For several years, entrepreneurs are defined in different ways by different scholars in the field of research about the entrepreneurship. According to Gartner, entrepreneur is a person "who started a new business where there was none before" ( Gartner, 1985). By this, Gartner means that those who inherit business or those who buy an existing enterprise is not an entrepreneur. But Peterson refers entrepreneurship as an activity if identifying and utilizing every opportunity to the maximum (Peterson, 1985). There are six schools of thought on entrepreneurship which define entrepreneurship in different perspectives. The six schools of thought on entrepreneurship are "Great person" school, the psychological characteristics school, the classical school, the management school, the leadership school and intrapreneurship school (Cunningham, J.B). To put together the definitions of these schools of entrepreneurship is "it is a wide range of activities that include creating, founding, adapting and managing a venture". This report focuses on the behaviour, personality, decision process, needs and motivators of two successful entrepreneurs, namely, Richard Branson and Ted Turner. The latter part of the report compares and contrasts these two entrepreneurs with each other and also with the two entrepreneurs mentioned in the text Entrepreneurial courage, audacity, and genius by Pech, R.
Discussion and Comparison
This section of the report discusses all about the above two mentioned entrepreneurs and those in the text.
Sir Richard Branson
Richard Charles Nicholas Branson was on born on 18th of July in 1950 as the first child for Edward Branson and Eve Branson. In 1964, Branson joined Stowe school in Buckinghamshire, but he was less interested in school and dropped out of it at the age of 16 and founded the 'student magazine' along with his friend ( Dearlove, D, 2007). It took almost two years for Branson and his friend to set everything for their magazine firm and finally on 26th of January in 1968, first issue of Student Magazine was published and was marked as Branson's first business venture. The first Virgin branded business was as a mail order record delivery (Branson, R, 1999). In the year 1969, London had a great demand for the music at their doorstep and this was realised by Branson and he used this opportunity to have a good opening for his brand - Virgin (Branson, R, 1999). Soon after the delivery business, Branson opened a personally owned music record store as a result of frequent postal strike there in London. After several back falls, Branson used the same brand to produce music records. It was in 1984, when Branson started his Virgin Atlantic Airways and very soon this airways was listed in the London Stock Exchange. From then, Branson started several businesses including soft drinks, retail chains, financial institutions, etc in many fields of business despite there were pioneers in all the fields (Branson, R, 1999).
`He always picks someone 'bigger one' as his competitor. For example, he openly competed against Coca-cola by launching cola in United States under the Virgin Brand. Had it been some other businessman, he would have drawn back the idea of launching the cola by seeing the performance of Coca-cola. Branson is called "Hippy Capitalist" because of his informal style and nonconformist attitude. For example, he stressed the halt to the Vietnam war through his student magazine. But he was not comfortable with this hippy tag ( Dearlove, D, 2007). Branson had a talent of negotiating like a street trader, knowing exactly when to talk and when to remain silent, when to walk away. He rarely appeared second in any negotiation process. Even his business partners and close relatives found it difficult to negotiate with him ( Dearlove, D, 2007).
In addition, Branson has the habit of making the workplace full of fun. According to him, creating the interesting workplace is the best to motivate people and retain the efficient employees. He says "I get the best people, question them and say lets have fun!". Branson always cares for his brand. He says that when a brand is used wisely, it can reach the limit of achieving anything. Though he is much exposed to public in person, he appears at all places of the media when his brand Virgin appears. At times he had a big smile for the cameras. For example, when he launched Virgin Atlantic Airways he thought media exposure is behaviour is the cheapest and best advertisement for any airways and had several press meets. He hardly spends more time to answer to questions thrown at him ( Dearlove, D, 2007). Rowan Gormley says this as "He just says yes or no. He doesn't spend valuable time just farting trying to convince a bunch of middle managers"( Dearlove, D, 2007).
Needs and Motivators
Branson has a unique need to spread the brand 'Virgin' in all fields of business regardless of its success (Branson, R, 1999). In support of this statement, he has mentioned that he was never afraid of the any dominant player in any field of business, and this is the reason for introducing Cola in the United States. It is also a known fact that out of top twenty brands in the globe, nineteen were focussing on only one area but Virgin was the only diversified brand. This is a clear indication that Branson wanted to excel all fields of business (Branson, R, 1999).
