Earlier this week we interviewed Leanne McEntee, Head of Home at Notonthehighstreet.com and chatted about what entrepreneurial spirit meant to her. You can watch the video here however for a bit more detail, read our interview below:
What does entrepreneurial spirit mean to you?
To me, entrepreneurial spirit is an approach or a mindset. It’s a way of thinking and behaving that proactively seeks out change and opportunities rather than waiting to adapt or ‘fire fight’ -- and not accepting that the first answer is necessarily the right one. It’s a mindset that encourages curiosity, passion and innovation.
Why do you think entrepreneurial spirit is important?
Entrepreneurial spirit is so important because it encourages individuals and teams to think outside of the normal status quo. It can be the spark of the most fantastic, creative ideas that have been borne out of an insight, a gut feel or a calculated risk. It’s incredibly exciting and inspiring to be surrounded by people who convey entrepreneurial-ism and have a genuine passion to continuously iterate and drive improvement. Natural curiosity is an incredible trait to have and can positively impact a business by inquisitive questioning.
What do you think employees can do to encourage it in their teams?
To encourage it within teams I believe the most important thing to do is to lead by example. A passionate employee, leader or co-worker inspires passion from the teams surrounding them. Like creativity, curiosity is contagious so giving employees permission to inspire change and look to question the status quo is incredibly important. It’s key to ensure that those around you are excited and not intimidated by big targets or tasks that may seem unachievable. Entrepreneurial spirit will encourage a sense of optimism and an approach to work out how, not concede defeat.
Can you think of any stand out examples of entrepreneurial spirit?
At notonthehighstreet.com we see incredible examples of entrepreneurial spirit all day! Our community of Partners are the most inspiring collection of creative businesses around. They seek out opportunities, respond to market trends and continuously iterate with their product ranges and production techniques to meet demand and provide a product or service to delight our customers.
Additionally I think some of the early pioneers in entrepreneurial spirit are the founders of a well known smoothie brand. The three founders spotted a gap in the market and acting on a gut feel (and some festival based market research to validate their hunch) established the now household name Innocent. I think their product, belief in the opportunity and stoical optimism led them to succeed.
Do you think it's something you're born with or something you can learn?
I believe people are born with it but you can absolutely learn it. Having previously worked in Marketing Agencies for the majority of my career, walking into notonthehighstreet.com was a whole new world where I was surrounded by creativity, inspiration and a ‘why not’ attitude. It’s incredibly contagious and drives inquisitiveness and a desire to improve and not simply accept the way things are. You quickly begin to question the why and look for proactive opportunities to enhance the simplest of things that can prove to have the largest returns.
How can you hone and harness it?
There are of course times when processes, tasks or businesses are not in a position to be improved or iterated on and it’s key to recognise this. Entrepreneurial spirit can come in all shapes and sizes and it’s important to size up the opportunities to ensure you're investing your time wisely. Above all else, key to the success of harnessing entrepreneurial spirit it to execute against your ideas and plans and not simply dream them up and move on!
Do you think that Not On The High Street has created more entrepreneurs or simply given a needed outlet for existing entrepreneurs?
I’d say both! At NOTHS we provide a platform and an outlet for those creative businesses who already exist but I believe we’ve also inspired a generation of those who have an idea or a desire to take a passion or skill and turn it into a business. I believe we're helping to support a generation to show them that they don't have to follow the traditional career path and that they can turn a passion into a successful business!