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Entrepreneurship is a main driver for individuals to satisfy their own personal goals, as its also a major contributor to our economy. Entrepreneurs believe that they are exposed to opportunities to exercise creativity, innovation, self-control, and freedom.
Nonetheless, many theorists have identified entrepreneurship differently and there's no single holistic definition that can sum up its theory. In a general view entrepreneurship is "perceived to serve five main functions: innovation and change, new venture creation, business growth, job generation and regional development".
In addition, there is no agreed identification as to what entrepreneurs do, as there are many types each with different personality and behavioral attributes. They can be Innovative Entrepreneurs, Opportunistic Entrepreneurs, Craftsman Entrepreneurs, Institutional Entrepreneurs and more.
As mentioned earlier, each entrepreneur differs from another as they all have different personalities and characteristic traits. Throughout this report an examination of an entrepreneur will be demonstrated, analyzing his characteristic traits and considering entrepreneurship theories that are relevant to his personality as an entrepreneur. The entrepreneur that this report will be based on is Mr. Jehad Bukamal, a businessman from the Kingdom of Bahrain who comes from a middle-class family and runs a family business along with his brothers. Mr. Bukamal is the eldest between all four brothers and is also the chairman of 'Bukamal' company. As a young boy he was raised in a family of businessmen and they played a major role in influencing him into the business field.
Mr. Bukamal started his career in 1980 after graduating from university with a degree in Business & Economics. During his course, he learnt about the importance of distribution channels in the business cycle and was motivated to start his business career in this field. However, as a fresh graduate, he did not have enough information regarding this matter in his hometown. One triggering event that was the highlight of Mr. Bukamal's career life was a conversation he had with one of his elderly neighbors who was already practicing business. Consequent to their conversation, Mr. Bukamal's doubts were all cleared and he was ready to take the first step towards establishing his career. An interesting fact about this event is that Mr. Bukamal's neighbor was an uneducated businessman, therefore as Mr. Bukamal puts it "This interaction made me ponder over the fact that if an illiterate person can excel in the field of business, why can't I!". And from there he got his entrepreneurial attitude and was motivated to start his own.
Nevertheless, the Bukamal family was already in the business of dhow building, but due to economical changes they had to shut down and Mr. Bukamal, being the eldest, was forced to step in and take the lead. This therefore makes him an initiative and responsible entrepreneur based on Welsh & White's theory (1981). Furthermore, it is within the Bahraini culture that the eldest son leads the family after his father, and thus making him a leader (Gibb - 1987).
After the family shut down their dhow building business and Mr. Bukamal stepped in, he took everything into a whole new dimension. Hence, he transformed the family's entire business strategy and continued in a new market sector where no one had experienced before. Therefore, Mr. Bukamal is the type of entrepreneur which Peter Drucker defines as "An entrepreneur searches for change, responds to it and exploits opportunities". In addition, according to Hornaday (1982) the following entrepreneur has a positive response to change, where his feedback towards the family's business situation was optimistic, and chose to pursue new and different opportunities.
Furthermore, Mr. Bukamal's entrepreneurial personality could be considered as a risk-taker, however he's more suitable to fit into Timmon's proposed theory of an entrepreneur being prepared to take risk and able to cope with uncertainty. Mr. Bukamal is considered to be a moderate risk taker because, as he indicated: "I was very conservative in selecting the opportunities that came my way". Common in every entrepreneur is risk taking, and since risk cannot be eliminated, it can however be mitigated and managed, hence Mr. Bukamal was careful when taking decisions regarding the family's business.
Following his decision to start up a new business, Mr. Bukamal opened a shop in the city of Muharraq where the family used to reside and it was the second trading city in Bahrain. The initial stages for every entrepreneur are crucial and the difficulties faced require endurance. As Mr. Bukamal noted: "flow of business in this area was below expectation" which had him to change the business strategy and approach the customers directly instead of waiting. According to Timmons theory (1985), this behavior is an attribute of an entrepreneur who is committed, determinant, and perseverance. Moreover, such individuals are disciplined whereby they are focused on making the business succeed regardless of any limitations towards their goals. They are willing to overcome difficulties and set new strategies in order to achieve their primary objectives.
Under Lessem's theory of entrepreneurship types, it's believed that an entrepreneur such as Mr. Bukamal best fits in the "innovator" category. As the attributes of this theory suggests that the entrepreneur has originality. From this aspect, Mr. Bukamal's business idea of hardware tool distribution was the first to be implemented in Bahrain and he was the only one specializing in that field, thus making it original. Moreover, Lessem's innovator theory suggests that entrepreneurs are inspired, and in relation to Mr. Bukamal, he received his inspiration to practice business from his elderly neighbor as he motivated him and was driven by their interaction to attain a successful career.
