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An entrepreneur can be identified if he starts, manages his own enterprise, recognize new products, services, is innovative, efficiently manages resources in order to achieve profit, makes calculative risks and has the capacity to produce, advertise and commercialize a product or service. I interviewed Mr Ravi Gupta, who is into the business of manufacturing film face ply board and making it available for sale to other businesses including retailers. Ideas can be generated from skills, expertise, aptitude, consumer needs, existing problems, everyday activities and other sources. This idea has been sourced by a need for it in the market which was recognized, risk was taken and appropriate resources were harnessed to meet the need. He had been on the lookout for a new opportunity those days. He started a construction company in 1990 and was on the lookout of an exciting opportunity, when he recognized the need for film face ply board and started a manufacturing company in 1992 in Kerala, India. Industrial products can comprise of capital equipments, materials, components and operating supplies. Film face ply board (a material) is used in construction and concreting for fine finishing and has specialized applications. He has always preferred to learn via experimenting and actions instead of theory.
A market niche was focused upon. Mr Ravi Gupta has a private company with shareholders. The funding had been a combination of personal capital, loan from banks and financial institution and is dealing with a retail and industrial market. The type of innovation in this case has been identified to be position innovation.
Type of Innovation
Incremental- 'Do Better'
Radical- 'Do Different'
New market segments have been opened
(Bessant & Tidd, 2009)
The key success factors responsible for a successful entrepreneurship include skill, expertise, aptitude, personal qualities, management skills and external factors. Knowledge of business and management skills are particularly useful in deciding how well the entrepreneur can perform tasks relating to the eight functions of a business which are general management, operations management, finance management, purchasing, human resources, marketing, administration and public relations.
I have found that Mr Ravi Gupta possesses: Technical and practical thinking (Aptitude) + (Skill) + Expertise-Recruited+ Personal Qualities: An entrepreneur is identified by possession of certain or all of the qualities such as:
Possessed by the entrepreneur?
Relevance to Mr Ravi Gupta
Opportunity orientation (opportunity seeker)
Hunts for, exploits and develops opportunities, optimistic attitude and approach. Despite having started a construction business, he wanted to do something more, something different.
He is confident about himself and knows he can solve and overcome challenging situations. During crisis, he is all the more alert and cautious and does not lose his cool.
Achievement Orientation (achievement seeker)
Presence of behavior which shows motivation to achieve goals especially challenging ones, has set standards, knows how to do the job better and is a high achiever especially when compared to the non-entrepreneurs, has a passion to make things happen.
Internal locus of control
Display of belief that he can make a difference. It is about having a belief that they can control or have an ability to influence the events happening around them. But people with an external locus of control believe that the outcome of an event is not in their hands and so they rely on fate, luck, destiny, being at the right place at the right time and powerful others and do not believe in efficacy of their own behavior. He has always had faith in his ability and capacity to control the events and does not believe in luck, fate etc.
Risk taking propensity
Takes calculated risks, but risk taken should not be too high or too low. Too low a risk does not ensure much of a profit and too high a risk does not leave the chance of success in the entrepreneur's hands. He does take risks, but only after planning and analyzing the outcomes carefully.
Persistent problem solving and efficiency orientation
He looks and finds methods of doing things at a quicker pace and at a lesser cost, there is a concern for high quality work and to produce or sell superior quality substances. Also, he would prefer to be responsible for solving issues
Creativity and Innovativeness
Ability to use imagination and create new ideas which are then put through the implementing process
Tolerance for failure
The failures are accepted the way it comes and it is used as the next step to success.
Work ethics, morals and values
He has genuine concern for others around and sticks by his morals and ethics.
Commitment to the enterprise
He works for long hours for the success of his enterprise, has invested his own capital, made personal sacrifices and expends extraordinary efforts
Recognizes importance of and maintains sound human relations
He is in friendly terms with suppliers, workers, clients. In general, he is great at rapport building.
