Creative Entrepreneurship: The Enterprise Strategy of Value Creation


The word enterprise has undergone something of a grammatical shift from its original introduction from French as a noun to describe commercial undertakings between people to become almost a synonym for a business or firm (Gray 1998, p. 1). It has thus assumed figurative use to describe the energy, ingenuity and application of people who successfully work in businesses or firms, or even generally show skill at overcoming problems. This has transformed the use of the word "enterprise" from a fairly useful noun into an adjective (Ibid).

By appending the word enterprise as an adjective to culture apparently made it more concrete and commercial in the sense that an enterprise culture involves the human spirit, personal expression, values, principles and moral commitments to a business venture. As Lavoie and Chamlee-Wright (2000, p. 2) observed, business decision-making can be seen as the locus of creativity and of moral responsibility. "The business world may often be associated with hierarchical relationships and bureaucratic routine, but it is also the site of spirited human dramas, a domain in which noble ideals can be pursued and uplifting values can be defended" (Ibid).

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The traditional connotation of entrepreneurship has been concerned with the start-up of new firms, however, entrepreneurship has become accepted as a firm-level phenomenon deserving scholarly attention (Brwon et all, 2001). This is based on the understanding that entrepreneur-ship is relevant to managers irrespectively of the size or age of their organization (Ibid). Stopford and Baden-Fuller note that the connections among managerial entrepreneur-ship, business renewal and industry leadership are receiving increasing attention in the literature (1994, p. 521). In fact the fundamental rationale of enterprise culture is that successful small firms grow into the large corporation of the future. Self employed small business managers are seen as entrepreneurs. Economic progress depends on sharp, efficient and dynamic small firms providing a constant flow of new ideas and products, thus supplanting older, moribund firms (Gray 1998, p. 17).

Although, new business starts-up is certainly not the only key contributors to innovation and higher value added product, this paper focuses on entrepreneurship as the key driving force for innovation. New businesses seek and exploit new opportunities, and continue to infuse creative entrepreneurship through value creation as their core factor of their competitiveness. As noted by Gray (1998, p. 17) enterprises often develop in a fairly entrepreneurial way through the organic growth of their business into new territories or new products, or through a process of vertical integration [1] (Ibid). In order to use a case study of an online network company, this paper attempts at explaining value creation as main focus of e-business. It is seen as an entrepreneurship strategy through continuous innovation, customer focused and quality conscious in both virtual community and real life.

Accordingly, this study looks at enterprise strategy of value creation in a growing e-business that is, 4Networking - a business breakfast network company. 4Networking is the fastest growing Business Breakfast network in the world [2] and is created by Brad Burton. Brad Burton has falling from grace to grass before rising again as the founder and managing director of 4Networking. He recognized that E-business through entrepreneurial start-ups and corporate ventures has the potential for generating tremendous new wealth (Amit and Zott 2001) and thus, he has puts his company in the way of these opportunities. He exploits the opportunity that internet provides and use it for value creating business (business breakfast network) which gives easy accessibility for business collaboration.

This paper is divided into four sections. The first part, which is this section, is the introduction. The second part explores the creative entrepreneurship. In this section, analysis on creative entrepreneurship was done in relation to 4Networking. It also explores how Brad Burton (entrepreneur) uses information to create economic value. The third part explores how 4Networking is a small firm that contributes to economy growth and development. This is approach from the perspective of intellectual capital as a source of small firm competitiveness in the information society. This is accessed based on innovative activities that are specialist services for small, medium and large firms. The last section is the conclusion of the paper.

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2.0 Creative Entrepreneurship

Let me begin this section in relation to Brad Burton, who as earlier stated recognized an opportunity and tapped into it through the creation of 4Networking enterprise. The establishment of this business shows how an entrepreneur can step into an arena of larger responsibility, greater risks and potentially affects more people (Shenkman 2004, p.66). As posited by Amit and Zott (2001, p. 494) value creation in e-business goes beyond the value that can be realized through the configuration of the value chain, the formation of strategic networks among firms or the exploitation of firm specific values. E-business business firms often innovate through novel mechanism and transaction structures not present in firms that are more traditional (Ibid).

