Entrepreneurship: What does it REALLY mean?

Introduction:

In a world where ideas drive economies, it is no wonder that innovation and entrepreneurship are often seen as inseparable bedfellows. The governments around the world are starting to realize that in order to sustain progress and improve a country’s economy, the people have to be encouraged and trained to think out-of-the-box and be constantly developing innovative products and services. The once feasible ways of doing business are no longer guarantees for future economic success!

In response to this inevitable change, some governments are rethinking the way the young are educated by infusing creative thinking and innovation in their nation’s educational curriculum. In the same vein, they are putting much emphasis on the need to train future entrepreneurs through infusing entrepreneurship components within the educational system, especially at the tertiary level.

Some countries have taken this initiative to a higher level by introducing entrepreneurship education at elementary schools and encouraging them to be future entrepreneurs when they are of age. In a series of survey funded by Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, it was found that nearly seven out of 10 youths (aged 14-19) were interested in becoming entrepreneurs.

Being an entrepreneur is now the choice of the new generation as compared to the preferred career choices of yesteryears such as being a doctor, lawyer or a fighter pilot. In a recent visit to the bustling city of Shanghai in China, an informal survey was carried out among Chinese youths by the author. The results of the survey showed that being an entrepreneur, especially in the field of computer and e-commerce, is perceived as a ‘cool’ career and is an aspiration for many Chinese youths Prior to the ‘opening up’ of modern China, being an entrepreneur was perceived as the outcome of one’s inability to hold a good government job and those who dared to venture, were often scorned at by their peers. Times have indeed changed.

With this change in mindset and the relative knowledge that entrepreneurs bring forth increased job creations, the awareness and academic studies of entrepreneurship have also heightened. In many tertiary institutes, many courses of entrepreneurship and innovation are being developed and offered to cater to the increasing demand. The term “entrepreneurship” has also evolved with numerous variations. The proliferation of jargons such as netpreneur, biotechpreneur, technopreneur and multipreneur are coined to keep up with the ever-changing times and business conditions that surround us.

In view of these changes, it is important that the definition of entrepreneurship be refined or redefined to enable its application in this 21st century. To put it succinctly, “Good science has to begin with good definitions (Bygrave & Hofer, 1991, p13).” Without the proper definition, it will be laborious for policymakers to develop successful programs to inculcate entrepreneurial qualities in their people and organizations within their country.

The paper will provide a summary of the definitions of entrepreneurship provided by scholars in this subject area. The author will also expand on one of the definitions by Joseph Schumpeter to create a better understanding of the definition of the term “entrepreneurship” as applied in today’s business world.

Entrepreneurship through the Years:

It was discovered that the term ‘entrepreneurship’ could be found from the French verb ‘entreprende’ in the twelfth century though the meaning may not be that applicable today. This meaning of the word then was to do something without any link to economic profits, which is the antithesis of what entrepreneurship is all about today. It was only in the early 1700′s, when French economist, Richard Cantillon, described an entrepreneur as one who bears risks by buying at certain prices and selling at uncertain prices (Barreto, 1989, Casson 1982) which is probably closer to the term as applied today.

In the 1776 thought-provoking book ‘The Wealth of Nations’, Adam Smith explained clearly that it was not the benevolence of the baker but self-interest that motivated him to provide bread. From Smith’s standpoint, entrepreneurs were the economic agents who transformed demand into supply for profits.

In 1848, the famous economist John Stuart Mill described entrepreneurship as the founding of a private enterprise. This encompassed the risk takers, the decision makers, and the individuals who desire wealth by managing limited resources to create new business ventures.

One of the definitions that the author feels best exemplifies entrepreneurship was coined by Joseph Schumpeter (1934). He stated that the entrepreneur is one who applies “innovation” within the context of the business to satisfy unfulfilled market demand (Liebenstein, 1995). In elaboration, he saw an entrepreneur as an innovator who implements change within markets through the carrying out of new combinations. The carrying out of new combinations can take several forms:

The introduction of a new good or standard of quality;

  • The introduction of a novel method of production;
  • The opening of a new market;
  • The acquisition of a new source of new materials supply; and
  • The carrying out of the new organization in any industry.

