Starting and Managing a Business for Profits and Wealth Part 10: The Learning Entrepreneur

North America, Asia and Europe have been undergoing an entrepreneurial renaissance. These countries are moving from being nations of managers to becoming nations of owners. Until 1990 North America’s economic engine of growth centered in the Fortune 1000 companies. Today the economic growth is driven by the small and the mid sized enterprise.

Almost everywhere in the world, entrepreneurship is not only alive but thriving. That is the good news. The bad news is worldwide 60per cent of all new business fail within the first two years and 70% fail within the first five years of their existence. Of those that survive many never reach the success level expected whilst some are still struggling at its growth stage never to reach the maturity stage. This is even more challenging in an uncertain economic situation.
Anyone can start a business but it is a different story when it comes to taking it to a successful level.

The top 10 common mistakes made by entrepreneur are;

  1. The inability to anticipate and deal with change.
  2. Failing to manage the growth of the organization and expanding beyond the financial capacity of the organization.
  3. Lack of appropriate financial controls.
  4. Product rather than market or customer orientation.
  5. Not realistically understanding competitive advantages and disadvantages.
  6. Inability or reluctance to groom a successor.
  7. Running a company that is dependent on people rather than systems.
  8. Not setting and documenting processes and systems.
  9. Trying to be everything to every body instead of focusing on specific target market.
  10. Concentrating on tactics and become operational bound and in the process forgetting strategy.

You will note that out of ten common mistakes, three are marketing related. In some cases, some entrepreneurs literally believe that if you open your shop, people will come. No they don’t…not if you don’t know how to get them there.

It is now widely recognized that entrepreneurship can be learnt. Whilst they may be the few who have the entrepreneur’s instinct or business acumen as some called it, most of us have to learn by making mistakes. However making mistakes in this fast moving and unforgiving world can be expensive and in some cases may be permanent and beyond repair. It is much smarter to learn from others who has already make mistakes than to learn from your own mistakes. It is certainly less expensive.

In a research done by our Quest office in Shanghai on the challenges faced by entrepreneurs and those who run organizations in China the results shows the following:

The biggest Challenge in your Job/Business :
20.00%       Managing Staff
11.25%         Recruiting good people
21.25%         Increasing Sales
5.00%          Controlling cost
21.25%         Expanding market
1.25%           Financing the business
16.25%         Improving Quality and customer satisfaction
3.75%           Others ( specify)
1 – how to assign my own time
2 – how to make training gives better result
3 – explore unknown technique file

Once again you notice that 42.5 % of the challenges are marketing and sales related. Here is an extension of the research covering their wishes. The other conclusion you may derive from our China research is that working and managing people is another huge challenge faced by Chinese entrepreneur.

Biggest wish related to your work :
3.75%         Wish I have more time for my work
11.25%        Wish I have more time for family
12.50%       Wish I have more good people to work for me
5.00%         Wish I am able to speak more languages
36.25%       Wish I have more management knowledge
10.00%       Wish I know how others run an organization similar to mine
8.75%         Wish I know what are the developments in my industry in other parts of the world
11.25%        Wish I know what my real passion is
1.25%         Others ( specify) : A position that demonstrate my managerial skills and leadership

Base on our research it is obvious the Chinese has a great desire to learn and to acquire more management knowledge and know how. We came to a conclusion that there is a need for learning entrepreneurship and management and in particular marketing.. And that this need to learn is perhaps directed towards improving the ability to get more sales and get a bigger market as well as to manage people better.

The question we have is whether the results in our local Malaysian environment are different or the same. I believe very strongly that it is not entirely different; but lets find out. To participate in a local research log on to www.masteryasia.com/research and your participation will reward you with a complete report.

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