2.1 Exercising an entrepreneur option: A case of a Business Breakfast Networking Company

The main locus of value creation by e-business can be captured through the business model. The business model of 4Networking is that it is a source of corporative business relationships. The company serves to offer online services to clients through creative business practices. Such services which are built around value creation are essential to form bridges among one business to another. In addition, Brad Burton applies values and business skills to enhance the business. Business (entrepreneurship) issues are not only looked in terms of managerial options and resource constraints, but increasingly looked at as opportunity to be creative (Shenkman 2004, p.70). 4Networking is a 50% business, 50% social network, and as such as become an effective tools for companies to develop a healthy relationship with many other businesses in the same field and work. This has not only improved on businesses network, it has contributed immensely as an effective method of increasing sales and business peer review.

Fondly described in the media as a champion for enterprise, Brad Burton contagious enthusiasm for business as made him a key note motivational speaker. In his inspirational book "Get Off Your Asse", Brad provides invaluable insights into the highs and lows of staring up a business. It a book that offers it reader sound advice that motivates business enthusiast to creates more business appointments that are of beneficial to the business progress. In this book, Brad Burton shows that his 4Network business provides an information platform for business and source of information for business networks. This is an unconventional way to create value and at the same time remain a source of value creation. The economics of value creation as a theory in entrepreneurship and strategic management center on innovation as the main source of value creation (Schumpeter; 1934 cited in Amit R and Zott C; 2001).

Schumpeter innovation emphasizes the importance of technology and considers an appropriate sequential organization of, and combination of resources as the foundation of new products and production methods. Schumpeter's proposition provides a good basis for interpretation and linking of value created in the process of planning a business venture. In this case, it explains the unique value created by 4Network through establishing a platform for both small and large businesses alike to massively grow the networks of business contacts and provides advices on ways to further grow a business. Innovation is part of the driving force of economic development and established markets; hence to tap into the opportunities offered by the markets, the role of innovation cannot be underestimated. The business vibrant businesslike breakfast meetings, online business chatting, and relaxed networking both online and in real life all offer a platform for small businesses to network and grow in the industry. It is simply to build a virtual community of business minded individuals and electronic network of businesses.

Hitt et al (2001) link innovation with strategic management by addressing the determinants and consequences of innovation process. Innovation is important for an entrepreneur to ensure enterprise competitiveness. The emphasis on creating value in the business would certainly improve on membership of the network and generate significant attention from competitor. Thus as 4Networking new opportunities for value creation, it foster new forms of collaboration among the business on its virtual platform. Therefore, the cooperative relationship development foster by 4Networking is the source of Brad Burton creative entrepreneurship. It coordinate business network and allow two or more businesses to establishe relationships benefial to the parties. The four primary and interrelated value drivers of e-business according to Amit and Zott (2001, p. 494) are: novelty, lock-in, complimentarity and efficiency. The term 'value driver' refers to any factor that enhances the total value created by an e-business.

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The value driver of efficiency is that transaction efficiency in one of the primary value drivers for e-business. Amit and Zott (2001, p. 503) note that transaction efficiency increases when the cost per transaction decreases. The greater the transaction efficiency gains that are enabled by a particular e-business, the lower the costs and hence the more valuable it will be (Ibid). Furthermore, the value-creating potential of an e-business is enhanced by the extent to which customers are motivated to engage in repeat transaction. This is described as the "Lock-in" by Amit and Zott (Ibid). The network memberships of 4Networking which currently stands at over 25000 and is growing daily express its customers' commitment and motivation to engage in repeat transactions. Complimentarity are present whenever having a bundle of goods together provides more value than the total value of having each of the goods separately (Amit and Zott 2001, p. 504). For instance, 4Networking provides complimentary services for its client/members to meet, like, know and trust in a complimentary order. Novelty has to do with structuring of transactions on the firm based e-business platform. 4Network links potential business partners and thus create business value by connecting previously unconnected parties (Ibid).

To conclude this section with a report on internet marketing, John Reese acknowledged that the top players in each market will be the ones delivering the best value to their market and truly making life better. This is exactly what Brad Burdon has done and continues to do with his company 4networking. The four potential source of value creation in e-business is present in 4Networking. Brad Burton as an entrepreneur has therefore being able to create value through the exploitation of business of opportunities that enhance and consolidate relationships between business enterprises. He explains in his book (earlier mentioned) that entrepreneur starts with vision and that without vision nothing can be achieved.

