Last post we discussed marketing influence across the whole business. But
according to some commentators, there might be a recession soon. Does this mean
marketers influence will decline even further. You may have less money to spend
and fewer resources. It will put pressure on costs as growth gets more
So should you react in a different way as a
result. This week we show how "internal entrepreneurs" get growth.
This is the same whether the market is growing rapidly or stagnant.
first thing is to focus on action; doing things rather than analysis, research
and meetings. I was reminded of this when reading Tom Peters blog
and saw this quote.
Any project worth doing is worth doing because in
some small or large way it challenges "the way we do things around here."
Moreover, it is a given that bosses are primarily hired to be cops who make sure
that we do things "the way we do things around here."
is often resolved by a select band of individuals who drive for practical steps
that will create growth. These team members refuse to accept the processes,
always find ways around the restrictions and "kick down doors" to make things
This select band are the internal
entrepreneurs. They will work with limited resources. Internal
entrepreneurs push their ideas with conviction and energy. They also recognize
that they must win people over and cannot achieve their goals by just pushing
their ideas. However they are willing to push back and are not put off by
objections and obstacles. We have noticed they can exist at many levels of the
organization. This is not just a feature of senior management. What are their
We recently worked with someone in a 7m business who used
this "internal entrepreneur" approach and it has worked, two years later this is
now a 12m business. They also operated with some of the constraints of a larger
business since the business is owned by a multi billion global business. But
they did not have access to additional finance from this larger business. The
resources available to them were only those generated by the revenues of this 7m
Here are our practical tips based on the
behaviours we have observed in this case and others.
- Identify the five top drivers of growth on the business and ensuring the
whole team understands them.
- Translate the 5 drivers into practical actions and review them every month
- Refuse to accept that it is OK to miss objectives due to a need to adhere to
process. When obstacles arise, the question is how do you get around this?
What else could we do?
- Develop a great enthusiasm for celebrating successes. Make the office area
full of boards with updates on progress, pictures of successes, statements of
intent and performance vs. targets.
- Evaluate all activities using three simple questions, what works, what does
not work, what could we do better? (Always start with the positive
- Always talk about the customer and understand the customer needs. Underpin
decisions by robust insight. All ideas were tested with customers. This can
involve very low cost market research tools that the team created and managed
- Be clear about the working environment you want and the type of people this
required. Ensure all new recruits are interviewed and tested against this
So if you are the boss, make sure you have some internal entrepreneurs in
the team. If you are the team, try being an internal
If you want your team to understand how to do
this look at our programmes on increasing
marketing influence (you can also read our papers on
Differentiate supports internal entrepreneurs with The Growth Game
which is an approach that works to translate insights into practical steps for
growth that have the support of the business team. Our best clients are often
"internal entrepreneurs; they know a lot of this stuff intuitively and use our
approach to not only develop their ideas but to sell them to the business
If any of you have experiences that relate to
this, please let us know, either by private email or post comments under this article