Archive for the ‘Entrepreneurship’ Category

Entrepreneurship: the Truth is in the Methodology

"To persevere in obstinate condolence is a course of impious stubbornness," wrote Shakespeare in his play Hamlet in the year 1601.

Persistence is often presented as the key element of entrepreneurial success, but this approach misses 99% of what makes a business viable and prosperous.

A man can waste his life digging holes on the ground without achieving any positive results.

No matter what goal we choose to pursue, our energies and resources will be always limited. Overemphasising persistence can lead to commercial arrogance and blindness.

Success is one, but errors can be infinite:

* Repeatedly asking people who are obviously not interested.
* Continue to use distribution channels that have proven inappropriate for certain products.
* Sticking to formats or contents that customers don't like.
* Adopting a communication strategy that alienates the best prospects for your business.

The key element of successful entrepreneurship has nothing to do with persistence. Starting and growing a business has little to do with stubbornness and everything with flexibility. It is a psychological trait that is stifled by rigidity and enhanced by change.

Entrepreneurship is a skill that has everything to do with perception and vision.

It is an ability that goes far beyond the sphere of commerce and that can be applied to all areas of human life, from cooking at home, to repairing old clothes.

If I had to give the shortest definition of entrepreneurship, I would propose the words "realistic double vision."

What sets entrepreneurs apart from the rest of the population is their capacity to link current problems to potential solutions that can be implemented realistically.

While many devote countless hours to complain about problems, the entrepreneurial mind is steadily focused on figuring out solutions and assessing their feasibility.

Such double vision, when exercised systematically, conveys powers resembling a higher level of awareness.

This skill, which is half-psychological and half-material, is the only characteristic present in all entrepreneurs. Double vision is a talent that dwarfs the role played by persistence.

The bridge between perceived problems and realistic solutions can be built in ten different ways:

1. ASSEMBLY: Changes in design that make products easier and cheaper to manufacture.
2. SPACE: Moving products from low-demand to high-demand territories.
3. PACKAGING: Repackaging old content into highly attractive new products.
4. HUMAN: Organizing or motivating people in ways that dramatically increase the value of their output.
5. TIME: Figuring out how to increase dramatically the speed of delivering a service.
6. MATERIALS: Replacing old materials by new ones that increase the perceived value of products.
7. STORY: Associating a story to products that renders them popular.
8. DISTRIBUTION: Finding more efficient ways to use existing distribution channels.
9. FINANCE: Identifying ways to fund a venture that previously seemed unfeasible.
10. MERGE OR SPLIT: Splitting, disaggregating, or uniting elements in ways that make them more valuable to consumers.

Entrepreneurs dig holes on the ground only if they have good reasons to believe that this is a feasible solution to a burning problem.

Their psychological energies and material resources are focused on identifying viable responses to perceived opportunities.

I propose "realistic double vision" as optimal methodology to define, teach, and develop entrepreneurship, or as Shakespeare put it in Hamlet, "making more matter with less art."

JOHN VESPASIAN writes about rational living. He has resided in New York, Madrid, Paris, and Munich. His stories reflect the values of entrepreneurship, tolerance, and self-reliance. See John Vespasian's blog about rational living.

http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com/

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Social Entrepreneurship & Social Media Marketing Go Together, Like Peanut Butter & Jelly

By Melissa S. Barker

Why have so many people risked everything to undertake new ventures, when over half of all new businesses fail within five years? Until the late 20th Century, the answer was simple--the lure of riches and being your own boss. However, a new breed of social entrepreneur is combining societal and environment concerns with wealth creation. Today, more and more people are finding innovative ways to make capitalism work for them, their communities, and the environment.

Many social entrepreneurs still dream of making money and being their own bosses by forming traditional sole proprietorships or corporations, while others join together in nonprofit cooperatives. Nonetheless, they are all united by a single purpose—to improve the world, either through environmental or societal advances. Despite the altruistic goals, social entrepreneurs are just as driven and ambitious as conventional businesspeople to deliver groundbreaking solutions.