There are no evidences for any personal motivators for Branson but several forces have been motivational factor. When the developed nations and many of the developing nations were planning to do something to reduce the level of emission of poisonous gases into the atmosphere, Branson was motivated to start a business producing the bio-fuel as a result of which he invested $50 million in an Californian ethanol plant ( Dearlove, D, 2007)..
Branson was quick in making decisions and stood by them as he was good negotiator. In addition, Branson had haggling character that helped him to be successful negotiator. For example, when he had record business, a gentleman came forward to sell some of his rare record collections at £1 but Branson bought it for 50p and sold them at £3 each. As an outstanding example for his decision process, the launch of Virgin Atlantic Airways can be quoted, which took only six months to plan and start the operation ( Dearlove, D, 2007)..
Ted Turner is an American Businessman who founded the Cable News Network (CNN). This section of the discussion part deals all about him.
Robert Edward Turner III was born on 19th of November in 1938 in Ohio to the Ed Turner and Florence couple. Ted is known is to be mischievous child who had the thirst to achieve what he wanted (Kao, J.J, 1991). His mischievousness continued in his school days and was named "Terrible Ted" by his friends. Although Ted was interested in studying classics in Brown University, due to his Father's advice he chose Economics in the same university.
Ted also has unique business behaviour. According to Kao, he says that Ted always promoted individualism in his business. Ted never wanted any of his employees to wait for an approval to make an attempt in implementing any new idea. According to Ted, nothing is achieved in very fast in the country is just because there are so many committees operating (Kao, J.J, 1991). In short Ted says "it just has to be you". When an employee is confident about the result of the new idea, he just wanted him to go with it and this serves as an unique behaviour which is absent in almost all other businessman. This proves that Ted too motivated his employees like Branson. Unlike Branson, Ted did not pick the pioneer of the market as main competitor but he was able to beat his only competitor Satellite News Network in no time (Kao, J.J, 1991).
Like Branson, Ted had unwavering commitment to goals. For example, when his second wife Janie was ill and was not able to manage their kids Ted was in sailing for an important business deal. His wife portrays this event as an best example when questioned about his commitment to business. Like, Branson, Ted was also a good negotiator. For example, when he sold some of his father's business, he convinced a buyer to buy one of the propertied for $200,000 which was considered a much higher than its worth (Kao, J.J, 1991).
Needs and motivators
When Ted took over his Father's Billboard and other family owned business he had thirst for achievement. For example, he forced his father not to sell any of the business though the family faced financial crisis after buying the Atlanta's General Outdoor Advertising Company (Kao, J.J, 1991). What started just as a Billboard organisation, went to the extent of advertising and broadcasting company with the effort of Ted Turner under the name of Ted Broadcasting Systems. This shows that Ted has the same character as that of Branson to expand his business to the possible extent and to make full use of the opportunity.
Unlike Branson, For Ted, his father Ed Turner was a direct motivator, a person behind Ted's success. It was Ed who wanted Ted to be business tycoon in the field of advertising. It was Ed who advised Ted to do Economics in his college and inspired Ted to this family business. After knowing that the entire business has been left to him after his father, Ted sold two of the plantations as per his father's wish (Kao, J.J, 1991).
Like Branson, Ted was also very fast in making decision and was a man who believed in "Change". When he sold his family property for $200,000 as mentioned earlier, he immediately invested the sum in stock the very next day. This shows the pace of his decision process (Kao, J.J, 1991). Ted says that the secret for his success is that he makes continuous changes in what he does. In an interview he mentions "Nobody can stop me because people are looking for change - they are insisting and I'm giving them what they want" (Kao, J.J, 1991).
Entrepreneurs in Text
Peter Terret, is an Australian businessman and Managing Director of successful organisation, RapidMap. When questioned about the secret in his success, he says formulating a good strategy helped him. For example, he found the possible improvements in the GPS systems. In addition he marketed his product as 'field-kit' which was just a GPS in a dust and water proof box. He found what was lacking in GPS - street signs, signals, bins, etc - and included them in the field-kit. Thus he created an opportunity and made wise use of the same, which is the main entrepreneurial quality. This quality is common to Branson, who found an opportunity in everything, an example to be quoted can be his bio fuel venture. As a part of the service, he offered consulting and training to use the product for a reasonable price and people accepted the offer (Pech, R, 2009).