3.0 Intellectual Capital as a source of Competitive Advantage

It is generally accepted that the source of value creation is to be found in the creation and manipulation of information, knowledge and ideas (Gutherie et al 2003, p. 429). The rules of business are being rewritten and that the industrial era enterprise models are no longer adequate to meet the dynamic condition of a changing world market (Ibid). Hence, the continuous creation of innovative products and services by entrepreneurs is a major factor of success in any successful economy. Intellectual capital, which is a source of innovation, can be an instrument of competiveness and competitive advantage for both small and large firms.

Intangible knowledge resources and intellectual capital are non-physical resources of a firm that more often does not appear in corporate financial reports. In actual fact, knowledge resources have increasingly been seen as an integral part of firm's value creating process (Low, 2000; Sullivan, 2000 in Gutherie et al 2003, p. 429). In management studies, many researches have, until now, focus on how to identify and classify the greater hidden value of the firm and many frameworks suggested. "It is, however, a remaining question whether firms know how to manage this important value in order to get the right values for future development" (Gutherie et al 2003, p. 430).

Intangible knowledge is directly related to organization corporate competence, which is essential for any organization to pursue the right opportunity. It is not enough to just identify the competitive forces, opportunities and threat in an industry when formulating a corporate strategy (Porter 1979), corporate competence and resources have to be identified as well (Marr et al 2003, 444). "Kenneth Andrews brings the strategic importance of competences to a head when he states that opportunism without competence is a path to fairyland" (Ibid). Entrepreneurs' intellectual capitals are more often than not a source of their competitive advantage. Corporate culture is build around the intellectual capital that exists in small firms and to take care of customers and employee first while profit follows. "Corporate culture is the shared values, traditions, customs, philosophy, and policies of a corporation; also, the professional atmosphere that grows from this and affects behavior and performance." (Rugman and Collinson 2009, p. 132)

Einsenhardt and Sull submit that strategy is about how to create value, capture it and sustain it (2002). They state that the first approach to value creation is through position. The is to identify an attractive market, stick out a position in this market and build a high barrier to entry to keep the competitors out. The second is the resource approach to value creation. This is often known as the resource based theory of the firm. The idea is not about position; it is about having control and owning resources that have certain kind of characteristics. These are the two common notion of value creation that everybody knows. The third is the opportunity logical value creation. This is about seeing gab in the market place that is identifying unsolved customer need and then assembling the resources needed to pursue this gap in the market place. The company does not own neither that position nor the resources, but create value to the extent and manage the uncertainty that inherent in pursuing that opportunity (Ibid). The advantage of strategy as simple rules comes from successfully seizing fleeting opportunities for growth and it is this approach that work best in a volatile fast moving market (Einsenhardt and Sull 2002, p. 96).

Successful players in competitive markets are those that that have access to a corpus of unique- or at least difficult-to-replicate - capabilities and competences (Eustace 2003, p. 588). "It is these that provide the mainspring of competitive advantage" (Ibid). In a similar vein, Carol Bergeron states that successful companies are those that make talent strategy part of their strategic planning process and integrate it into their daily operations (2004, p. 133). The success of any business strategy execution is dependent upon people, particular their abilities to formulate vision, goals and shape strategy to meet their goals (Ibid). The intellectual capital of a firm is the major source of building an organization talent strategy. The talent strategy process can be developed in three phases according to Bergeron (2004, p. 134). These phases are: build, implement and measure talent strategy process.

In summary intellectual capital is a source of competitive advantage in fast moving competitive market. It underpinned business success and sustainability. It is a value driver and the new factor of production in the knowledge economy. It is therefore essential in enhancing a firm competitiveness as it has emerged as the key value driver in contemporary innovation driven knowledge economy.

4.0 Conclusion

Conclusively, creative entrepreneurship is crucial to national economic development and it is the driver of innovation led economy that makes a nation competitive. In this essay, it is shown that successful companies are consistent in their strategy and the business model they adopt. The case study company, 4Network, is an example of small firm that has strategy coherence and value driven service process specifically aimed at ensuring customer satisfaction. 4Network has been able to combine technological possibilities with market opportunities in realizing sustainable competitive advantage. It is not only small business (starts-up) that have been striving to exploit product-market opportunities through innovation, corporate firms as well through acquisition, new product development, or overall strategic renewal have been striving to exploit market opportunities. In both starts-up business and corporate firms, intellectual capital is essential towards this drive.