Furthermore, and as Mr. Bukamal mentioned, as a young adult he always had a passion for DIY (do it yourself) products and one of the reasons for choosing the hardware tool industry was his love for DIY as they require the use of such tools. Hence, this can be related to Lessem's innovator theory as it features love regarding entrepreneurial types. Entrepreneurs comparable to Mr. Bukamal can also be considered transformational as portrayed by Lessem's (1986b) theory, as he transformed the family's traditional business into a new idea and developed it into becoming something desirable in the market place.
Mentioned earlier, Mr. Bukamal's expectation of business flow in Muharraq were not satisfying and had to change his strategy by approaching the customers himself. Hence developing and improving his communication skills, which gives him the characteristic suggested by Welsh & White (1981) and Hornaday (1982) of the ability to get along with people. His strong people's skill allowed Mr. Bukamal to establish a good network of customers, which subsequently gave him the chance to overcome this obstacle. In addition, based on Welsh & White's (1981) perspective of an entrepreneur, Mr. Bukamal proves to be a conscientious and a hard working person because he did not surrender to such hindrance, but instead he made sure that things follow in the right path in order to achieve his objectives.
Mr. Bukamal, having to start up his entrepreneurial journey on his own, makes him a self-starter, by which when a task had to be done he knew he had to do it himself. Also, for around 4 to 5 years, Mr. Bukamal was working independently as he used to carry all the tasks that the job required by himself, therefore he's an independent entrepreneur as defined by Hornaday (1982). He took care of making product orders, delivery to customers, managing sales, following back customers for feedback, travelling around the globe to reach suppliersâ€¦etc. Hence he is a proactive entrepreneur.
As the years passed and business started growing at a good pace, Mr. Bukamal decided to take a step further and establish a firm along with his fellow brothers. Their next destination was the capital city of Bahrain, Manama, where the family had many opportunities to pursue and establish a well-known family business company. This decision makes Mr. Bukamal a challenge-taker according to Baumback's theory (1979) as he was willing to accept new changes and face new prospects in the market place along with other previously well-established firms. In addition, agreeing to Timmon's (1985) theory of entrepreneurial personality, Mr. Bukamal's drive to achieve and grow plays a major role in his decision to expand and establish a family business company along side he's motivated and committed to grow (Timmon's 1985).
McClelland's models of entrepreneurial personality (1961) suggest that an entrepreneur such as Mr. Bukamal have a high need for achievement, whereby he has a strong will to excel in his business and achieve greater goals. Subsequent to his accomplishment as an independent entrepreneur, Mr. Bukamal was motivated by the success he achieved, which gave him the initiative to start establishing a company. Hence, he is motivated by his achievements.
Moreover, according to Timmon's (1985), entrepreneurial characteristics involve a person being a team builder, and as suggested Mr. Bukamal gathered and connected his younger brothers together in order to establish a company. Mr. Bukamal also entails the quality of leadership (Gibb - 1987) because he set an example to the younger brothers and was able to lead them into joining the family business.
Moving forward, since Mr. Bukamal was the first to establish the family business, he was the most experienced out of his brothers and therefore was in charge of the new company and was assigned as the chairman. Thus giving him the attributes for Lessem's (1986b) entrepreneurship type theory where he fits in the leader category, as he has the ability to direct, control, set structure and take responsibility. We can sum up Mr. Bukamal's behavior regarding this matter as to being an entrepreneur who has the need to control and direct as implied by Baumback (1979).
Establishing a new company requires an excessive amount of hard work and cooperation between business partners and employees, and since Mr. Bukamal is working along with his sibling's communication and decision-making is quite simple. Nonetheless, hindrances and complications come in the way from time to time and it depends on the manager how to resolve such issues. When dealing with business pressure Mr. Bukamal is open to suggestions, and he obtains advice from fellow employees and his siblings. This is due to the friendly and approachable relationship that Mr. Bukamal has built with his employees. Thus as illustrated by Timmon's (1985) Mr. Bukamal appears to be the type of entrepreneur who seeks and uses feedback, and is also responsive to criticisms and suggestions as proposed by Hornaday (1982). In addition Mr. Bukamal stated that he himself faces various barriers in running the business operations and he overcomes them by taking calculated risks, which is on of the entrepreneurial characteristics proposed by Hornaday (1982).
As the company grows in size, operation, and customer base there must be certain requirements that they should follow. In addition, the market itself entails continuous developments from such companies, thus increasing the pressure on the business as well as competition. The way Mr. Bukamal deals with such pressure from the market industry is by continuous expansion programs, both vertically and horizontally, in addition being responsive to customer needs and changes to the market place. To achieve this, Mr. Bukamal ensures that both products and services exceed the expectations of the customers, which therefore makes him quality-conscious as portrayed by Peters (1987). His commitment to quality and services makes him sincere about his job and differentiates the company from other competitors.