Though the term ‘innovation’ has different meanings to different people, several writers tended to see “innovation” in the form of entrepreneurship as one not of incremental change but quantum change in the new business start-ups and the goods/services that they provide (egs, Bygrave, 1995; Bygrave & Hofer, 1991).

In the view of Drucker (1985), he perceived entrepreneurship as the creation of a new organization, regardless of its ability to sustain itself, let alone make a profit. The notion of an individual who starts a new business venture would be sufficient for him/her to be labeled as an entrepreneur. It is this characteristic that distinguishes entrepreneurship from the routine management tasks of allocating resources in an already established business organization. Though the definition tends to be somewhat simplistic in nature, it firmly attaches the nature of entrepreneurial action with risk-taking and the bearing of uncertainty by the individual (Swoboda, 1983)

In a Delphi study, Gartner (1990) found eight themes expressed by the participants that constitute the nature of entrepreneurship. They were the entrepreneur, innovation, organization creation, creating value, profit or non-profit, growth, uniqueness, and the owner-manager. The themes could be seen as a derivative and expansion of Schumpter’s earlier concept.

Expanding on Schumpeter’s Definition:

After digesting the numerous definitions of entrepreneurship, one would tend to see a strong link between these two terms: entrepreneurship and innovation. In retrospect, most of the definitions tended to be, to some extent, a re-work and expansion of Schumpeter’s definition of entrepreneurship (which is that of innovation being applied in a business context).

As defining the term of ‘innovation’ is highly debatable and would merit a paper on its own, the author has thus, for convenience, summarised the definition of innovation. Innovation can be perceived simply as the transformation of creative ideas into useful applications by combining resources in new or unusual ways to provide value to society for or improved products, technology, or services.

In the author’s opinion, the difficulties of defining “innovation” could be the reason for the quandary one finds in attempting to arrive at a clear-cut definition of the term ” Entrepreneurship”.

Take for example, if someone starts another run-of-the-mill hot dog stand in the streets of New York, will he termed as an entrepreneur? According to Drucker’s definition, he will be seen as one. However, if the above definition by Schumpeter was used as a guideline, the answer is probably ‘NO’.

Why? The core of the matter lies in what is so innovative about setting up another hot-dog stand which are in abundance in New York. On the contrary, if he is the first one to start a stand selling hot-dogs with Oriental Sweet and Sour sauce topping; he could be termed as an entrepreneur (even based on Schumpeter’s requirement) as he has done what others have not done before. In the context of entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation are key points in the whole scheme of things.

In this manner, by adding “innovative” features to a product or services and setting up a business based on these additional features to compete in the existing market, new entrants may be able to gain this competitive advantage over existing market players.

In the case of the hot-dog seller, it may be argued that his addition of Oriental Sweet and Sour sauce toppings may be seen as nondescript. This runs in contrary to some scholars’ definition of entrepreneurship as requiring quantum changes in the products/ services to be justified as being entrepreneurial (Bygrave, 1985; Bygrave & Hofer, 1991).

Consistent with creating new products for sale, someone who starts a business by providing a totally new way of serving his customers/ clients is considered to be entrepreneurial too. Though, it is often argued that there are no real new products or services in a case where one does not look to the past products and services for ideas for improvements. Thus, the notion of incremental improvements should be accepted as being innovative too.

Innovation in the business sense may not necessarily involve, in the physical sense, the introduction of a new product or service. It can be in the form of what is commonly known as creative imitations. For example, if an individual starts selling a product that is already common in his area or country, he will not be seen as being entrepreneurial. However, if he is the first to sell the same product in a virgin locale or to an untouched market segment, he will be seen as an entrepreneur in his own rights.

Take Muhammad Yunus, for example. Yunus became an entrepreneur when he started a micro-loan program for the poor villagers in a rural part of Bangladesh named Grameen, with only US$26. The loan was divided among 42 villagers to assist them to buy small items such as combs, scissors, needles and other necessities to start their own home businesses. In the past 22 years, Grameen Bank has grown with over $2 billion loans granted. It has now become a model for several micro-loan facilities.

