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Opportunity Recognition & Idea Generation – Part 2

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Opportunity Recognition & Idea Generation

Opportunity Recognition & Idea Generation

In the first part of Opportunity and Idea Generation provides an overview of the academic literature available in the area of entrepreneurial opportunity recognition. In the second part will be presented the practical part of this post – interview with an entrepreneur.

Interview With an Entrepreneur

The entrepreneur I had the chance to interview has extensive experience in the hotel and restaurant sector, which is a part of the larger hospitality industry. In the short time, I had been available to make an live interview. I acquired a better insight in the reality faced by today’s entrepreneurs. I also believe that I developed a better understanding of the psychological development process of entrepreneurs and the trigger factors that ultimately push them into pursuing opportunities and being proactive.

For the person who agreed to the interview, one of the main motivations to start her own business was the notion of working long years for other people and not having much to show for at the end of the day. She acquired enough experience, and becomes more and more qualified, but felt underappreciated. In addition to that, with her experience, she was in a better position to recognize certain changes in terms of customer satisfaction, tastes and preferences. Another factor contributing to her proactiveness was her two young children. What she wanted to provide for them is an environment where proactiveness, forward thinking and risk tolerance was not unknown terms. She believes that with her actions, an example will be set for her children to follow in their future and perhaps learn some lessons in life sooner than their parents.

Some of the environmental settings that contributed to the creation of this opportunity are part of the current global economic crisis. Namely, what the entrepreneur noted and was realistic enough to recognize was the emerging trends of a large number of customers preferring lower pricing of products and services. Another factor that helped this opportunity become more easily identifiable and accessible was the fact that the current participants in the local restaurant sector did not pay any attention to the complaints of these people, managers were not proactive enough to come down on the customer service level and engage a direct a contact. So, one of the things that were in favor of the entrepreneur was the narrow – mindless of the managers and their lack of appreciation for customer and general market feedback.

As stated in the interview, to keep to the low cost business model running, only family members were involved in the restaurant management. The other reason why initially only family members were involved was the expected flow of communication, as that was recognized as an important aspect of organizational management. In terms of the idea generation, the entire process and to place in academic terms, the “connecting of dots” was done by the entrepreneur, through information gathering from the environment.

In relation to academia and scholar research, there is only one aspect of the opportunity recognition model that can be identified in the real life case analyzed through the interview. The factor of previous knowledge and experience related to the industry is the obvious one with the entrepreneur having more than 25 years of practical knowledge in the specific sector. What makes this case perhaps a peculiar one is the absence of some of the more established opportunity recognition model variables as recognized by scholars. In the particular case, the entrepreneur did not touch on the topic of entrepreneurial alertness, and the discovery was obviously not achieved after a purposeful market research. The restaurant was managed internally, where the children helped in the operation facilitation, and the company was opened on the initiative of an individual, where she does not mention any specific networks of business partners. In this aspect, a business network can be the customers she communicated with that led to them revealing how they felt about the prices. More specifically, these people would fit in the description of the so called “loose ties”, which as discussed by researchers, are much more than the closer ties, like family and friends.

Conclusion

As a rapidly developing field within economics, entrepreneurship is considered one of the biggest economic drivers for improvements and expansion. With academia and industry experts increasingly recognizing the role and importance of future developments in this field, efforts are being made towards establishing entrepreneurial activity and perception models. Such models would help provide better insights and facilitate the entrepreneurial processes in the future. So far, academia has somewhat agreed and established upon several aspects or factors of the entrepreneurial opportunity identification and discovery process. However, due to the lack of uniformity and standardization in this process, a universally acceptable and applicable model has not been developed so far.

The interview conducted with the entrepreneur provided valuable insights for the findings of this post, which somewhat contradicted the general findings of the academia. Although the findings from the interview cannot  be generalized, they did not match the majority of already established academic criteria related to the opportunity recognition process. As a small scale research, this only further implies the diversity of circumstances and variety of factors that can influence this entrepreneurial process.