Involvement in the enterprise
He communicates with everyone related to the enterprise such as suppliers and clients. He is aware of everything happening at all levels in the enterprise
Along with the above mentioned, he is also found to possess attributes such as implementation and improvisation, sense- making, experimentation, the capacity to interpret and process information. Entrepreneurs do not possess all the skills and knowledge to run a business venture. In this case, for technical knowledge, technical supervisors and R & D consultants were recruited.
Lessons learnt about entrepreneur and entrepreneurship after the interview:
I have understood that Mr Ravi Gupta is an ideal example for an entrepreneur and that his attitude towards problems is that of a challenge which has to be overcome rather than a difficulty. He strives towards attaining improvement continually and competes against self-set standards. An entrepreneur will doubt the unknown and recognise opportunities when others believe that they see confusion and chaos. In short, they are aggressive catalysts for change in the marketplace. Evaluation of personal strengths and weaknesses realistically are necessary. Freidman & Rosenman(1974) describes Type A Behaviour as an action-emotion complex which is displayed by a person who is aggressively involved in a chronic, incessant struggle to achieve more and more in less and less time, and if required to do so, against opposing efforts of other things or other persons. As Timmons (1985) stated that growth-minded entrepreneur strives to surpass their own results and those of perceived competitors, also are singularly minded and determined to achieve. These behaviour patterns of type A are higher than average in successful entrepreneurs. Goal- setting, self- awareness, time management, assertiveness, networking and conflict management are all a part of entrepreneurial competency. Entrepreneurs reflect a strong need for achievement and they are sometimes marked by irritation with inefficiency or unpunctuality, workaholics, propensity to strive to be the best and choice for competent instead of congenial partners. Failure is a part of the game, this has to be accepted and this should not stop one from trying something new. I have also learnt that entrepreneurs must not be easily persuaded, but should be successful in persuading others and must have faith in their own efforts as it is their efforts which affect the events and its outcomes. Also, creativity and innovation are recognised by the openness to new ideas and broader horizon, taking initiatives to solve issues, wanting to do things differently, as was emphasized by Mr Ravi Gupta, easily being distinguished from the competitors and seeing, capturing making use of opportunities. The ability to handle and deal with different people and communicate effectively are important when one is an entrepreneur and this has been clearly found in Mr Ravi Gupta as he very well says that too.
Impact on my approach towards career:
I have learnt that firstly an entrepreneurial vision must exist so that there is a strong focus on the idea and endeavour. A role is also played by internal and external factors in and around the entrepreneur. The internal factors include the capacity to identify an opportunity, belief in their own expertise, skills and knowledge and external factors comprise of professional environment, social support and networking. Childhood family environment, education, personal values, age, work history and motivation are other important characteristics. I would incorporate systematic planning so that once I divide a larger activity into subtasks, it would be easier to anticipate hindrances and analyse the alternatives. I would look at interpersonal relationships as a fundamental business resource and give priority to long-term goodwill rather than focusing on short-term gains. I have understood that it is important to achieve a personal sense of accomplishment and the need to control time as it is a limited resource. Both time and money must be used creatively and efficiently. Risk- taking is generally done in order to seek and exploit opportunities and to avoid threats. Failure shall be expected and learnt from; this will make one cautious about what would come and how it could be tackled.
Mr Ravi Gupta has as his motto, 'I'd rather be working than have a day off.' One's own time is probably the best resource available to him/her. It must be made use of to the fullest possible.
'The successful entrepreneur is not a "loner". He or she makes "heroes" out of the people they attract to the business, giving them responsibility and credit for their accomplishments â€¦ Venture capitalists place considerable emphasis on the demonstrated capacity of the lead entrepreneur to attract, motivate, and build a high-quality entrepreneurial team. (Nieuwenhuizen & Rossouw, 2011, p.27)
I have learnt that one should not underestimate one's own power to achieve whatever he or she wants and that there is always a scope for development and improvement of skills, knowledge and expertise.
Factors contributing to creative organisations can be summarized as follows: Personality, Process of creative thinking and environmental factors which include climate and culture which enhance the thinking process together encourage or hinder entrepreneurship.
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