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Business inside the business: personal projects of employees threaten the company (no)

I think my case is not the only one. In our country, it is customary to crush the initiative of employees. Still – what if he profits from the company’s resources, and even grows into a competitor? Of course, situations when an employee leaves, taking with him a dozen customers, and opens his competitive business, do happen. But are personal projects of employees really so dangerous? Let’s get it right.

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To prohibit is useless
If a person so wants to launch his project that this desire does not let go, no prohibitions will stop. This may be a specific idea in which he sees a prospect – to make the world a better place, solve someone’s problem, make money. Or an abstract desire to start and develop an independent project. In any case, such ideas and desires are often so exciting that they keep you awake. Everything else recedes into the background.

In such a situation, the employer’s ban will not work. The employee will do quietly, arrange a business for a friend or just quit. But this could be a valuable shot that would bring the company many more benefits.

But what if this personal project didn’t hurt the business at all? Not even that. And if he brought additional profit, helped to grow or enter new markets?

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Can’t win – lead
Since banning personal projects will fail, and there will always be those who cannot and will not want to give up their ideas and goals, why not try to take control of it and help the employee realize an idea that will benefit both him and the business?

This approach to management is called internal entrepreneurship, applied in practice, proved its worth. For example, large companies have long realized that it’s more profitable to channel the energy and enterprise of the employees in the right direction than to try to suppress. Corporate business accelerators to implement the ideas of new products launched Sberbank, MTS, Kaspersky Lab. True, corporations are not limited to their employees – they take promising projects from outside teams under their wing.

Sberbank corporate accelerator helps startups with financing, expertise, equipment
Sberbank corporate accelerator helps startups with financing, expertise, equipment
This is where ideas are tested and launched. There is a whole unit that organizes and supports internal startups.

For smaller companies, of course, this is not enough resources. Yes, and they do not need anything – in order to get benefits for the business it may well be enough to give vent to the entrepreneurial energy of their employees. Let’s see what the introduction of internal entrepreneurship can give the company, in addition to the self-realization of workers.

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Business – new ideas, competitive advantages and growth
Often in the company all important decisions are made by the owner or CEO. Connect CRM, try a new system of motivation for managers, switch to EDI – all this is his initiative. Ideas are good and with proper implementation they will bring results – expenses will decrease, sales and profits will slightly increase. But to reach a new level, this is not enough.

The business is more or less stable, the owner is focused on managerial turnover and such small qualitative improvements. And the employees are used to the fact that they are not required to do anything other than direct duties. Fresh ideas, even if they flicker, do not go beyond the smoking room.

But in vain. Properly implemented, one of these ideas may well bring the company profit and open new markets. One of these stories was told to me by entrepreneur and investor Vladimir Marinovich.

In every single company that I led, I applied the ideology of internal entrepreneurship. For example, at Gett, we were the first in Russia to launch credit card payments and grew by 40% in a month. This idea was born and implemented just inside the company by one of the employees. He prepared this project for half a year, it was very complicated. The result is an increase of 40% per month. This is one of the most luxurious results. Of course, there were other cases, but this one is the most significant.

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