This is a guest post by Aleksandar Delev, Ba in Marketing, Sheffield, UK.

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Opportunity Recognition & Idea Generation – Part 1

big business idea
This post provides an overview of the academic literature available in the area of entrepreneurial opportunity recognition.

Firstly, the opinions and theories of some respectable members of the academia from this field are discussed and compared. Then some contemporary issues in entrepreneurial models’ design are elaborated upon with one specific scholar study being given as an example.

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Value Shipping – Questions for Entrepreneurs

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Value Shipping - Entrepreneurs

Value Shipping - Entrepreneurs

For a long time, I’ve analyzed different states of businesses and entrepreneurs around me. About the situation, I cannot say that it is pink.

However, we must follow the rules of entrepreneurship to reach our long term success or simply to survive. So as one of the first elements of entrepreneurship I think that is important is shipping, because that’s entrepreneurs – value shippers.

They are value shippers to the society, to the state, to the government, to the market, to the consumers, to the suppliers…

So maybe it would be good to ask yourself these questions every day, or maybe every week or minimum every month:

  • What can I ship as a value today, yesterday, previous month, previous year?
  • Who received my shipped values?
  • How much is valued that shipped value?
  • What is the reaction from recipients?
  • Do they recognize the real value of my shipped value?
  • How they can better recognize my shipping’s and their real value for them?
  • What I can get from my shipped value?
  • How can be increased the real value of your shippments?

When you answer the questions, consider the possibilities how to improve the shipment to all stakeholders, and of course how to improve your personal benefit, because I hope that your business exist because of you and your family and not because of the state or society. However, you are in the spotlight, you are an entrepreneur.

However, besides this, there is another element connected with your shipping. This is availability of the shipments.

You may ship the greatest value for me, but if I don’t know what you ship, I cannot find your shipments. Because of that, you must have special attention on the availability of what you ship as a values.

Let’s suppose that you provide a high level values, regardless if you shipped it for free or in exchange for money. However, here is a need of the road that will bring your prospects into the distribution channel of value that you want to deliver.

Because of that we need a magnet, a magnet which will attract prospects to the already constructed road that will lead to the request of your shipments.

Magnet – Attention, Reputation and Trust

As a possible magnet for the availability of what we won’t to deliver is attention, reputation and trust. If we don’t achieve all three elements, the probability of visibility and availability of our shipments to everyone will be at a very lower level.

Platform

There are different platforms about shipments and availability of that shipments.  What type of the platforms you will choose will depend on what you ship and of course to what market is your shipments. If your target market is on Facebook, start distributing values there, if they are on Twitter be there… If they are everywhere, be everywhere.

To find the best platforms for your value shipments answer these questions:

  • Which shipment for which receiver is designed?
  • What platforms are used by potential recipients of my shipments?
  • Where are those who want to receive my shipments?
  • Are they in a coffee shop nearby? Or they are on Facebook?  Maybe they read newspapers. Maybe they are looking TV news three times a day on each TV station or only on one.
  • Is my delivery going there to where it is intended?
  • Is the person who should to receive your shipment already received it? Did he notice it?

These are questions that always need to look for an answer.

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Business Blog in Vacation Time

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Blogging for Business

Blogging for Business

Business blog as a marketing tool is a significant part of your overall marketing for small businesses and entrepreneurs. However, it’s time for summer vacation. The biggest problem for small businesses about this marketing tool is the lack of human resources. Lack of human resources that will contribute to your business blog and make it live in a summer time is a real threat to this marketing tool. In many cases, the entrepreneur is the one and only person who fully performing these activities about blogging.

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6 Market Research Methods

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Market research is one of the most important activities that you need to take as an entrepreneur when you are running a business. Each market research relay on certain methods, which in most of the cases is a way of collecting information or data required for the research.

It seems that 80% of a market research is a collection of valid information on the market. While 20% refer to the analysis and interpretation of already gathered data. This is the 80/20 rule. Because the market is made up from customers and competition, it is necessary collect all information relating to them.