For example, social entrepreneurs build low cost shelters for the poor from recyclable materials, develop inexpensive solutions to widespread health problems, create water cleaning systems for drought-stricken areas, bring educational resources to remote regions, promote the arts to the underprivileged, and develop efficient means to transport freight and people over rugged terrain.

Social entrepreneurship success stories abound, such as Wendy Kopp, who launched, Teach for America, a highly successful movement to eliminate educational inequity in the nation by signing up the most promising college graduates to teach in low income communities. Since 1989, Teach for America has recruited, trained, and supported over 17,000 recent graduates in teaching for two years in economically depressed districts.

Mimi Silbert, founded Delancey Street, one of the foremost residential self-help organizations in the country, working with everyone from the illiterate and homeless to junkies and ex-convicts. Delancey Street equips those who have hit bottom with marketable skills in just six months. The organization is financially self-sufficient, with most of its funding coming from the businesses founded by Delancey Street graduates, such as moving companies, restaurants, and delivery services.

Although there is no single path to becoming a successful social entrepreneur, the following five steps provide a roadmap that can markedly boost your odds of success:

1. Find a cause that inspires and holds a profitable solution

The first, and perhaps the most important, step to becoming a successful social entrepreneur is to identify an environmental or social ill that motivates you to act. However, that’s just half of the challenge; the other half is to find a profitable solution to the problem. Even nonprofit organizations must survive financially, so you must secure an ongoing means to fund your venture. It is worth noting that government grants come and go, while revenues from selling products and services tend to be a more consist source of money.

2. Craft a solid business plan

Whatever form of social entrepreneurship you wish to pursue, certain elements must be present for it to succeed. Research show tat poor planning and insufficient financing are the two major reasons businesses fail. Fortunately, creating a well researched and carefully thought out business plan can go a long way to ensuring success. Creating a business plan forces you to consider your organization’s fundamental mission and its objectives, as well as whom you want to serve, their unmet needs, and how to organize your marketing mix to satisfy those needs. In addition, a good business plan provides operational details, financial forecasts, and spells out how to monitor performance and adjust course accordingly.

3. Securing financing

Without question, the most significant challenge a social entrepreneur faces is finding the necessary funding to launch and sustain a new enterprise. In addition to traditional equity and lending sources, social entrepreneurs can seek assistance from the following organizations:

Ashoka provides funding and support services to social entrepreneurs Echoing Green offers seed capital and support to entrepreneurs with pioneering ideas to bring about social change. Skoll Foundation invests with social entrepreneurs primarily through its Skoll Awards for Entrepreneurship and connects them with key people and resources that can advance their causes. Tides Foundation partners with social entrepreneurs to promote economic, social, environmental progress through a variety of efforts, including fiscal sponsorship. Schwab Foundation identifies, connects, works with selected companies to advance specific social entrepreneurial initiatives.

4. Be smart in implementing your plan

Since social entrepreneurs are especially cash-strapped, with little or no money to finance their operations, marketing, and delivery of services, they must exploit the least expensive and most effective strategies and tactics. Most importantly, social entrepreneurs must efficiently find the people and communities they seek to serve and identify their unmet needs.

This is where social media marketing comes into play. Social media marketing enables organizations to identify and interact with their constituencies, access opinions, gather valuable feedback, and influence views about the organization and its offerings. Social media platforms include everything from blogs and video sharing to social networking and social bookmarking.

To use these freely available social media platforms wisely, social entrepreneurs have to decide which platforms are best suited for their purposes and how to use them productively. This means crafting a social media marketing campaign, which lays out clear measurable goals, investing the time to become familiar with the platforms and participants, creating compelling content, monitoring campaign results, and making the necessary adjustments to succeed.

Done right, social media marketing provides a cost-effective way for social entrepreneurs to make contacts, find support, influence constituencies, form collaborative efforts, as well as establish an image of trustworthiness, integrity, and dependability.

5. Monitor for success

The focus of social entrepreneurship, whether for-profit or not, is social change. Hence, the evaluation process should assess the progress made in achieving specific environmental or societal improvements. Clear and well-defined goals greatly simplify measuring the impact of a program on its intended eco-system or recipients.

