The Enterprise Studies module was intended to help us to develop skills and understandings related to entrepreneurship.
Through this individual assignment we have to prove that we know how to put theory into practice; furthermore to show how we interpret our findings by offering some elaborate insight into this topic. Our work, because it is academic, must also follow the textual/physical/material dimensions.
This essay will analyse and illustrate the aspects of what makes a successful and acknowledged entrepreneur in consumer services.
The core of entrepreneurship
An entrepreneur is someone who starts a business in the hope of gaining profit.
Crainer & Dearlove suggest that it is hard to pinpoint what makes someone a successful entrepreneur. In his book they refer to Tim Waterstone, founder of a book chain, who observes these common characteristics:
- Great entrepreneurs are inspirational leaders
- They believe their vision is right
- Derive energy from being the underdog
- Are driven by a strong desire to beat the competition
- Combine enormous energy with fortitude and tenacity
- They demonstrate their courage by taking risks
- They respect their team members
- Understand how money works.
According to Crainer & Dearlove for growing numbers of young people, creating a business has become a calling; a vocation; a mission. It is the spirit of the age. They are the new breed of entrepreneurs who think differently about life and business; they make up the rules as they go along.
The authors describe this group of entrepreneurs as gen e, where e stands for entrepreneurial, but it’s also for energy, essence, electronic, educated, enthusiasm, empathy, emotion, ethics, equilibrium, experimentation – and much more.
“We want. We need. We demand. We clamour.” claim the authors. (2000:2)
This theory also suggests the fact that the market is always driven by what people want and desire.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and business life
The classes of needs were summarised by Maslow are as follows: physiological needs (such as hunger and thirst), the safety needs (security and protection), social needs (sense of belonging, love), esteem needs (self esteem, recognition status) and self actualisation. (Tutor2u)
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a great help in business life: Not only managers have to understand the needs of their employees, but also the ones of the customers/consumers.
Hunger is a physiological need, food is essential in life. It is no wonder that catering is one the most successful business types.
Danielle Downing started a bagel deli chain called Bagel Street. Later she decided to expand her business in the UK. She knew that British people wouldn’t want the American bagels, because Americans have a distinctive taste, so a test was carried out on customers.
The results showed that a special British bagel recipe was required. She also took in consideration the size issue; the British don’t like to waste food, so the bakery made up a mini bagel as well.
E = Energy, Essence
Crainer & Dearlove contend one of the characteristic of gen e is an ability to focus energy and thinking on the issues, trends and people that really matter; e = essence. Energy is channelled to the essence of what is important. (2000:17)
These entrepreneurs research the market, carry out surveys, talk to people and then they extract the important details.
The authors’ theory seems to be proven by the immigrants’ huge impact on the British economy. Some disagree with this, some don’t but the fact is that thanks to them a new market has opened.
According to an article on ARGOS translations it’s not just industry that is feeling the effect – Eastern Europeans, armed with higher wages and previously unheard of disposable incomes are rapidly learning to exercise their purchasing power while firms, though initially slow to react, are now endeavouring to sell their goods to this new, vibrant sector of the British population. It’s not just businesses in London that are targeting this whole new demographic group to market to; it is spreading to Nottingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh with surely many more to follow.
“The Polish community in the UK is growing and is a key target audience for us” stated Barclay’s bank in the article.
E = Empathy
Another important characteristic of the gen e is that they value the human dimension; they feel empathy towards others. Gen e knows that people make the difference; the prime value is to meet customers’ needs.
For example there are more and more Polish goods and brands rearing their heads in British corner shops and super markets such as Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Waitrose. Products such as Eastern European bread, liver pate, ketchup, drinks, squash, pickled cabbage, sweets, cold meat, spices, cheese, cheese-curd, smoked and soused meat, jam, salami, wine, pasta and many more can be found in these shops and super markets.
It is not just the catering business that has targeted immigrants, but also money transfer firms, banks, firms offering cheap call cards to Poland, agencies offering to provide assistance, travel companies. Most of these companies have employees who speak the native language of the immigrant, which removes the uncertainty and barriers experienced by newcomers. We can see how Maslow’s hierarchy of needs helps markets to better understand the customers. Not only feel these people the sense of security and protection, but also the sense of belonging. Indeed, it is much easier to trust these firms, who take the time and effort to cater to the newcomers needs and who they feel comfortable with.
Another example for how the market tries to appeal to its customers is that in Dublin the Evening Herald now includes a 12-page supplement in Polish every Friday.
