Entrepreneurship

All posts in the Entrepreneurship category

Summer Break

Published May 31, 2016 by Mayrbear's Lair

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We are on summer break and will return with new posts in the fall. Until then … keep working on your organizational and leadership skills!

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Laughter is an instant vacation. – Milton Berle

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New Technologies and Social Change (Conclusion)

Published May 26, 2016 by Mayrbear's Lair

consumer-electronics

In today’s post, we continue our discussion on how new technical systems can assist in stimulating a business. When I began my career in the music industry, a new technical system was introduced to us at Capitol Records. At that time, the support staff which included paralegals and administrative assistants, were introduced to an upgraded technology. Prior to this change, traditional electronic typewriters were the standard issue at the time. However, for those of us in Business Affairs and the Legal Department, due to the enormous size of the contractual documents we produced, those plug-in typewriters were replaced with word processing machines. This change was made so that more information could  be stored to manage the large legal documents we produced. Most staff members affected, like me, became excited at the prospect of the new technology and welcomed the change. The new system allowed staff members to produce and save lengthy document templates in an electronic format. In addition, errors and corrections could be made on a terminal monitor, rather than relying on a flawed auto-correct button and ribbons the typewriters provided that involved a more primitive white out method. The new technology meant that mistakes could be corrected on a terminal screen alleviating the need to print a document before it was complete thereby saving time and production costs. Up until that point, large documents were typed out manually. Corrections were generated on documents that sometimes left unattractive blemishes and marks from the white-out methods employed.

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Other staff members were fearful and not as eager to embrace the new technology as it meant they were required to learn and train on a new system. This was frightening to many of the old timers who were reluctant to change. The more enthusiastic personnel who were not technology challenged, however, embraced the material change and welcomed the opportunity to learn a new organizational procedure. Once the learning curve phase was complete staff members were transformed into motivated individuals whose enthusiasm helped them become more effective and productive in the workplace.

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For all those who shy away from change, Howard Means (2001) reminds us that before the internet there was Arpanet. Word processors can be traced back through laptops and desktops to the 30 ton ENLAC (electronic numerical integrator and computer). Cars were preceded by steam powered tricycles and trains by wind propelled land ships (p. 17).  Digital technologies are an important tool in today’s world. As the economy continues to evolve, businesses will and should seek innovative solutions to enhance and develop their organizations.

Well that’s it for this week. We will be off for a while to enjoy the summer break. In the meantime, keep working on your self-management skills and stay safe!

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Information technology and business are becoming inextricably interwoven. I don’t think anybody can talk meaningfully about one without talking about the other.

Bill Gates

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References:

Means, H. (2001). Money and power: The history of business (p. 17). New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

New Technologies and Social changes

Published May 24, 2016 by Mayrbear's Lair

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This week my research work centers on how new technologies and material changes transform businesses’ expectations and the kind of changes they stimulate. For instance, in today’s economy, globalization helped changed the markets and business environment dramatically in how organizations operate. New countries, governments, leadership, and markets emerged which helped create a global economy that stimulates both opportunities as well as conflict. The dismantlement of the Berlin Wall for example, which once again unified East and West Germany, was one example of a social change that transformed the region. In addition, the European Union’s goal was to create a cohesive economic culture. This also helped change the face of global markets which helped entrepreneurs sprout in places like the Balkans, Russia, and Siberia. These social changes helped shift the face of the former Soviet Union.

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Information technology in the meantime, helped redefine traditional business models by altering work performance, production costs, and how information is used and managed. The methodologies of how organizations collect, store, manipulate, utilize and transmit information helped lower costs while increasing the value and quality of services and products. Information technology is after all, the heart of e-commerce strategies and organizations (Cummings & Worley, 2008).

