This week-end I got to spend a few hours with a group of people who are being helped to plan and a start their own businesses through a funded programme to support enterprise and entrepreneurship.
It is clear that every member of the group has the passion and skills required to do something special. What is less clear is that the option of ‘starting their own business’ is necessarily the best way for them to achieve their goals. For some this probably does make sense. For others they may be able to do what they want to to do by working with or for someone else.
I think this shows an important lesson for those interested in promoting enterprise. The first thing to work on is helping people to get clear on what they want to achieve. What does the dream feel and look like? What resources do have to help make it happen? What resources will you need? What experience might you need to get under your belt before you start your own business?
Then you can move on to a consideration of the best way of making it happen. Do you need to start your own business – or are there organisations already out there who might take you and your idea on? Do you need to leave an existing job in order to make your mark, or could you interest your current employer in supporting some intrapreneurship? (Intrapreneurship is about setting up new products or services within an existing enterprise – many organisations are desperately struggling to see how best they can find and support intrapreneurs.)
My fear is that in the rush to deliver ‘project goals and targets’ some of the wider options for pursuing enterprise dreams might get forgotten.