"Entrepreneurs use innovation to exploit or create change and opportunity for the purpose of making profit. They do this by shifting resources from an area of lower productivity into an area of higher productivity and greater yield, accepting a high degree of risk and uncertainty in doing so" (reference Patricia's lecture notes)
An entrepreneur is a leader, a manager, a risk taker. However it is plausible to say that not all managers are entrepreneurs. Robinson, (1999) proposed key differences between a leader and a manager to back up the assertions that not all managers are leaders.
Focus on people
Has an eye on the horizon-long range
Does the right thing
Focus on systems and structures
Relies on control
Keep an eye on bottom line-short range
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Does things right
Source: Robinson (1999)
McClelland, (1961) as cited by David D. et al, (2003) in their book; 'Entrepreneurship and small firms', propose three key competencies of successful Entrepreneurs namely;
Proactively: initiative and assertiveness.
Achievement orientation: ability to see and act on opportunities.
Commitments to others.
At a deeper level, Sue B. et al, (2000) refined this competencies, examining them in six critical dimensions of business practice:
Strategic orientation: These stress the ability of an Entrepreneur to be driven only by the perception of the opportunities that exist in his environments and not constrained by the resources at his disposal.
Commitment to opportunity: the ability of an Entrepreneur to pursue opportunity quickly as soon as it appears.
Commitment of resources: The characteristics of a good Entrepreneur are a multi-staged commitment of resources, putting in minimum commitment at each stage or decision point.
Control of resources: the ability of Entrepreneur to know and decide what resources are needed over time both human and material.
Management structure: They contend that Entrepreneur is stereotyped as egocentric and idiosyncratic thus unable to manage. To be a successful Entrepreneur it is essential to have managerial skills.
Reward philosophy: A good Entrepreneur is focused on creating and harvesting values.
Theories/Approaches to Entrepreneurship
Theories as define by Business dictionary, are set of assumptions, prepositions, or accepted facts that attempt to provide a plausible or rational explanation of cause and effect relationship among a group of observed phenomenon. Previous work and researches (McClelland, 1961; Komives, 1972; McClelland and Winter, 1969) help in developing three approaches to entrepreneurship, which is illustrated by Sue B. et al (2000) as;
Personality approach; other writers called it the "Trait approach" (Summer, 1989)
The economic approach
Economic writers and theorists: the economic approach
The psychological characteristics school: personality approach
Source: David D. et al, 2003
Personality approach to Entrepreneurship, as argued by David D. et al, (2003) is identifying certain personality and 'traits' in individuals that appear to be possessed by successful Entrepreneurs. Furthermore, they explain that the approach is concern with testing and applying some perceived characteristics in individuals. This approach assumes that Entrepreneurship as well as leadership consists of certain inherited characteristics or personality traits that make them more effective. These traits include;
Need for autonomy
Social-behavioural approach to Entrepreneurship assumes that an Entrepreneur's behaviours affects and is affected by the environment (group of followers). Behavioural approach views the creation of an Entrepreneur as a contextual event, the outcome of many influences (Summer, 1989). This approach believes that the skills of an Entrepreneur can be learnt developed and perfected.
Economic approach to Entrepreneurship views an Entrepreneur as person who coordinates all the different factor of production (David D. et al, 2003). This approach implies that an Entrepreneur indentifies and fills market gab combining lands, labour and capital in profitable ways.
The above theories and approach also applies to leadership as it can be seen that most leaders are Entrepreneurs.
Self assessment is extremely valuable as it propels me to evaluate myself in order to form judgements about my strengths and weaknesses. Self-assessment is the process of looking at the self in order to weigh up aspects that one may find important to their identity (Sedikides, 1993). After doing the Belbin team role test and taking the profiling for success assessment on the University of Bedfordshire career website couple with my personal skill awareness, I discovered the following;
Always on Time
Marked to Standard
Leadership: I have a natural attitude to lead, I am always happy to take the lead when action is required. I am able to assert myself to get other people involve if necessary. The result on "type dynamics indicator" proves this to be true, a quote from the summary reads; "You have indicated a preference for the Executive style. This style tends to be direct and focuses on end-results. Executives generally have a vision of the future and will work hard in order to gain the necessary influence required to have impact on the world around them" (refer to the appendix).
Team work: I am able to contribute effectively to the work and development of a team. I am able to carry out different roles within a team including those that require a practical task focussed approach. I showed these skills in my various group works in the course of my studies. I also proved to be a good team player whilst working for A.C.S technologies, a Nigerian based company, leading a team of five network engineers to install a virtual private network for a government organisation. Furthermore, the Belbin team role assessment I took in my first year shows the following result; A supportive, sociable, flexible, adaptable, perceptive, listener, calming influence, mediator in team work. Other team role the test defined is that I am a "completer-finisher", it reveals that I have attention to details, am accurate, having a high standard, I am quality oriented and I deliver to schedule and specification. (Refer to the appendix).
Communication: I communicate with clarity and purpose. Whilst working for A.C.S technologies Nigeria, I developed good communication skills which enable me to advice; problems solve and communicate effectively with a wide range of people from different organisations whilst troubleshooting their computer networks. I have also in the process, developed excellent listening and speaking skills.
Organisation & time management: I can create short-term goals to complete class work and to explore personal interests.
Computing/IT: I am a proficient IT user, I am Competent with Word, Excel and PowerPoint and I can also design, build and maintain a computer network. I am a CISCO certified networking engineer.
Adaptability/Flexibility: I have shown in all my academic pursuit and work experience that I can be flexible and can also adapt to new and challenging environment. This is because I studied accounting on a diploma level, and I had two years practice, and then switched to study computer networking. I even got certified as a CISCO networking engineer. My coming to the UK to study also demonstrates how flexible and adaptable I can be.
Motivation: My passions are my motivation. I have a passion to develop and grow as a person and to succeed in life. I have a passion for integrity and legacy, these are my driving force which am convince will be useful in any career path I may take. This can be seen in the result on "value base indicator of motivation" (refer to appendix).
Negative personal characters: I found out that in some cases I can be shy and indecisive when it comes to presenting my opinion to people I meet for the first time or those am not comfortable with. Sometimes I find myself to be so nervous when I really need courage to apply logic very fast. I can sometimes be easily distracted.
Using the swot analysis I will elaborate on my strengths and weaknesses as well as demonstrating my understanding of their use in the pursuit of career.
Swot analysis: This is a planning method use to evaluate the strength, weaknesses, opportunities and treat to an individual or a business. It involves specifying personal goal at the same time identifying the internal and external elements that can affect me both positive and negative in the race to attain my stated objectives. In order for a swot analysis to be useful, desire goal or objectives must be first stated.
Personal traits (self-discipline, ability to work under pressure, optimism and creativity)
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Organisation &time management
Weak job hunting skills
Negative personal traits (shyness, indecisiveness, slow application of logic)
Lots of career option to choose
Opportunity for advancement in my field of study
Opportunity to start and run a business with the skills I have acquired
Competition from fellow graduates on job opportunities
High number of graduates with less jobs offers
With this analysis, my best strategy in reaching my goals would be by exploiting my strength and opportunities available to me, while finding ways to neutralize the threats and working to improve on my weaknesses.