Malcolm Rands spent a lot of time playing the keyboard for his band (Beaver Shot) during his university days. Eventually he dropped out of university at 19 to hopefully pursue a professional career in the music business. He gave that up because he was unsure whether he had the talent to make it big thus deciding to travel instead. He spent some time in Sydney as a radiographer before moving to California. He fell in with a group of young rich kids and he realised after a while that all the money in the world still couldn't make you happy.
Upon his return to New Zealand Rands decided that he wasn't going to chase business or profits but he wanted to follow his passion. He started organising arts festivals and working for not-for-profits in Whangarei, he stayed with that for fifteen years. While enjoying the lifestyle he learned a lot about business management, fund-raising and event organising. In 1987 he helped set up an ecovillage and it was there that he discovered the need for eco-friendlier household products thus giving birth to the EcoStore business.
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"Mr. Rands was inspired to start his business after noticing that potentially harmful chemicals were in almost everything."We aren't in the grocery industry; we're in the health industry. We provide products without harmful chemicals in them and we devote a lot of resources to research and development to achieve this." - (Richards, 2006)
In 1993 Rand's got a small loan from his brother and he started selling as a mail-order company. Four years later the EcoStore acquired a factory in Auckland with an outlet store, products and research department. The business now exports widely to Australia and America with agent enquiries as far as Russia and the Middle East. In 2002, Rand's appeared weekly on nationwide TV sharing his expert knowledge on a wide range of environmental issues. He also talks on national radio (KiwiFm) and he devotes time to public speaking at a wide range of various events. The EcoStore has been given a variety of awards including '2009 Sustainable Business of the Year'.
Entrepreneur vs. Intrapreneur
Entrepreneur can be defined as;
"A person who exercises initiative by organizing a venture to take benefit of an opportunity and, as the decision maker, decides what, how, and how much of a good or service will be produced. He or she supplies risk capital as a risk taker, and monitors and controls the business' activities as a manager." - (Business dictionary, 2010)
Czech-US economist Joseph Alois Schumpeter (1883-1950), stated that "entrepreneurs are not necessarily motivated by profit but regard it as a standard for measuring achievement or success."
An entrepreneur plays the main role, the superstar; he or she is the central focal point for a new venture. There are other variables that exist in the start of a new venture e.g. finance, planning etc, but someone has to tell people where to dig and in what direction to dig in. An entrepreneur can be defined by the type of project undertaken but many can possess certain characteristics and traits that exude entrepreneurial qualities.
Intrapreneurship can be defined as;
"Practice of entrepreneurship in an established firm. Intrapreneurship applies the 'start up' style of management (characterised by flexibility, innovation, and risk taking) to a secure and stable firm. The objective is to fast track product development (by circumventing the bureaucracy) to take advantage of a new opportunity or to assess feasibility of a new process or design." - (Business dictionary, 2010)
An Intrapreneur is someone who wants to help the organisation increase their profits, reduce their costs, spearhead creative and innovative new ideas. This person shows initiative, searches for opportunities and acts in the best interest of the organisation all the while digesting corporate entrepreneurial traits. Intrapreneur's have some of the same characteristics and behaviours as entrepreneurs the only difference maybe in its application (from within a business).
Entrepreneur or Intrapreneur
Malcolm Rands is definitely an entrepreneur because he had to find his own resources to bring the vision alive. This maybe a defining difference between an entrepreneur and an Intrapreneur because the later works within an organisation that supplies the resources. Malcolm Rands conceptualized the planning behind the opportunities surrounding his business from birth, resource identification and acquirement to the implementation process. This alone makes him an entrepreneur.
Always on Time
Marked to Standard
"Rands has been awarded the Green Ribbon Award from New Zealand's Ministry of the Environment and two environmental awards from the Auckland Regional Council." - (New Zealand's, 2008)
Characteristics of an Entrepreneur
There are many characteristics, traits and skills that a person should possess to become an effective and successful entrepreneur. However becoming an entrepreneur could come down to how we view ourselves and the size of risk and security we're willing to abandon. Do we feel secure that someone with the appropriate experience is steering the ship? Or do we have the confidence and personal self fortitude to want to steer the ship ourselves. Within an organisation we may feel the breath of achievement through financial gains and promotion but the success achieved by carrying the flag can be life altering.