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As a result, managerial innovation responded to globalization and information technology by accelerating their impact on institutions. New networks, strategic alliances and virtual corporations, for instance, provide new ways of manufacturing goods and delivering services. Companies and individuals that implement new initiatives, are in a better position to address preliminary conditions, including initial ideas, investments and control systems. In his book, The Origin and Evolution of New Businesses, Amar Bhide (2000) purports that the following differences in conditions can affect:

  1. The nature of opportunities pursued;
  2. The degree to which dependence relies on former analysis and planning rather than adapting to unforeseen situations;
  3. The strategies to secure customers, employees, credit, supplies and other inputs; and
  4. The factors that differentiate the successful initiatives from the unsuccessful ones (p. 196)

Most individuals, however, eager to start a new enterprise, typically face inadequate conditions due to  reasons like, the lack of innovative ideas, experience and/or credentials for that matter. Plus, they tend to experience significant capital constraints. On Thursday, we will conclude our research on the role new technical systems play to assist in stimulating commerce and how it affects global and social change.

Well, that’s it for today! Until next time … keep building your leadership and management skills!

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You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

Buckminster Fuller

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References:

Bhide, A. (2000). The origin and evolution of new businesses (p. 196). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Cummings, T., & Worley, C. (2008). Organizational development and change (9th ed.). Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.

 

THEMED MESSAGES

Published May 19, 2016 by Mayrbear's Lair

Marketing Message

A marketer’s goal is to get a powerful message out to their target audience.  Kennedy (2011) suggests the best ads are built with the most persuasive, compelling, intriguing, fascinating message possible. To construct a super powered marketing message advertisers must assess everything and everyone they are up against that are presenting similar messages because their intent is to deliver a message that outmaneuvers all others and puts them in a category of uniqueness (Kennedy, 2011).  The strategy that helps marketers achieve these outcomes is doing their homework to come up with a unique selling proposition (USP) justifying their message against the competition. Incorporating a USP into the message theme of an advertising campaign will help the brand stand out above the others and is more likely to remain a fixture in the memories of consumers.

The person draws attention of clients

Before marketers can start to build a tactical business case for content marketing they have to begin with the concept of innovation.  Baack and Clow (2012) explain that message themes are developed into a campaign to transmit key ideas in marketing strategies. The use of recurring themes helps make the brand stand out more and is more effective at remaining in consumer memories. The message can incorporate different kinds of strategies that target (a) cognitive, (b) affective, or (c) conative responses to make their ads more appealing (Baack & Clow, 2012). For example, back in the 1990s, the Taster’s Choice Coffee Company created a series of ads that became both popular and memorable (Commercial, 1991). The ad conveyed a simple recurring theme in their message that conveyed that life seemed much better sharing a cup of Taster’s Choice coffee with someone special.

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The recurring theme that communicated their message was constructed in the form of a series of short dramatic scenes like a mini soap opera. Each time the couple would appear in different circumstances while viewers watched their relationship develop. The action was centered around the theme of a man a woman sharing a cup of coffee. Each time viewers tuned in to a new ad, they would witness the unique circumstances which brought them together, eager to see how the relationship progressed. This advertising strategy was innovative at the time and the ad campaign became a phenomenon in the history of television commercials. The strategy was met with great success because the target audience was focused on people hooked to popular soap opera style shows then, like Dallas and All My Children. Consumers anxiously anticipated the next commercial to find out the plot development between the couple featured in the ads. Not only did sales boom, the Taster’s Choice brand became a part of pop culture during that time as millions of viewers eagerly awaited each new episode to watch the couple’s blossoming relationship unfold. It was considered one of the most effective marketing campaigns on television at that era because of the emotional chord it struck with viewers. The soap opera message theme that delivered their message in that campaign was the bait that kept luring viewers, putting Taster’s Choice in the memories of many for a long time. I still remember them!

Well, that’s a wrap for this week! Thanks for tuning in! Until next time … keep working on your management skills!

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There is probably a perverse pride in my administration … that we were going to do the right thing, even if short-term it was unpopular. And I think anybody who’s occupied this office has to remember that success is determined by an intersection in policy and politics and that you can’t be neglecting of marketing and P.R. and public opinion.

