The Entrepreneurial Adventure

This article was originally published on Linkedin in April 2021.

The entrepreneurial journey is arduous. It’s a journey of passion, of growth and evolution. It’s a winding journey of wins and losses. And for that, it’s not a journey that’s designed to be taken alone. If built with strong goals and defined values, it’s an exhilarating adventure to be shared as a team.

Foster an Entrepreneurial Mindset

As an entrepreneur, I have a deep appreciation for those who are driven to build, to try, to push boundaries and invent new categories, even (and especially) if that means disrupting a conventional idea or way of doing. I look for that entrepreneurial spirit in the people who join us on this journey. As with any pro sports team, while there may be a captain, everyone has an important role to play. Each person brings with them a specific strength that enhances the team’s performance.But most importantly, a winning team knows never to rest on its laurels. We know we must stay hungry to stay ahead; challenge each other to look at each opportunity through an entrepreneurial lens. The people who work at Mirakl are curious, passionate, sharp and want to test things. And in the spirit of Mirakl, we don’t hold them back. We implement innovative technologies and methods, which are felt throughout the company and are deep-rooted in entrepreneurial values: constant questioning, versatility & agility, teamwork.

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

When a team has the freedom to work within an established frame, success follows. Company wins are personal wins. Everyone shares in the pride of watching the company grow; in answering customer needs; in revolutionizing commerce. I find great satisfaction in allowing the people on the team to showcase their contributions and to share their experiences and expertise. As a founder, it is my job to empower those who work with me. Leading a team of people is not a responsibility that should be taken lightly. A leader must leave room for others to grow. My advice for building a winning team: recruit people who can take your place. Encourage them to do so. Consider it a success if your people leave to start their own businesses. This means you’ve passed on your passion, your drive and your entrepreneurial vision on to them — I take great pride in that.

Make Room for the Agility to Innovate

I believe that traditional hierarchy stifles innovation. And at Mirakl, our core value of getting things done, together, isn’t a pretty statement to plaster on the wall. It highlights the shortened cycles between innovating and doing. It illustrates the relationship Adrien and I have with our core teams; the values we pass on, which empower our team to innovate freely, with agility. This isn’t something that can be replicated in an ultra hierarchical environment. It’s a very human experience that is fundamentally authentic to the start-up culture. We make getting things done a core value and believe that it lives beyond perfection and ego. For us, it’s simple: it’s about the freedom to try and to do; to test and to learn. Innovation can’t be based on what we already know but rather a new way to do things.

“The electric light bulb did not come from the continuous improvement of candles.” Oren Hariri.

To continue to bring the best solution to customers while keeping up with a rapidly shifting market, it’s important to stay lean and agile in every aspect of the company — from ways of working to governance. Oftentimes, it’s the low hanging fruit that will divulge the health of a system: meetings that agglomerate more than seven people; where slides are read aloud; where there are no goals or next steps. When it comes to meetings, fewer is better; clear objectives matter; accountability is key. As the company grows, it’s important to fight the initial instinct to add layers of hierarchy and management loops stacked with validation processes, which slows down innovation and accountability. The bigger the company, the more niche the expertise becomes, the harder it can be for people around the table to decipher through the sudden surge of acronyms that quickly muffle common goals and siloe teams. If an agile and lean management isn’t at the heart of the company’s DNA, it’s a slippery slope to the Tower of Babel — where those who previously worked side by side to build something majestic suddenly no longer speak the same language.

Define Values that Withstand Growth

As Mirakl moves through the ScaleUp phase, we are committed to the values that bind us together; and scaling them to meet our growing customers and our global reach, while remaining agile, nimble and lean. To share this human adventure with those who are committed to revolutionizing commerce; to continue to speak the same language guided by the same North Star. When the solution offers as much as the marketplace model does, growth is inevitable. Creating a culture steeped in entrepreneurial values of curiosity, respect and a commitment for hard work and life-long learning is what allows each and every Mirakl worker to bring their best and most authentic selves to work. It’s what allows our company to reach this new level of growth with the strength and agility of a global player.

Entrepreneurship may be difficult, but it is also one of the most fulfilling adventures one can embark on. And doing so with an agile and empowered team makes all of the difference. Because in the end, it needs to be both about the journey and the destination.

Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.

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Philippe Corrot is the CEO and co-founder of Mirakl. A serial entrepreneur based in Paris, he is passionate about societal and business digital transformation.

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Philippe Corrot

Philippe Corrot

Philippe Corrot is the CEO and co-founder of Mirakl. A serial entrepreneur based in Paris, he is passionate about societal and business digital transformation.

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