Thursday, January 04, 2007

Entrepreneurial Thinking

Entrepreneurs have always been described as risk takers who start their own small projects. In that sense, anyone can be an entrepreneur. Without finetuning that definition, the door is left wide open for adventurers to try their luck starting high risk projects without really spending too much time on the study of their feasibility.
There is no doubt that risk taking is essential to take a final decision to invest in a project, but without 'calculation' that risk turns into a dangerous adventure in no-mans-land which may abort a potential success stroy.Entrepreneurs should be business oriented in the sense that they 'see'opportunities and develop an ability to 'grap' these opportunities fast before they are lost. Here lies the real challenge of entrepreneurship: the paradox of being fast enough to grab an opportunity while doing a calculted risk analysis? I personally think that tuition or gut feeling play a part here. Entrepreneurs do have that sense of potential success that sometimes gives them direction and an advance alert to which way they should go.Because of the fierce competition entrepreneurs are always going to get in the market, I believe they have to develop their own 'competitive advantage' not only in filling a market demand in a non-traditional way, but in becoming too much 'customer driven', a business competitive edge that would single them out from competition and bigger business entities in the market.In the 21st century, only customer driven organizations will stay afloat and win the 'who get the customer first' race.Flexibility is another critical competence that entrepreneurs should develop in order for them to be able to cope with the constant change in their markets' dynamics, customers' tastes and demands, competition practices, and strategic allainces' approaches. Their business plans should be built around flexibility and fast response to environmental changes.Finally, entrepreneurs need to develop an 'acquired taste' for success. This would help them distaste failure and crave for sustainable success that is built around their customers loyalty.
Small projects should start as lean and mean as possible at the beginning, even if resources for bigger entities are available. Bigger is not always better, and fast growth that could jeopardize the start up investment instead of building on the slow sure successes. Natural evolution and growth would help entrepreneurs avoid too much risk and uncertainty. We have heard on many projects that started as 'one man show' but ended up becoming conglomerate organizations like Microsoft, Google, Geramine Bank.
I personally believe that developing business alliances is the best way to get bigger on one hand and avoid rash revolutionary moves to grow fast sole handedly when quick success somethimes oblitertes entrepreneurs vision. Integrated services are becoming a trend in service organizations nowadays where the stakeholders become real owners of the business and work together as a team to ensure its flourish and success. Vendors, banks, outsourced services, distributors, and contractors are all good examples of strategic allies that can enhance the performance of any business. Again the Japanese model is a bench mark as they were able to turn business allaince into a 'state of art' model for the rest of the world. The Chinese are also emerging very fast into a super business power which benefitted from their market leaders neihbors. Both their markets coverage and outreach is outshining any other far eastern powers that used to be called 'The Asian Tigers.

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