Barack Obama

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References:

Baack, D., & Clow, K. (2012). Integrated advertising, promotion, and marketing communications (Fifth ed.). Upper Saddle River, NY: Pearson Education, Inc.

1991 Taster’s Choice Coffee Commercial (1991). [Motion Picture]. USA.

Kennedy, D. (2011). The ultimate marketing plan: Target your audience (Fourth ed.). Avon, MA, USA: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Managing Customer Relationships

Published May 17, 2016 by Mayrbear's Lair

 

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Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a strategic approach that marketers implement to manage customer interactions in an organized fashion. Buttle and Maklan (2009) describe CRM as a disciplined practice developed in organizational management to build and maintain profitable consumer relationships. CRM programs manage all aspects of interaction a consumer has with a company, which includes prospecting, sales, and service (Buttle & Maklan, 2009). In short, CRM methodologies are designed to provide insight in company/client relationships to help improve them. One way of doing this is showing appreciation to clients and making them feel valued. For example, a mortgage and loan broker will send out a thank you gift to a borrower that just closed on a loan to help show appreciation for their business. This maneuver is effective in building a relationship with the client that can help encourage repeat business and new referrals. Customers that feel special and have a positive experience with an organization tend to remain loyal to the brand.

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There are many steps involved in the planning and implementation of an effective CRM program. Baack and Clow (2012) explain that the objective of relationship marketing is to understand how consumers behave and what they want. By establishing direct communication through methods that include (a) surveys, (b) gifts, (c) promotions, and (d) service lines, companies can establish more personal relationships with their clientele through this interaction and the data they collect (Baack & Clow, 2012). Corporate advertisers implement various methods of CRM strategies, all of them however, begin with strong database and information collection systems. Up to date databases help identify and segment a target audience. Database systems that record consumer interaction including: (a) details about their sales experience, (b) personal interests, (c) family interests, and (d) other relevant data to help identify personal habits and behavior, are used to build intimate relationships with clients to make them feel special so that in turn they will offer their loyalty. The data gathered also reveals other significant data such as how many times they make purchases, visit stores, websites and other social media outlets. All of this information is assessed to help marketers determine whether to rekindle old inactive relationships or release them to make room for other more substantial leads.

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The experience a consumer has with a company will determine whether that brand becomes a favorite or is abandoned. Kumar and Reinartz (2012) purport that strategic CRM approaches have become more popular in recent years because the field has changed for many reasons, including advances in marketplace technology. CRM programs provide insights into past, current, and future trends that continue to influence consumer behavior. In addition, CRM strategies help develop better relationships with existing profitable consumers, locate and entice new ones that will be profitable, and implement effective strategies to maintain them while terminating relationships that cause profit loss (Kumar & Reinartz, 2012). The concept of customer value is critical to CRM programs. For example, I made an online purchase with the Jockey Company and to entice me as a first time consumer, they offered a twenty dollar discount to try one of their new innovative and custom designed products. The custom design factor made it a more personal experience. As a result of the positive experience, I gave them permission to send email alerts on other special values and sales items. Furthermore, every time I visit their website to view new offers, I am personally welcomed. Plus, my payment information is already stored for quick checkout. The experience with the Jockey Corporation was fun, personal and unique. From my perspective, doing business with the Jockey brand was more pleasant because of the effective CRM strategies they incorporated. It was the personal touch that made me feel valued as a consumer and in doing so, they earned my loyalty.

Well, that’s it for today! Until next time … keep working on your management skills!

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The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.

Peter Drucker

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For more information on Media Magic’s digital publications, or to purchase any of our Business Life audio book titles, please visit amazon.com’s new feature called “Author Central” to view:

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References:

Baack, D., & Clow, K. (2012). Integrated advertising, promotion, and marketing communications (Fifth ed.). Upper Saddle River, NY: Pearson Education, Inc.

