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'Corporate Entrepreneurship': Good for Small and Large Businesses

My normal reading pattern normally is a "business book," then a "fun book," and then back to a "business book." This routine lets me read a diverse array of books, and keeps me current and thinking creatively. The latest business book I finished is titled Corporate Entrepreneurship: How To Create a Thriving Entrepreneurial Spirit Throughout Your Company. While the book is aimed at corporate America, it is also helpful for small businesses.

Over 20 years ago, I worked for a small business in Minneapolis. During that time I had an idea for a business that was related to, but not directly aligned with, the small business' main focus: selling software and computers to other small businesses. My idea was to create a software testing laboratory that would validate software prior to its release by the software developers. This would lower the number of bugs and improve profits.

Long story short, while that software testing business is no longer a part of the original small business, it has survived and prospered. And within that same original small business, a specialized software product was developed and a separate focus started that led to it becoming the No. 1 software product within its vertical market!

Many of the challenges I faced within the small business aligned with the issues authors Robert Hisrich and Claudine Kearney brought up, even as early as the preface. As a business and sales management consultant for the past 14 years, I have witnessed many organizations attempting to add new business opportunities within their current structure -- only to run into the same obstacles. This book would help any leader at any level of organization improve their ability to adapt and take advantage of potential new opportunities without disrupting their current business models.

I have also observed many organizations jumping into something new too quickly. The authors provide in the first chapter a process to help both the organization's leadership and the entrepreneur or adventurer to identify and evaluate the potential of the opportunity. This is well-written, with great tools, and excellent for any level of business. As in my personal experience, the owner of the business encouraged creativity; Chapter 2 identifies specifically leadership's role in "promoting, facilitating and supporting entrepreneurial activity."

One of the best chapters covered "The Internal Politics of Venturing." Let me say this again: This book is an excellent read for both small and large business leaders. In any organization, the political drama can drain business opportunities. The other chapters I found very interesting were on compensation within a corporate entrepreneurial environment and funding the venture.

I found the content straightforward, easy to read, with great examples from organizations like Apple. What I really came away with is an excellent read for any level of large corporate management that wants to create a challenging environment and needs to create a playbook for innovation -- this book will provide that. For small business owners this book will lay out a process to assist you in making better decisions, improve your new business ventures and create an atmosphere of success.

My favorite quote is "Take advantage of the opportunity of a lifetime, during the lifetime of the opportunity." Corporate Entrepreneurship will help get you there!

Posted by Ken Thoreson on October 10, 2011


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