What is more, Barclays allows would-be immigrants the opportunity to open a so called Passport account up to three months prior to arrival in the UK or up to four months afterwards; and is sweetened by a £10 worth of mobile phone credit provided by the Carphone Warehouse. This new type of account offers customers discounted international transfer fees and the advantage of being able to open the account with foreign identity documents. This removes a huge burden off of immigrants whom lack of UK-issued papers, proof of income and address.
E = Emotion
As mentioned before, e can also stand for emotion. Emotional economics rule. According to Alberto Alessi people have an enormous need for art and poetry that industry does not yet understand. (Alessi cited in Crainer & Dearlove, 2000:27)
Who would have thought that celebrities like Kelly Rowland promoting milk can result in a success?
E = Ethics
Crainer & Dearlove in their book also describe the impact of values on enterprise. They exemplify this by the pharmaceutical company called Merck who recognised the importance of placing meaning and morality above money. The company produced Mectizan for combating onchocerciasis, which causes blindness and affects people in third world countries. Merck knew people couldn’t afford it, so finally the firm gave the drug away for free to those who needed it.
Likewise, another example for cherishing values is when Cadbury merged with Schweppes they printed a document including their most important values: competitive ability, quality, clear objectives, simplicity, openness and responsibility. Crainer & Dearlove comment an important part of gen e is their legacy from their very first business plan.
These entrepreneurs also believe in Fairtrade which is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. (Fairtrade)
The Fairtrade consumer label is a big change in the business landscape, it is a guarantee to consumers that the products they are purchasing directly support third world producers. (Crainer & Dearlove, 2000:35) These Fairtrade products (such as toiletry, chocolate, coffee, fruits, vegetables and many more) are accessible to anyone; you can purchase these in super markets. A survey carried out on consumers revealed that they are willing to buy more expensive products if they are from third world producers.
E = Experimentation
According to Crainer & Dearlove, the final trait of a gen e is experimentation. They try and if they fail, they try something else. “They know that all the great entrepreneurs have a failure at some time. You have to fail to succeed.” (2000:41)
The authors’ statement reminds me of a cake shop in Bournemouth, B & J Patisserie. The shop sells Hungarian cakes, sweets, ice cream, drinks, coffee and tea. They were quite popular but weren’t satisfied, so they set their aim to alluring the British customers. The Hungarian sweets were delicious, but the British found them too sweet and creamy. In order to satisfy both groups, they decided to bake British cakes, such as Carrot Cheesecake. In addition they expanded their supply and started selling sandwiches and English breakfast. There was no guarantee people would come to their patisserie to have a breakfast or afternoon tea, but their idea proved to be good.
Of course, the other possibility may occur as well. In Winchester there was a shop which used to sell funny costumes and items for all sorts of events. It seamed a winning idea, but customers weren’t on the same opinion, so it became bankrupt.
The book Generation entrepreneur: shape today’s business reality, create tomorrow’s wealth, do your own thing. has helped me a lot to understand better entrepreneurship and how market can suddenly change according to trends.
The numbers of characteristics of a good entrepreneur which I described in my essay I think are important to note. The world changes, so does the enterprise and with this the expectations as well.
Individuals deciding to become an entrepreneur must be ready to focus on everything and everyone, be flexible, see what is important, communicate with people, be excited about what they do, understand the customers, have a set of values to be followed, keep balance between business and family and finally be able to take risks no matter what.
References and bibliography
· Kris Grzegorczyk and Michael Malik. Polish immigrants’ growing role in British consumer spending. Available at: http://www.argostranslations.com/polish-immigrants-growing-role-in-british-consumer-spending/ (Accessed 10 March 2012).
· The Fairtrade Foundation. Available at: http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=what%20is%20fairtrade&source=web&cd=2&sqi=2&ved=0CDoQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fairtrade.org.uk%2Fwhat_is_fairtrade%2Fdefault.aspx&ei=EvdgT_3sGKSR0QW5kYyjBw&usg=AFQjCNHCm0UW9oYeMTBFoWnY_8w15tXFxw&cad=rja (Accessed 13 March 2012).
· Crainer, S. & Dearlove, D. (2000) Generation entrepreneur: shape today’s business reality, create tomorrow’s wealth, do your own thing. Pearson Education Limited. Biddles Ltd, Guilford & King’s Lynn [Online]. Available at: http://my.safaribooksonline.com/book/small-business-and-entrepreneurship/0273649205/gen-e/8#X2ludGVybmFsX0ZsYXNoUmVhZGVyP3htbGlkPTAtMjczLTY0OTIwLTUvdg
· Motivation in theory - Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Available at: http://tutor2u.net/business/people/motivation_theory_maslow.asp (Accessed 10 March 2012).