>From the following example, Yunus created banking and lending facilities in Grameen specifically for the poor villagers. Banking and lending money activities are not new but Yunus was the first to provide such facilities in a rural part of Bangladesh and that is definitely innovation and risk-bearing on his part as a social entrepreneur. In short, innovation need not arise mainly from a new product or service but it could be an old product or service finding a new market for penetration.

An individual could be termed as an entrepreneur if he or she sells a product or service using new systems and/ or mediums of marketing, distribution or production methods as a basis for a new business venture. A good example will be Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, the successful Web-based bookstore. He was one of the first to sell books on a large scale using an online store and also patented the one-click system for online buying. Though selling books is not an innovation in itself, Jeff Bezos was innovative in the use of the Internet then as a viable marketing and sales channel for selling books.

Another example from the field of e-commerce is Stuart Skorman, the founder of Reel.com [http://Reel.com]. Reel.com [http://Reel.com] is essentially one of the first cyber movie store with a very large inventory of over a 100 000 videos. Though setting a movie store was revolutionary then, Reel.com [http://Reel.com] main distinction was being known as the first online store to expand by opening an offline store. The founder felt that by doing so, the online store could be an advertisement for the offline store and vice versa, thus strengthening this click and mortar business venture- an example of creativity and innovation applied in a profitable business context.

Conclusion:

This paper has started as an attempt to redefine the term of entrepreneurship but ended up ‘updating’ the wheel, based on the definition as proposed by Schumpeter. The paper expanded on this influential work by giving examples to illustrate what innovation in entrepreneurship was and hope that along the way, new insights were unearthed in the study of defining entrepreneurship.

In summary, the author hopes that this paper would further encourage the infusion of creative thinking and innovation within the educational system to nurture future entrepreneurs with a competitive edge. In the author’s view, the characteristics and capabilities to set up a new business venture based on doing things that have not done before should be encouraged. Innovation needs to be the cornerstone of entrepreneurship as opposed to the mere setting up of another new enterprise without implementing changes or adding features of improvements to the products and services provided and/ or its business processes.

Investing in the Commercial Tampa Real Estate Market

For years, financial expert have made it clear that one of the best investments that a person can make is real estate. Of course, in this day and age – as has been the case throughout history – the most important investment most people ever make during the course of a lifetime is that of his or her primary residence. Indeed, you may be like many, many people who have invested a significant amount of their life savings in your own home.

With that said, you may also be interested in making the purchase of additional Tampa real estate for investment purposes. Of course, a good number of people who take this course end up buying residential real estate that they either remodel and resell (oftentimes called flipping) or that they utilize as rental property. On the other hand, an increasing number of people are also investing in commercial real estate as a means of enhancing their financial portfolios.

If you are interested in investing in commercial real estate in your community, there are five tips or pointers that you need to keep in mind before you make the plunge and make the purchase of commercial real estate for your own investment portfolio.

1. Learn how to identify appropriately the most suitable commercial real estate prospects. In other words, you need to take the time to consider which types of commercial real estate options will make the most sense for your overall financial portfolio.

2. Learn the basics of commercial real estate investing. You need to understand and appreciate that there are some significant differences between purchasing and owing residential real estate as opposed to investing in commercial real estate.

3. Learn how to quickly assess and evaluate different potential commercial real estate transactions. The Tampa real estate market can be competitive for commercial property. Therefore, you need to be able to swiftly analyze a particular investment to determine if it is appropriate to your situation. A professional Tampa real estate agent can be helpful in aiding you in these calculations.

4. Come to a logical understanding of all factors relating to a particular commercial real estate opportunity and the financing you can access for the purchase. The bottom line is you need to understand what your financial obligations will be when it comes to purchasing a particular piece of property. You need to make certain that it is an investment that you not only can afford but that will financially benefit you well into the future.

5. Come to an understanding of the potential risks and benefits associated with becoming involved in any Tampa real estate transaction. In other words, you will want to undertake a cost and benefit analysis. Generally speaking, the typical commercial real estate investor simply cannot afford to invest in such property that does not allow for a regular and strong stream of revenue. Indeed, it will be the revenue generated from the property that will service the mortgage loan that needs to be obtained to make the purchase and investment in the first instance.