Buttle, F., & Maklan, S. (2009). Customer relationship management. Burlington, MA: Elsevier Ltd.

Kumar, V., & Reinartz, W. (2012). Customer relationship management (second ed.). Atlanta: Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

The Value of Online Marketing

Published May 12, 2016 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Viral marketing is a very effective strategy in which advertisers spread their message digitally from one person to another. This strategy counts on individuals to get excited about something and share it with their friends and family through various social media outlets. There are many reasons why things like wristbands, nonfat Greek yogurt, low-fat diets, Atkins, South Beach, iPhones, and the Macarena caught on. Berger (2013) explains that these are all samples of social epidemics, instances where ideas, products, and behaviors became a part of public consciousness that was helped spread by word of mouth. There are three main reasons why products go viral: (a) innovative quality products or ideas that offer value, (b) discounted products or services that offer equal value as their pricey competitors, and (c) unique advertising efforts (Berger, 2013). Although it is fairly easy to identify samples of social contagion, it is actually much more difficult to get something new to actually go viral. One reason some products and ideas become sensations is because they are just better products. In other words, when items come along that function more efficiently, people tend to want to own them. For example, earlier models of television and computer monitors were large and weighed considerably. Flat screen sales skyrocketed because they offered larger screens and weighed less. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out why they became a sensation.

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The Web has transformed the way people interact with each other. A variety of services have been developed to help keep people in touch with whoever they want, whenever they want, from where ever they want with speed and ease. In other words, society is interconnected in a way that has improved their lives considerably just with a few keystrokes and clicks of their electronic devices. Adams (2013) asserts that although we can connect instantly, this same element has created a high level of deafening noise and clutter to penetrate. As a result of the bombardment of advertisers trying to reach consumers, people are only focused on what is relevant to them at that moment. Marketers are now beginning to comprehend that providing value alone is not enough to grab a viewer’s attention. If it does not include an innovative idea or unique presentation, it will have a harder time getting through to the masses (Adams, 2013). To make an impact in the online marketing community, it helps to have an idea that is fresh, new, different, and remarkable. Most people would like to believe success will occur overnight. However, in most situations, that is not the case. There is a tipping point that must occur. In other words, once the idea reaches a certain tipping point, the idea then causes a crescendo like a virus that goes on to produce an epidemic. This can occur faster now because of the inter-connectedness within the global network.

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There are many examples of things that have gone viral like Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, Google and Harry Potter. They all went viral because they provided unique value and were innovative brands. The length of time varied from weeks, to months, to years but what set them apart from all the others was that they offered value in a unique fashion. Baack and Clow (2013) contend that the primary reason people are on social networks is to showcase their self. Successful corporations are now using this strategy to connect closer with consumers. Social media acts as a platform for advertisers reach prospects so that they will then share that information with those they care about (Baack & Clow, 2012). Marketers want their campaigns to go viral online and social networks allow them to create campaigns that will spread by word-of-mouth. This kind of strategy is more effective because word-of-mouth is more targeted and therefore, more persuasive.

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Companies are more successful when consumers spread the word about their brand because it is a genuine response from the users. To make an online marketing strategy effective, marketers develop their campaigns knowing that word-of-mouth strategies will help them connect to a relevant audience.

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One of my favorite examples of an advertising campaign that went viral was a promotional ad for the theatrical release of a very popular remake of the 1970s movie Carrie. The advertising company hired a professional film crew and worked in partnership with a small Manhattan café where the event took place (Telekinetic Woman Pranks Coffee Shop Customers!, 2013). The environment was secretly set up by the professional crew prior to the shop opening adding special effects components to make the reaction from the patrons more believable. Actors were hired to play out a short scene and cameras were strategically hidden to capture the event while  innocent patrons witnessed the action that transpired. Once the event was set in motion, the male performer began to agitate a young female patron at the cafe that was engaged in her studies. The young man deliberately spills her coffee on her computer workstation. This caused the young woman to react and lose her composure. Losing her temper created a chain reaction to where she became so angry she began to use what seemed like telekinetic powers to throw the man against the wall and with the wave of her hand, he starts elevating up while pressed against the wall to the full height of the ceiling. In the meantime, her anger has not subsided and she begins moving the café furniture, tables and chairs out of her way as well with the wave of her hand as if by magic. The expressions and genuine screams from the unsuspecting patrons was priceless. Afterwards they were advised it was all part of a hired crew to create a promotion for the upcoming movie Carrie. Needless to say, the video has gone viral. That was one very effective and cleverly unique way that brand communicated a their message.