There are other abilities that an entrepreneur could possess to succeed like creativity, imagination, intuition, management skills, confidence, ambition, discipline and passion. Some can be learned albeit with a bit of difficulty but some can't be learned e.g. passion. However, the abilities of an entrepreneur are not that straight forward having these characteristics merely increases the chances of success. You do not need to have every characteristic, trait and skill to be a successful entrepreneur.
There are millions of great piano players and painters in the world but they can't be like Beethoven or Pablo Picasso, it doesn't mean they can't be good at what they do.
"Really what we are selling is our level of integrity and trust, finding people with similar beliefs was the first problem, Finally it was decided to take on two new partners, both of whom the Rands knew and trusted and who could see the potential of the company." - (Birchfield, 2002)
Malcolm Rands definitely had passion and belief which drove him to push the need for eco-friendlier products. Some of the managerial, organising and financial skills needed he had picked up while organising Arts festivals in Whangarei and heading up not-for-profit organisations. Rands was also a risk-taker because he had to introduce a product into a market littered with unsuccessful stories. Environmentally friendly products had a tag attached to them of being too expensive in comparison to their chemically induced counterparts. Therefore Rands had to think creatively, it took him a while to get it right but he never gave up, essential qualities for an entrepreneur.
Malcolm Rands Influences
Rands was influenced by sustainable business people like Stephen Tindall (founder of retailer The Warehouse) and Rob Fenwick (founder of Living Earth Ltd). He was also influenced by the many people he met through the Sustainable Business Networks and the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development. Rands was also heavily influenced by the lifestyle that he lived in Whangarei more so by the 'ecovillage' and his work with the not-for-profits.
Stephen is the founder of The Warehouse and is one of the founding members for the NZ Business Council for Sustainable Development. He was elected chair of the NZ Business Council for Sustainable Development in October 2000 -2004. Stephen has also chaired the Climate Change Leadership Forum to name but a few accomplishments.
Rob is a founder and director of Living Earth Limited, a nationwide organic waste recovery and composting company with operations in Auckland and Christchurch, and has been involved in many aspects of resource recovery and waste minimisation.
"Malcolm Rands is not your typical entrepreneur. For one thing is a businessman who insists on giving away ten per cent of his profits. For another, he has lived in an environmentally friendly ecovillage. 'It's a community we set up in rural New Zealand with the ethic of trying to work with nature not against it'." - (Gardner, 2010)
Differences "small business" and "entrepreneur"
Malcolm Rands although surprised by the success of his business he always had the drive to expand the knowledge or need for eco-friendlier products. Sure the venture started off as a small business but most new ventures do, it was Rand's entrepreneurial drivers that expanded EcoStore into what it is today.
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High owner input
Varies, usually low
Small, medium or large
The differences between small business owners and entrepreneurs are at times non-existent however their goals and objectives maybe. A small business owner may have the same traits as an entrepreneur but one of the main differences could be in the ideas around business growth. A small business owner maybe content with the size of their business whereas an entrepreneur may ask what potential for growth is their. Small business owners can become entangled in the day to day operations of their business, while their entrepreneurial cousins maybe bathing in their glory or looking for their next venture.
"Among the general community and even in parts of the business world, the small business owner-manager is often regarded as an entrepreneur and vice versa. This is not surprising since the two roles are closely related and even overlap in many respects. But the two concepts although similar are not synonymous." - (Schaper, 2007, p.100)
It's easy to view Malcolm Rands as just another person seizing upon an opportunity in an industry less travelled. Fact be told in the 1990's most economies were experiencing steady growth and we witnessed the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The adoption of the Kyoto protocol meant that many were starting to realize the effects of climate change and greenhouse gases. The effects of fossil fuel burning, deforestation, biodiversity loss, and waste accumulation were becoming evident. Most were beginning to think about the environment more actively.
"The company was born because we were already leading a green life and using these home-made household cleaners that we thought other people might like to try. That's the simple story." - (Jayne, 2010)
Most of us look at entrepreneurs as being genius like and almost heroic in some respects. We often feel that it's the 'great ideas' that set us apart from these entrepreneurs. If we think of something that no one else has thought of then we could be entrepreneurs too. Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, Anita Roddick and Malcolm Rands all had one thing in common passion and belief in what they did.