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Beyond Entrepreneurship 2.0

Turning Your Business into an Enduring Great Company

By Jim Collins and Bill Lazier
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  • Contains 9 key ideas
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Beyond Entrepreneurship 2.0 by Jim Collins and Bill Lazier

Beyond Entrepreneurship 2.0 (2020) updates Jim Collins and Bill Lazier’s essential 1992 business handbook, Beyond Entrepreneurship for the entrepreneurs, visionaries, and innovators of today. This new edition combines the timeless business advice and strategy of the original text, supplemented with cutting-edge insights and case studies pertinent to today’s business world.

Key idea 1 of 9

Great business ideas don’t happen without great people.

It’s hard to imagine now, but Apple wasn’t always the tech market leader. In 1997, when the company was floundering, its former co-founder Steve Jobs returned, ushering in the era of the iPod and iPhone. Surprisingly, Jobs’s strategy for reversing Apple’s fortunes wasn’t product-focused. It was people-focused.

Think of it this way: starting a new enterprise is like buying a bus. Your first impulse might be to decide your destination. But really, the first thing you should decide is who’s going to fill the seats.

Whether you’re a newly-fledged start-up or an established enterprise, you should always be asking: Are the right people on the bus?

The key message here is: Great business ideas don’t happen without great people.

Businesses measure their success by metrics, like sales, cash flow, and customer service. But the most important metric should be your people. Specifically, how many of your key roles – that is, roles which come with decision-making power – are filled with the right people? Ideally, the answer to this should be 100 percent.

So, how do you hit that target? You can either develop, by skilling people up to suit their roles, or you can replace, by finding better candidates. Development is generally preferable, but there are times when replacement is the best option. If keeping someone in their role is costing you other employees, it’s probably best to replace them. The same is true when your staff consistently can’t work with or under someone.

When someone sees their role as a job rather than a set of responsibilities, that’s also a good reason to replace them. After all, it’s a teacher’s “job” to stand in the classroom from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., but simply standing around doesn’t fulfill the teacher’s responsibilities. And things are no different in the world of business.

Replacement doesn’t need to be negative. In a dynamic company, both roles and employees are constantly evolving. If someone has outgrown their role, or the role has outgrown them, it’s time to replace or reassign them.

Once your key roles are filled with the right people, switch your focus to retaining this talent, by creating a company culture where employees are given autonomy, responsibility, and recognition.

When the right people are on your bus, it doesn’t matter where you’re going. You’re already halfway there.

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