By Goke Ilesanmi
Stakeholders have continued to blame the high rate of unemployment in this country on our school curricula that are not tailored towards making students entrepreneurs after graduation. Consequently, most times, graduates that even want to venture into self-employment or entrepreneurship after a long search for jobs do not know where to start from. This situation is worrisome, making sustained education in this regard a matter of compulsion. What is entrepreneurship? Entrepreneurship is the practice of starting new organisations, particularly new businesses generally in response to identified opportunities. Entrepreneurial activities are substantially different, depending on the type of organisation that is to be started.
Peter Drucker, a business management expert says entrepreneurship is about taking risk and the behaviour of the entrepreneur reflects a kind of person willing to put his career and financial security on the line and take risks. Pinchot (1985) even coined the term “Intrapreneurship” otherwise called “Corporate Entrepreneurship” to describe entrepreneurial-like activities inside organisations and government. This concept is equally popularised by James J. Semradek, Jr. and Michael P. Butler in their book “7 Principles for Creating Your Future”.
As once said, Professor John Miner, author of “The 4 Routes to Entrepreneurial Success” identifies four types of entrepreneurs as personal achievers, super salespeople, real managers and expert idea generators. Personal achievers, according to Miner, are classic entrepreneurs, bringing tremendous energy to their performance. They like to plan, including setting goals for future achievements. They have a lot of initiative and a strong commitment to their organisations. Personal achievers believe that they control their lives through their own actions rather than being controlled by circumstances and are most likely to succeed if they pursue the achieving route by constantly putting out fires and dealing with crises.
There are also super salespeople. Miner educates that these people possess a great deal of feeling for other people and want to help in any way possible. They use a soft-sell approach, and receive sales from their customers’ desire to give something back. Relationships are very important to them. Therefore, they like social situations and groups. These people consider selling to be essential to their companies and to succeed as entrepreneurs, super salespeople need to use the selling route by spending as much time as possible selling and getting someone else to manage the business.
As regards real managers, these people like to take charge, and they do well in corporate leadership positions. They are competitive, decisive and positively disposed to those with authority. They enjoy power and acting a part. As entrepreneurs, they frequently become effective marketers, partly by managing the marketing process but often by being good salespeople. Their ideal path to success is the managing route, which is by finding or starting a business large enough to need their managerial talents.
Expert idea generators
The expert idea generators are the last of the entrepreneurial classifications. This category of entrepreneurs invent new products, find new niches, develop new processes, and generally find a way to out-think the competition. These are innovators in the true entrepreneurial sense, and are strongly drawn to the world of ideas. Yet, it is noteworthy that these people can get carried away by their enthusiasm and fail to take sufficiently-calculated risks; and to mitigate the risks of unwarranted enthusiasm, a degree of cautiousness helps here.
Many new entrepreneurs who have little familiarity with the industry they wish to enter often ask, “How do I go about writing a business plan?” You need to forget about writing the business plan first and focus on learning as much as you can about the general industry you wish to enter. After doing this, then, plan your entry strategy. If you do a good job here, writing a business plan would be easy. By gaining experience in your potential industry, you can better decide if you will really like and enjoy running a business in that industry. Thomas Stanley in his text “The Millionaire Mind” says the wealthiest of the wealthy are the most likely to say, “I’m financially successful because I love what I do.”
It is difficult to succeed if you do not love what you do. And, it is impossible to know what you would like, unless you have done it or have done something very similar. Trade associations in your industry are one of the best sources of information. And study the industry from the basic creation of the product all the way through the use of the product by the end-users. Study the entire distribution system that supplies end-users.
In some cases, such as Dell Computers, entrepreneurs have been successful in bypassing the entire established distribution system and selling directly to the end customers. Direct marketing, personal sales and the Internet may or may not be useful distribution and marketing methods for your business. But, never assume the established distribution system is irrelevant to your company’s success.
According to Andrew Griffiths, a marketing consultant and author of “101 Ways to Market Your Business”, no matter how good your product is, you must have a marketing plan and a distribution system to make potential customers aware of your product and to give them access to it. Lacking this, a product-focused company will fail. And, breaking into the existing distribution system is sometimes difficult for new companies. Therefore, do not assume the distributors will line up for your product, even if it is great.
A distributor’s standpoint
From a distributor’s standpoint, one more new company offering a product is not usually valuable. The costs of offering, ordering and distributing the new product often exceed any profit to be gained from a limited number of added sales. Distributors would often prefer to focus on distributing only a handful of a vendor’s most profitable products. It is the distributor’s customers’ desire for one-stop-shopping and convenience that motivates the distributor to carry a wide range of products. Companies with a much-in-demand product or brand name often leverage their position. Working with distributors is relationship-building. And, as with most relationships, you must take the bad in addition to the good, and distributors frequently must take the unprofitable along with the profitable.
You can become a successful entrepreneur if you are prepared to master entrepreneurial fundamentals.
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GOKE ILESANMI, Managing Consultant/CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is a Certified Public Speaker/Emcee, Communication Specialist, Motivational Speaker, Career Management Coach, Renowned Book Reviewer, Corporate Leadership Expert and Editorial Consultant.
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