In addition, it seems appropriate to evaluate the leadership performance of the social entrepreneur. After all, that individual is at the heart of social entrepreneurship, acting as the proponent, champion, and steward of a driving vision to improve the environment or society. Thus, assessing the social entrepreneur’s leadership, management, and spokesperson capabilities is essential to ensure the sustainability and ultimate success of the enterprise.

Finally, as with any startup, the economic performance of the organization should be analyzed using the same methodologies applied to traditional for-profit businesses. Although profit can be a secondary or even nonexistent consideration for some social entrepreneurs, every enterprise must receive or generate sufficient funds to survive, if not thrive.

For a useful collection of social search engines, be sure to check out the resources at http://SocialInformatics.net/.

Melissa S. Barker, Author of Internet Research – Illustrated 5th Edition, Course Technology, 2010

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Entrepreneurship: Should You Take A Training Program?

In the world that we live in, several multinational companies tower over one another. It is not something to bring wonder to all as these occurrences form part of the goal to which everyone is geared towards-it is none other than global competitiveness.

You must not get the shock of your life when you see multinational companies springing form one continent to another, from one shore to another shore, and from one border towards another. In your most unexpected places, multinational companies may pop out and can also expand at any minute.

With the innumerable businesses in existence today, you might think that your effort to put up one will just be futile as it is like planting a seedling in an array of towering trees. It may be but it may not also be. Got the logic? Then, read on!

Despite all the lording gigantic businesses there are in these days, the rise of entrepreneurship cannot be stopped. The rate of entrepreneurship is in fact growing day-by-day concerning the hundreds of people who want to start up something with their capitals in hand. For someone who wishes to put up a business, risk must be taken. Competition is inevitable in this kind of industry. That is why you must be firm with whatever decision you will make and capable of risk-taking.

If people discourage you to dwell into any type of business, better not listen to them. After all, entrepreneurship is indeed very much alive. Government systems in fact encourage entrepreneurs that will help boost up the economy and save the nation from further crises. While the government is welcoming with open arms these foreign investors, it is not as well turning its backs from local investors. In reality, the government is encouraging investments from their local people. After all, the government deems that investments are the sole solutions to provide the nation some stability and certainty in terms of the economy.

Do not be taken aback by the giant investors existing in the market. They are already stable so they would not bother to pull you down. Just concentrate with your own stuff and think of better ways to further improve your craft. Who knows, someday you might be one of those giants lining up the business arena.

But how will you start? How can you be turned into an entrepreneur? Look into your own self. What can you offer? What capabilities can you boast of? What are you capable of doing? Just have a vision of what you like and certainly you can make it come true. Before pursuing into any type of business, equip yourself first with the utmost trainings.

Entrepreneurial training programs will make your qualifications sharper, fluent, and competent enough to face the battle among the existing competitors. Where can you gain access of entrepreneurial training programs? Several companies offer these training programs. Schools are also hooked into this scheme. Always consult the expert in the field of entrepreneurial training programs.

Do away with the negative vibes. Do away with negative thoughts about yourself. You know you can do it. You know you can face it. Do away with confusions. Do away with self-pity. Just sport a positive perspective about yourself and you will soon see what will become of you. Maybe you will not be too successful on the first try. But then the more you try, the closer you will be with success.

One ultimate source of entrepreneur training programs is the internet. Yes, online entrepreneurial training programs are widely available. These trainings harness and hone your entrepreneurial skills even you without knowing it. Online courses are at times free. But mostly, they need to be subscribed to. If you think you are now ready to face the battle, try searching for online courses on entrepreneurship training programs.

There are literally lots of them. While undergoing the training program, be sure that you pay keen attention to whatever lessons are given out. These lessons will determine the knowledge that you may manifest as you already deal with the actual reality.

A training program on entrepreneurship will let you reap fruitful results. Just believe in your own capacity.

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Derek Elliott ? How Entrepreneurship Improves Your Life

The benefits of entrepreneurship towards the economy and the entrepreneur himself or herself are tremendous. By Starting as small and working is always a good idea when it comes to entrepreneurship. Then entrepreneurship is the ticket towards the financial independence.

Entrepreneurship is one of those things that can provide greater results, greater benefits than you might have initially expected. You'll develop deep life experience and a level of humility as a result.

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