What ideas, products or services can you improve upon and make better?  Which industries are growing?  Out of the growing industries, which one has a low barrier to entry?

Barriers to entry are “the existence of high start-up costs or other obstacles that prevent new competitors from easily entering an industry or area of business”.

 

Threats

I live in New York, a condensed city. We have buildings on top of buildings. The midtown Manhattan block I work on has 3 bakeries in a row. Do we really need 3 of the same shop on the same block? It makes no sense to me. The same concept can be applied to our work: are you currently doing work that tons of other people are doing? This is the result of either the supply has increased or the demand has decreased. As you think about your work, consider those two realities.

 

Questions to Consider

Who are your competitors?  Where are they coming from?  Is your expertise becoming obsolete due to a shift in demand?  Is the market becoming saturated?

Market saturation is “when a product or service has reached its capacity in the marketplace”.

 

Moving Forward

I hope this exercise got you thinking more deeply about your work. SWOT analysis can apply to any line of work, from social work to investment banking. If you have tried this process, let know in the comments.

 



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8 Comments on "Think like an Entrepreneur Even If You are an Employee"

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Dads Dollars Debts
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I love this. Thanks for posting it. I used a SWOT to decide on my move from New Orleans to Northern California. New job and new life. It was very helpful. I wrote a post about it and intermittently look at the SWOT to reassure myself that it was the right decision for the time.

Amy @ Life Zemplified
Guest

Great post, Reid! I have used the SWOT approach in the past with 2 businesses, as well as, in my career with moves between companies. Very helpful.

Mrs. Adventure Rich
Guest

I have often used SWOT at work, what a great idea to apply it to other areas of life like side hustles and our own finances! 🙂

Chelsea @ Mama Fish Saves
Guest

This is awesome. I use SWOT analyses at work all the time and think this is a perfect way to review and advance your career when you feel stuck. No one gets promoted quickly by just doing what they are told and going through the motions, you have to make yourself valuable!

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