One of the interesting behaviour of Peter Terret is that he is very active and never rests until he achieves his desires. He contributes his entrepreneurial success to the combination of capability of the individual, emerging technology, wise use of the opportunity which is nothing but making the use of the imperfection. The most important fact to be noted is Peter's family was also in the GPS business, so he gained some sort of experience from his family (Pech, R, 2009). This is common to Ted who also had a family business to make use of in developing a business of his own. Peter never considered who his competitor was as he believed in himself and his product. Thus, this is the short description and comparison of Peter with two main entrepreneurs.
This section discusses about the family entrepreneurs McPhersons, including Thomas McPherson, William McPherson and William Edward McPherson who dealt with the family business of making bolts and nuts. There are many entrepreneurial characteristics in these family entrepreneurs (Pech, R, 2009). Thomas made use of the opportunity available where he filled the gap in the supply chain in the iron industry. It is to be notable that Thomas started business to supply the pig iron to the iron industry, he made use of this experience in the improvisation of the supply chain in his business. McPherson also had an habit of taking risk, for example, he bought the entire mill for the manufacture of the wool-packs in Scotland. This is an important quality and is found in common to Branson (Pech, R, 2009).
It is to be mentioned that this was a family business for the McPhersons with improvements from generation to generation. This is found common to Ted who also made use of the family business and developed his own.
A table provided in the appendix 'A' clearly explains the comparison between the entrepreneurs discussed in this section of the report.
From the discussion part of the report, it is clear that Richard Branson and Ted Turner had some entrepreneurial qualities in them that led them to be successful entrepreneurs. These two entrepreneurs are similar in some aspects like negotiating skills, decision making, treating employees but different in other aspects like risk taking and family background. In the latter part of the discussion, Peter Terret and McPhersons are discussed based on the explanation in the text. Thus an overall comparison is made among all these entrepreneurs with clear projection of the necessary qualities of a successful entrepreneur.
According to "Great Person" school, an entrepreneur is a person who recognizes an opportunity and makes wise decision. From the discussion part, Branson and Ted are such personalities (Cunningham, J.B). This recommends that making use of opportunity is important for any entrepreneur. In addition, an entrepreneur believes in himself or herself. In support of this statement, Branson and Ted believed in what they did and Ted recommended to his employees.
An entrepreneur has unique values and attitudes, according to the psychological school of entrepreneurship (Cunningham, J.B). In addition, this school recommends three important characteristics, namely, honesty and ethical behaviour, risk-taking, need for achievement. Both Branson and Ted have good need for achievement and risk taking ability as it is clear from our discussion.
'Innovativeness is vital' says the classical school of entrepreneurship. Branson has proved himself as an innovative person as he was the first to start the mail delivery system for the music records. Good innovation will yield success to new entrepreneur. The major part of the innovation lies in the creation of opportunity for the success (Cunningham, J.B).
An important quality needed for a non-entrepreneur to be an entrepreneur is managing ability including staffing, budgeting, coordinating and controlling things happening around oneself (Cunningham, J.B). Ted has proved himself to be a good manager of his father's business and he has brought out the same business from the crisis to the numero uno position in the industry if news and advertisement. This is possible only effective management of business. This concept is much stressed by Management School of Entrepreneurship (Cunningham, J.B).
An effective and efficient entrepreneur holds the ability of extracting good amount of work from his employees to meet his own demands and goals. In simple terms 'leadership is also en essence of a good entrepreneur' says the Leadership school (Cunningham, J.B). According to Kao, this includes empowering the people, maintaining the intimacy of the organisation and developing s good HR system. These are also essential qualities of the entrepreneur.
It is clearly evident that Branson and Ted can be classified under some of the Schools of thought on Entrepreneurship. Different schools define entrepreneurship in different aspects and none of the schools can be mentioned as wrong. Thus there are different aspects of entrepreneurship. It is essential that an entrepreneur falls under at least one of these schools.