Today we started a two day session focused on an Introduction to Entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship, as our instructor Prof. Nov explained, is the practice of accepting the risk of starting and running a business. There are pros and cons involved when venturing into entrepreneurship. Some advantages of being an entrepreneur include more control, flexibility, and a salary that is based on achievement with significant potential to grow. Alternatively, disadvantages of being an entrepreneur include uncertainty work schedules, salary and administrative issues, and competition from rival companies. Necessarily, entrepreneurs must be self-sufficient, self-directed, extremely motivated, and be able to make informed judgments.
At the heart of entrepreneurship is the foundation of the entrepreneur’s ideas, detailed in a business plan. This document describes the purpose of the intended business, its goals, client base, organization, marketing strategies, and financial projections. Professor Nov stressed that during the process of formulating a business plan an entrepreneur must carefully handle several competing forces at work. Known as Porter’s five forces, they include the degree of existing rivalry, the threat of potential entrants, the bargaining influence of suppliers and buyers, and the effect of substitutes and complements on the success of the business.
Also noteworthy is the importance of realizing that many well established corporations have flourished on the founding ideas of other individuals, those who are known as first movers. While first movers may be unsuccessful to a certain extent in growth of their business, followers can build upon their ideas and make the necessary adjustments to create a vision for a business that may far exceed the national and international influence of its predecessor.
Lastly, this entrepreneurship module pointed out that timing is key in the development of a business. Customer needs, availability of complementary products and/or services, the presence of competitive threats to the product, and ability to withstand early losses and just some of the fundamentals factors that must be considered when determining the best time to venture into business.
In the morning session, we learned several core concepts of entrepreneurship, for example, how to develop a business plan for a new product or service. In the afternoon, we worked in teams of three each to consider creation of a product and its corresponding business plan. Each team of teachers ended the day by pitching their idea to the rest of the teachers. Our team (Dwight, Peter, and I) enjoyed exchanging new product ideas and finally agreed on an eco-friendly product “ceiling greens”, a micro-controlled, self-sustaining, garden systems for inside the home. Our business plan included an executive summary, goals for our product, and a description of how the product works. We performed a market analysis to identify potential customers and competitors. Finally, we also developed sales and cost projections to help decide if our would be profitable and of interest to potential investors and other stakeholders.