Well, that’s a wrap for this week! Until next time … stay organized!

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“The light within us can always identify our mind’s darkness.” ― Munia Khan

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References:

Baack, D., & Clow, K. (2012). Integrated advertising, promotion, and marketing communications (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NY: Pearson Education, Inc.

Gehrt, J., & Moffitt, C. (2009). Strategic public relations. Salem, OR: Bookbyte Digital.

Scott, D. M. (2013). The new rules of marketing and PR. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Developing an Entrepreneurial Climate and Culture

Published April 21, 2016 by Mayrbear's Lair

what-is-entrepreneurship

On Tuesday we began a discussion on the environment of an entrepreneurial arena, today we continue our analysis with a focus on climate and culture. One thing many experts will agree on, is that an entrepreneurial climate must adhere to innovation and change. For example, the culture of virtual organizations has really taken off which has transformed the modern work place. Virtual mediums enable leaders to accept, expect, and encourage innovations that include the staff in the co-creation process, make adjustments and adaptations based on user feedback, and coalesce from remote locations. Badal (2013) postulates that to create a successful environment, leaders should be: (a) driven; (b) display effective communication skills; (c) are able to motivate and inspire others; (d) can identify strengths and weaknesses in themselves as well as others; and (e) turn challenges into opportunities (Badal, 2013). For instance, one way to evolve an organization, may be to create an entrepreneurial climate that implements a daily ritual which includes various strategies that focus on the health and well-being of staff members. Effective leaders recognize the importance of focused intentions and attention on matters such as how self-disciplinary actions can help employees achieve and maintain effectiveness in their positions; especially in the early stages where a venture consists of very few individuals to help motivate each other. This disciplinary component is one way to nurture an individual’s confidence, as well as develop their stamina which can in turn, help drive their internal engines to achieve successful outcomes.

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Culture

Hisrch and Kearney (2012) describe corporate entrepreneurs as mavericks and innovators. They are pioneers that spark new enterprises, products, and services by developing, growing and designing a culture which incorporates strategies, structure and policies to support their ventures (Hisrich & Kearney, 2012). When creating an entrepreneurial culture, successful leaders will assess the following components: (a) the technologies available required to operate effectively;  (b) the fluctuation in cost of goods, exchange rates, interest rates, tax incentives and a price for services; (c) marketplace competition; (d) labor force requirements; (e) resource availability; (f) who the target market and customers are; (g) an understanding of law, restrictions and regulations for operation; (h) and the global environment that includes real-time communication, productivity, distributors, suppliers and other strategic alliances (Morris, Kuratko, & Covin, 2011).  Although an operation may begin as a small entity, the creative culture the leaders nurture is key to achieving their goals.

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What our research this week revealed, is that without analysis and support in their venture, entrepreneurs tend to give up and quit. Furthermore, visionary leaders that recognize talented corporate entrepreneurs are in a better position to help their firm benefit more by facilitating a platform which nurtures employee creativity by including new innovations as well as a comprehensive business plan to optimize their chances of success while managing internal politics effectively (Hisrich & Kearney, 2012).  In other words, our analysis of the culture, climate and environment within an entrepreneurial organization, proved to be essential components in the development of successful business establishments.

Well, that’s it for this week! Until next time … have fun exploring your entrepreneurial options!

