Businesses begin with an idea in the head of an entrepreneur. The entrepreneur is filled with passion and energy to create something new. The entrepreneur is the modern equivalent of pioneers searching for new frontiers.

Entrepreneurs take risks against high odds. Their goal is not making money so much as making something new. And when they succeed, they create jobs and incomes for more people.

But according to a Chinese saying: “To open a business is very easy; to keep it open is very difficult.” And the hours are long. “Being in your own business is working 80 hours a week so that you can avoid working 40 hours a week for someone else.” (Ramona E. F. Arnett)

If the entrepreneur succeeds, the business grows. Comfort takes over and routine sets in. The business focuses on operations and efficiency and becomes a well-oiled machine. What is lost is the entrepreneurial passion.

The big danger is that the firm’s products and services may become increasingly irrelevant in a changing marketplace. The big need is to keep a spirit of entrepreneurship alive.

Your company can nurture an intrapreneurial spirit in a number of ways. Encourage ideas. Reward good ideas. Set up a collection system for new ideas. Set up a skunk works. Every 90 days gather all the employees at an “idea bragging session,” where employees describe how they got their new ideas.

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