Entrepreneurs – What is the "what" these people know?

In a study conducted in Sri Lanka, the findings enabled the identification of some qualities, preferences, and ambitions of successful business managers. Most successful owner-managers have started businesses related to the industries they have previously worked. So, they knew (ie. addressing “what these people know”) all what they needed to know about the technical aspects, market size, the buyers, and, the end users needs. They also knew the competitor offerings inside-out and what they needed to do to gain competitive advantage. All these meant good industry knowledge. They understood the gap in the market and sensed the good fortune that lies ahead for them. Many needed financial assistance. In short most of these people start their businesses after identification of a “market opportunity” which they had the ability to exploit. They are commonly known as “opportunity entrepreneurs”. There are other types such as “necessity entrepreneurs”.

They faced problems mostly while expanding their businesses. In the main, that’s when they look for help. Help from those who have “been there and done that”. Help from industry specialists. Not interested in listening to those who regurgitate what’s in the text books. They did not want to attend group training programmes. What they wanted was on the job help. Individualised training at their facilities to overcome their specific problems and mentoring of future expansion projects. When the service providers fail to find them they find those who can be of help.

What these people are? I mean the owner-managers. They are ambitious, committed and will do what they have to do reach their goals. With maturity, as these ambitious managers gained confidence, they move from businesses to business, and industry to industry, they are not very familiar with, but with self-belief that they can turn them into gold. When they are successful they are called “serial entrepreneurs”. Do we have a role to play in their success stories? If so, how can we be the leader? 

In a nut-shell that’s what I found. Many different types of entrepreneurs, with a wide variety of stuff they know.

Dr.  Asoka Gunaratne
Senior Lecturer
Unitec Business School
Unitec New Zealand
Tel: 64 9 8154321 ext. 7035
Fax: 64 9 814 4374

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