Family Life – Today’s Extended Family – Two Or Three Generations Sharing One Home

As if the worst recession since World War II, near collapse of the financial system, double-digit unemployment & rising health care costs weren’t enough to deal with. Today’s modern family needs help.

Extended family living is the answer. Pull together, pool your resources with the ones you love and you will survive. Whether by necessity or choice… “before it becomes necessary”. Today’s families are looking back into their family history for crisis management answers.

After world war ii, with our economy in shambles, families struggled to rebound, instinctively they counted on one another, some family members, older and wiser, some young and strong. Life savings “nest eggs” usually provided by the elder members of the family secured immediate financial relief. In turn the younger members of the extended family worked on building a solid future, they sought out and worked jobs, sometimes two or three minimal pay jobs, anything to contribute to the family’s financial future. Everyone worked together, the work ethic was amazing, even children contributed to the family security. Household chores were done mostly by the kids, while the grand parents kept a watchful eye on the kids’ well being.

So the strong, young parents could focus on improving the job and wage possibilities. It took a while, but it did happen: families recovered, even thrived, and the family bond became even stronger.

If your family finds itself needing to expand, you must set clear and respectful boundaries and guidelines. Consider everyone’s need for private space and if possible develop affordable additional living space within your home.

Consider finishing the homes basement. You can virtually double your much need living space and basement finishing is the least expensive approach when adding true living space to your home!

It’s true…you can finish your basement for roughly 1/3 of the cost of, building an addition to your home! Your only other option to add living space to your home.

Why Are Queue Management Systems Important?

When you’re doing something you love time seems to fly by, but if you’re bored to tears, minutes can seem like hours. And what’s more boring than waiting in a queue? Despite this era of fast-paced and instant service, one cannot escape lining up at the doctors, at the bank, to pay bills or to buy groceries. In a commercial world that revolves around customers, effective queue management is very crucial and technology plays a vital role in this regard. It equips businesses to manage customers effectively even during rush hour and peak season. Queue management is a crucial part of the service industry. It deals with issues of customer management with regards to reducing waiting time, improving services provided and enhancing your customers’ in-store experience. This is how it will help your business grow rapidly.

FASTER PROCESSING

A queue management system takes care of customers’ needs, right from their arrival at the branch to the time their service requirement is fulfilled at the respective counter. It also helps customers select the service required through their phone or any electronic device. The customer then has the convenience of movement while maintaining their position in the queue as he receives a ticket that displays a number. The customers can also gauge their waiting time.

IMPROVE PRODUCTIVITY AND OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCIES

An effective queue control system can lead to a significant improvement in an organization’s service efficiency. When queuing, customers are dealt with at a fast and efficient pace and fewer staff members are required which frees up staff time to deal with other essential matters.

ENHANCED CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

‘The customer is king’ and keeping customers happy is the ultimate business goal. Queue management kiosks provide the functionalities of allotting and printing tickets for customers to help them enjoy the benefits of a virtual queuing system. Customers are connected to the interactive visual media while they wait to be assisted. With Customer Feedback Devices attached to QMS, organizations can get instant customer feedback. This data is further utilized to enhance customer experience and services.

HIGHER ENGAGEMENT

It helps provides a systematic method to monitor staff performance in a streamlined, hands-free process. The goal is to enhance the service quality and save your organization’s time and money by completing tedious tasks automatically. In turn, this increases the productivity of your employees by allowing them to focus on their core areas of talent.

DECREASED WAIT TIME

With QMS, customers wait time has decreased by a great extent. Managers can do a better job of monitoring lines and reallocating resources when they’re notified. The average wait time is decreased with real-time queue management which then helps organizations prevent service breakdowns and assist businesses to run more efficiently.

REAL-TIME PERFORMANCE MONITOR

Queue management systems help monitor real-time performance and offer reports for strategic management purposes. It helps top management access the data of all registered branches in real-time to monitor performance across the entire company. This helps organizations to integrate reporting into the business process. It also helps compare statistics on staff and performs statistical analysis of data for future needs.

Queue management systems have a comprehensive list of benefits that help accelerate your business and positively impact it. Adapt to an energy-efficient, time-saving and systematic approach of queue management with Q-Sys.