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“What happens when people open their hearts? They get better.” ― Haruki Murakami

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For more information on Media Magic’s digital publications, or to purchase any of our Business Life audio book titles, please visit amazon.com’s new feature called “Author Central” to view:

 Mayr’s Author’s Page

 

References:

Badal, S. (2013). Building corporate entrepreneurship is hard work. Retrieved February 13, 2013, from Gallup Business Journal: http://businessjournal.gallup.com/content/157604/building-corporate-entrepreneurship-hard-work.aspx

Hisrich, R., & Kearney, C. (2012). Corporate entrepreneurship: How to create a thriving entrepreneurial spirit throughout your company. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Publishing.

Morris, M., Kuratko, D., & Covin, J. (2011). Corporate entrepreneurship and innovation (3rd ed.). Mason, OH: South-Western College Publishing.

 

Creating an Entrepreneurial Climate

Published April 19, 2016 by Mayrbear's Lair

think-entrepreneur

This week we analyze the development of an entrepreneurial arena with focus on culture, climate, and environment as integral components of the process.  We will examine elements that assist to create an effective entrepreneurial environment and determine whether those factors support a viable venture.  We will also take into consideration, the climate entrepreneurs establish and the position new innovations and technologies play to encourage the development of an entrepreneurial atmosphere.  In addition, we will look at the strategies, as well as the structure, and the policies that support entrepreneurial ventures and their strategic alliances. We will also critically assess how these components affect the organizational experience, and look at how without thorough planning and the establishment of a solid support system, entrepreneurs face many challenges that can encourage them to give up and quit. Our research work will also reveal how the most successful entrepreneurs: (a) assess their strengths and weaknesses; (b) embrace an arena that supports trial and error; and (c) exhibit an ability to make adjustments and learn from any miscalculations and reveal why this setting will most likely enable entrepreneurs to thrive in their venture.

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We are in the midst of a global entrepreneurial revolution in every nation, industry and market.  According to Morris, et al. (2011) startups are at an all-time high with new products and services also at record levels in most industries (Morris, Kuratko, & Covin, 2011).  In the meantime many of these new startups fail as quickly as they emerge.  In order for a venture to have the best chance of survival experts concur that an analysis of the culture, climate and environment of an entrepreneurial organization is required in creating a successful establishment.

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Environment

To create a successful entrepreneurial environment an individual needs to identify opportunities and generate new growth (Hisrich & Kearney, 2012).  An analysis of the following components can help ascertain whether a venture is worth considering: (a) the technology incorporated; (b) the ability to nurture new ideas; (c) the establishment of systems and strategies to cope with failure; (d) the determination, accessibility and availability of resources; and (e) the channels available that support management.  For example, challenges from high unemployment rates, can spark new ideas for innovative employment solutions. A joblessness condition may present an opportunity for someone with an entrepreneurial spirit and experience in administration to step in and provide specialty services specifically targeted to support corporate executives and businesses. To create a constructive entrepreneurial environment, however, the individual is encouraged to conduct a critical organizational assessment to help foster solutions and harness support, which includes their having access to additional resources. In the meantime, armed with a positive attitude, entrepreneurs will continue to grow because of their ability to embrace an openness which incorporates new innovative ideas with technologies that encourage creativity in addition to their support from cohesive plans and strategies.

Well, that’s it for this time! On Thursday we will conclude this discussion. Until then … keep working on your leadership skills!

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The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.

Albert Einstein

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For more information on Media Magic’s digital publications, or to purchase any of our Business Life audio book titles, please visit amazon.com’s new feature called “Author Central” to view:

 Mayr’s Author’s Page

References:

Hisrich, R., & Kearney, C. (2012). Corporate entrepreneurship: How to create a thriving entrepreneurial spirit throughout your company. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Publishing.

Morris, M., Kuratko, D., & Covin, J. (2011). Corporate entrepreneurship and innovation (3rd ed.). Mason, OH: South-Western College Publishing.