Principle 5:
Nurture the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Successful entrepreneurs nurture the entrepreneurial spirit in their top people. A continual influx of new thought is part of the process of growth. The entrepreneurs identified an ever-present need to maintain the drive and entrepreneurial mentality of their employees in the effort to overcome the brick wall because it is people's entrepreneurial spirit that creates and finds opportunities for growth. Successful entrepreneurs said that as the company grows, the encroaching bureaucratic, organizational hierarchy stifles the employees' entrepreneurial spirit and intensity and therefore, their spirit must be nurtured.


  1. Hire people who share your values and passions
  2. Allow your executives to learn wisdom
  3. Let go of executives that the company outgrows
  4. Reward your top people when they contribute

Maxim 1: Hire people who share your values and passions.

Successful entrepreneurs surround themselves with people who think like they do with respect to business philosophy and values. They are not necessarily looking for people with the exact same managerial style or personality, but rather people who live by the same basic principles. For example, the entrepreneur may seek out people who passionately believe in the same customer service philosophy, or who respond to fellow employees and the community in the way the entrepreneur believes is appropriate. Successful entrepreneurs help create and nurture these passions and drives by hiring and grooming people who fit the organization and who match the entrepreneurs' value system.

Maxim 2: Allow your executives to learn wisdom.

Just as successful entrepreneurs realize that they were not born with some mystical gift of entrepreneurism, they also know that a part of nurturing and developing their top people is letting them learn from their mistakes. Wisdom is an accumulation of experiences - good and bad. Successful entrepreneurs recognize the need to give their managers the freedom to make decisions and build their confidence. A central part of igniting people's passions and entrepreneurial drive is giving them the opportunity to make decisions and take risks. Successful entrepreneurs have discovered that people put more into their work when they are doing something that they helped develop and that they believe in. Allowing their top people to learn from their wisdom and to develop their own from experience is essential to nurturing their entrepreneurial spirit.

Maxim 3: Let go of your executives when the company's growth outstrips their capacity to grow.

Staffing decisions are some of the more difficult ones entrepreneurs facing the brick wall have to make. Many times, top people are friends. But, it may come to pass that some of the top people and the company have grown in opposite directions - there is no longer a fit. The company may have surpassed their capacity to grow - they have reached a plateau in terms of their capabilities that re-training cannot overcome. Successful entrepreneurs recognize that they must let go of these people and move on. They must cultivate and nurture new executives. This decision and the handling of it need not be callous and there are numerous ways to handle it, but it must be done if the company is to overcome the brick wall.

Maxim 4: Reward your top people very well when they contribute.

After carefully selecting and nurturing their top executives, successful entrepreneurs know that they must then reward them well for their contributions. They understand that people must be challenged and motivated to excel and then rewarded for rising to meet the challenge. It is the quality of the decision-making process that must be emphasized and rewarded because good decision-makers are the basis for the future growth of the company. To maintain an entrepreneurial atmosphere, their top people must see personal gain and value in their efforts. However, rewarding their top people is not the simple application of some bonus formula. It is a critical, subjective decision that successful entrepreneurs make for each of their top performers.

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