A big question that many people starting a business face is whether or not they should actively try to hire entrepreneurs to their team. On the face of it, it seems like a good idea: entrepreneurs are people with a lot of energy and talent, and they’re usually able to work relatively independently. But in the long run, is it so wise?
It’s worth pointing out that the world of entrepreneurship changing. No longer is the labor force just a few entrepreneurs who go out into the market and buy labor. Thanks to new technology there are now thousands of entrepreneurs all seeking talent for new business ventures. The result of all of this is far more “entrepreneurs” on the job market looking for work. Go to any procurement recruitment agency, and you’ll find people listed who have started their own businesses. These people are everywhere.
But is it a good idea to hire them? Well, one of the benefits you get from hiring an entrepreneur is the fact that they have a lot of market-facing experience. If they were in business for a long time, then there’s a good chance they’ll understand things like sales, customer service and doing a good job every day. This automatically puts them ahead of the majority of grads coming straight out of college, and it usually puts them ahead of people who have worked in the public sector.
But there are some downsides to hiring an entrepreneur. One of the problems is their fierce independence. Entrepreneurs usually self-select into entrepreneurship because of their unique personality traits. They really hate being told what to do by other people, and so they can behave very differently to your other employees. Whereas other employees will usually just get on with a job you’ve assigned, entrepreneurs will challenge your thinking and ask you whether you think it’s a good business decision.
There’s another problem with hiring entrepreneurs: their tendency to quickly move on. Hiring a new person to a company is expensive, so hiring an entrepreneur is a big risk. Even worse is when they decide that they don’t want to stick around, perhaps because the rewards aren’t big enough, and decide to move on. This costs your business a lot of money in recruitment costs and can leave you without a crucial skill in your organization. As such, hiring an entrepreneur might lead to higher productivity in the short run (thanks to their work ethic), but their ruthlessness might leave you high and dry in the long run.
Hiring an entrepreneur is all about the pros and cons. The pros are their creativity and desire to continually move forwards and improve the world. The cons are the fact that they can end up dominating the discussion and leave your company for a better opportunity elsewhere.
These are risks that you need, to be honest with yourself about when hiring entrepreneurs. Often, entrepreneurs will tell you themselves that they are thinking about their next project when applying for a position. Find out their plans and then make your decision.
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