You need to be an entrepreneur, if you want to or not!

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Over the past 10 years, the ways of doing business and job markets have changed substantially.

Even before the 2008 crisis, companies struggled with fierce competition and reduced profit margins. The fear of losing contracts was passed down the rankings and spread to most parts of the employment sector. Managers realized that they had to change the way they work, but nobody really understood how to do this – and most still don’t.

Companies were used to build on their experience alone and concentrated on streamlining internal processes to save money and increase profits. Entrepreneurial thinking from employees was not wanted. It was a disturbance and could not be allowed.

Similarly, in the past two decades, business became much more project oriented with all projects having a start and an end date. The current model of long-term contracts and employment does not fit this approach. This is causing a shift in working patterns and requires a total rethink from companies and employees alike.

It became clear that the old concept does not work anymore.

Adapting to change

The idea of working for one or two companies during 40 years, then to retire and live off your pension is not working today. Neither the companies nor employees can afford this.

For many companies this is a major problem. They can’t rely anymore on expertise and experience alone. The competition is huge and customers asking different questions. They want to know what they will get for their money.

They also don’t want to be tied in to long-term contracts with long-term financial obligations. Customers want their problems solved and not just to buy a product or service. The argument of 20 years experience does not count anymore, neither for businesses nor job seekers.

Enter the entrepreneur

Entrepreneurship has now emerged as the big word all around the world. The common belief of an entrepreneur as a person starting up a business, working hard, taking huge risks and making it if they are lucky, is an urban myth.

Let me give you the right definition: an entrepreneur is a person who decides what he or she wants in their life and keeps achieving their objectives.

This can be applied to any person today. Independent of their age, gender, social status or colour.

It is not enough anymore for a job seeker to study, get good grades and send a CV to as many companies as possible. Today you need to apply entrepreneurial thinking to this.

Searching for better value

Nowadays, the job seeker searches specifically for companies or organizations where she can be of best service. Where she can help best to achieve a company’s goals and by doing so achieve her own goals.

This requires her to get to know the company and ask the right questions. But most of all, she understands her own value for that company and how to apply it. She understands where she needs to improve to be able to provide better value and has a strong interest in doing so.

The same goes for any business. As a business you need to understand your potential customers and you need to know how you can help best in solving their problems. A business also needs to improve all the time and have a strong interest in doing so.

Once both parties (job seeker and business) find that level, a project-partnership can be formed and that will be (and in many cases already is) the new form of employment.

It all comes down to your ability to help others consistently. That defines your value in the market as a business or an employee.

John Di Stefano

An entrepreneur at heart and founder of the Entrepreneur Academy in Brussels, Belgium. He is teaching and supporting entrepreneurs in the skills every entrepreneur needs to create a better life for themselves and the people around them.

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