Mr. Bukamal has a mixture of both opportunistic and craftsman entrepreneurial characteristics which was introduced by Smith (1967). As a craftsman entrepreneur, Mr. Bukamal emphasizes on delivering high quality products from the finest suppliers to his customers in order to achieve greater customer satisfaction. He believes that the quality of the products reflect the image of the business and himself as an entrepreneur. He also attempts to build a pleasant and approachable relationship with his employees thus having a paternalistic attitude towards them. Also, as an opportunistic entrepreneur, Mr. Bukamal is motivated and determined to build up a large corporation and his faith in himself gives him self-confidence to do so. After establishing the business company Mr. Bukamal was appointed as the chairman and is responsible for delegating authority to his fellow siblings as well as employees to distribute the tasks the job needs.
Finally Mr. Bukamal believes that his achievements and accomplishments were the results of hard work, sincerity and blessings. He however doesn't believe that luck was behind his success, as he quoted "Luck comes on betting, not in running business". Thus he has an internal locus of control as portrayed by Rotter (1966), where such entrepreneurs are dependent on their own performance and self-confidence in goal achievement. To sum up, it's believed that such entrepreneurs are best described as Albert Shapero (1975) identifies, "Entrepreneurs take initiative, accept risk of failure and have an internal locus of control".
In conclusion, we can sum up that not all entrepreneurial characteristics and traits fit all entrepreneurs, yet it depends on their situation. After examining Mr. Bukamal's entrepreneurial behavior and traits, the analysis have shown that Meredith's definition of an entrepreneur best suits him: "People who have the ability to see and evaluate business opportunities; to gather the necessary resources to take advantage of them; and to initiate appropriate action to ensure success" - (Meredith - 1982-3). As mentioned throughout the report, Mr. Bukamal has perceived the opportunity of starting up a business and made use of the available resources and used them efficiently to achieve his goals and objectives.
Your influences on entrepreneurship (Family, role models, franchising, industry structureâ€¦etc).
My family was a big influence for me entering the field of business, as my father and forefathers were all businessmen.
How old were you when you began your entrepreneurship career?
I was only 21 years old
What is your area of study and major?
I enrolled in a business school in Mumbai where I majored in business and economics studies.
Any triggering events that influenced you on entrepreneurship?
I had just completed my graduation in 1980, where during the course of my graduation I had learnt a lot about the importance of distribution channels to run a successful business. However, I was not sure if the same existed in my country. But destiny one fine day brought me in contact with one of my elderly neighbor in Muharraq who was in the field of business, even though he was uneducated. During the course of our conversation my doubts were cleared and I learnt that the Chain of distribution is valid in my country as well. This interaction made me ponder over that fact that if an illiterate person can excel in the field of business, why can't I!
Your decision towards being an individual entrepreneur.
My forefathers had established a family run business in the trade of dhow building, which was a flourishing trade during their days. However, with the economical changes in Bahrain they were forced to close down their line of business. Being a young blood of the new generation and sensing the need of the hour I was force to take the lead in the field of business to keep up the family tradition, plus the interaction I had with my old illiterate neighbor had already inspired me to take the plunge into the field of business.
How you pursued business opportunities?
The initial stages of business are very crucial and owing to major family obligation I was very conservative in selecting the opportunities that came my way.
How your entrepreneurship journey started? The steps you took in developing your business and creating value.
Initially we were residing in the second city of our country which is Muharraq and that was where we had established our business. However, I noted that the flow of business in this area was below expectation, but the obligation towards expenses was ever increasing, especially from the family aspect. Recalling the interaction I had with my elderly neighbor I was inspired to change our business strategy by approaching the customers directly instead of waiting for them to come to us.
Why you chose this specific field of business?
From my childhood I was very fond of DIY (Do It Yourself) jobs, where tools and hardware is a must in DIY. Hence, I selected this line.
You developed your small business into a family run business firm; you must have faced major barriers doing so. How did you manage adapting to the needs of the growing organizations?
Hard work, dedication and honesty are the core aspects for a growing organization. However, I always believed that these aspects were incomplete without teamwork and I was fortunate to get the right team at the right time. Every business has its own set of barriers, I too was faced with various barriers at different stage and I overcame them by taking calculated risks. Policies have never been implemented until and unless I have tested them on myself.
Pursuing personal interest always tend to be a hindrance to success, hence personal interest has never been by priority.
Last but not the least, no business success is complete without the right social network. Hence, I always strived to enhance my social network which lead me to entering the Bahrain Chamber and Commerce & Industry (BCCI), the right platform where I could meet like minded businessmen like myself from various industries.
How do you continue the growth of your business organization?
When first started there was a gap in the market for wholesale companies and we pursued this opportunity to be the only ones specializing, thus we were leading the market. As others entered we had to step up our strategies that lead to us continuously expanding into new fields in the industry. Our expansion programs were both vertical and horizontal.
Do you believe, to any extent, that the success you made was from luck? Or simply results from hard work?
I'm a strong believer in hard work and dedication as they are the main contributors to success. Devoting yourself in what you do, hard work, and blessing are the reason for any accomplishment, not luck. Luck comes on betting, not in running business.
What factors motivate you the most, money or achievement?
Never money, but success is my only priority. I believe that money should never be kept as a target, as for when you pick success you will be in the right path and money will follow.