I want to mention something before starting with the six most popular methods that you can use for market research. The most important source of information is your customer. Why? Because the methods listed below you cannot use with your competitors, but simply with your customers. In such a way through your current and potential customers, you will try to find all necessary information about competitors that will help you to implement great market research process.

It is necessary to take a care about information overflow that is not so good for this purposes.

1. Surveys

One of the most used methods in market research and one of the strongest weapons in the hands of entrepreneurs are surveys. Surveys are most popular because they are most easiest to implement and most easiest to collect information that arrives in a form that is easy for analysis. Of course if you design it in the right way. Surveys can be implemented in several forms:

  • Paper surveys.
  • Telephone surveys.
  • Surveys send through mail.
  • Online surveys.

The process of conducting the survey can be implemented as follows:

  • Preparation of survey questions.
  • Choosing the distributing method of a survey.
  • Dissemination of the survey.
  • Collecting and analyzing the data.

2. Interviews

The second method that can be used in market research is interviewing. This simply means to meet someone who will be interviewed and ask him questions that will be of interest to your market research process. The interview is more difficult in comparison with a survey and will require more time for implementation. As an disadvantage can also be considered limited number of people who can be interviewed. So, you can use:

  • Face to face interview.
  • Phone interview.
  • Online interview (Skype).

Interviewing process can be as follow:

  • Select a group of people who will be interviewed.
  • Contact those people and schedule an interview meeting.
  • Prepare questions.
  • Conduct the interview.
  • Analyze collected information.

3. Observation

The old and still applicable and effective technique for market research is observation. It means that you or someone from your staff members will observe a situation and will note different behaviors of a observed subject on the market. For example, one way of exploring the market for a retail business is to monitor the competitors. Well, in that situation the subject (competitor) will be observed in order to answer the following questions:

  • How many people enter in the competitor’s tore?
  • How many of them buy something?
  • What is the profile of those people?

Implementation process of observation can be as follow:

  • Select the subject that will be observed.
  • Select which activities and behaviors must be observed.
  • Implement observing.
  • Process and analyse the collected information.

4. Trial and Error

This method is not used so much, but it can give you very useful information related to your market research. It can be implemented on a random basis. For example, you want to implement something new just to see what the results will be. If you have results that you want to have, you will continue, but if not, then you must implement specific improvements. In such a way, you can receive high quality information from the market. You know what the market want, what don’t want, what is the behavior, how to have influence on them…

5. Focus Groups

Focus groups as one of the market research methods is a very specific method, and probably it is one of the more expensive methods because it needs recording equipment and a special room for the implementation of the focus group session. At the focus group sessions, moderator uses the specially prepared questions that stimulate discussion within the group. Usually one focus group session lasts two to three hours, and it is necessary to conduct several sessions with different members if you want to have better results.

The process of implementation of this method can be as follows:

  • Select the members of the focus group.
  • Prepare questions.
  • Conduct and record sessions of discussion.
  • Analyze gathered information.

6. Asking Employees

The last in this list, but not less important than others methods is asking your employees, especially your sales team. They are the ones who are in a direct everyday contact with your customers, and they are those who communicate with them on a daily basis. Several questions on which they can get answers from customers will bring you high quality information directly from your market.

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5 Tips For Better Commitment to Business Goals

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Each entrepreneur and their business rely on goals. How many times you have set a goal in your head that you want to achieve, and you have not achieved it? The answer is probably many times.

Business goals must be achieved, and they are not a subject that can be set it and forget it. But, how can be increased efficiency in achieving personal and business goals of an entrepreneur? The answer is a commitment to achieve those goals.

What are the Goals?

The goals are simply something that should be achieved within a certain period of time in the future. They are composed from:

  • Something that should be achieved. For example, the goal is increasing sales.
  • Period of time in which it must be achieved. For example, the goal is increasing sales in the next year.
  • Measurable indicator that can tell us whether or not it is achieved. For example, the goal is 20% increasing in sales in the next year.

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