Thinking Like An Owner

By Josh Patrick

Here’s something you may not have thought about: Your biggest asset is your ability to earn money. You should be aggressive to protect and grow this asset. If you want to advance your career, or simply keep your job in tough times, think like an owner.

I spend most of my time working with entrepreneurs.
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One of the biggest complaints I hear from them is that they don’t have employees who think like themselves.

I have a business myself, and I love to hire people whose parents own a business. These people know how to think and act like an owner. They learn it from their parents.

If your parents don’t own a business, you can still borrow this mantra and change how you do your job. Your value dramatically increases if you do.

Show passion for the company. This is the first rule. You always get the attention of your bosses if they see your passion for what you do. Too often I had people working for me who obviously are just there for a paycheck. These are the ones who are always the first to go when things get tough.

Put the company’s interest first. Too many employees do the opposite. They think about what’s best for them and put their interests in front of the company. Thinking about the company’s best interest means doing your best when you work, and going an extra mile.

Ask yourself: If you owned the company, would you do your job in the same way you do it now? If your answer is no, change your behavior.

Don’t be afraid of making suggestions. Rather than wait until someone asks you what you think, volunteer. If you see a better way of doing things, speak up. If your boss does not adopt your idea immediately, don’t get discouraged.

I sometimes don’t deal with employees’ suggestions on a timely basis, either because I’m too busy at the moment or I have other things on my mind. But it’s never because I don’t want to hear suggestions. If you have good ideas, keep them coming. Your boss will eventually thank you.

If you don’t like where you are, leave. Sometimes, your boss doesn’t want your ideas. Sometimes, you just don’t like what the company does. Sometimes, you feel frustrated and know you could do better. This is the time for you to leave your job. If you think like an owner, you should have no problem finding a company where people recognize your value.

Employees who think like owners are always stars. If you show real interest in your job and your company, you can really stand out and be rewarded. It’s up to you.

Josh Patrick is a founding principal of Stage 2 Planning Partners in South Burlington, Vt. He contributes to the NY Times You’re the Boss blog and works with owners of privately held businesses helping them create business and personal value. You can learn more about his Objective Review process at his website.

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