Report with Support Documents Part 1 – Coding Frame of the Transcript

Report with Support Documents

Part 1 – Coding Frame of the Transcript

 

Point Speaker Transcript Coding Framework
1.         Me Recording on the 28th of November 2014, at 7:39. Can you please introduce yourself [?].
2 Richard My name is Richard [?]. I’m a [?] entrepreneur. I run a hair company and I run a software company as well. Hair company is called [Fariha?] Hair and Beauty, and software company is called Community Software.
       3. Me All right. I’m going to ask you a few questions about how you as an entrepreneur and your experience on becoming an entrepreneur and sustaining your entrepreneur skills et cetera.
       4. Richard Definitely.
       5. Me I’m going to run through certain questions with you. Firstly, how did you become an entrepreneur? What made you become an entrepreneur?
       6. Richard I think it was like a process of different things that led to me being an entrepreneur. I think, from young I didn’t know I

wanted to do, and then like in secondary school I started on– I tried to selling like gold bar and penguin chocolate bars but I wasn’t successful but what I learnt from that I learnt like profit loss revenue so those were basic skills I was learning. When I went to college I started building up so I started selling Blackberry cases, Blackberries because at that point in time Blackberry was what everyone was using. I started reselling like PRICHARDs PS3s for people that wanted to sell it and they have like a eBay Amazon account online and then–

1.Entrepreneuri-al Insight
       7. Me So basically you was more– you saw the opportunity in things? That what major the common entrepreneur–
       8. Richard Basically yeah.
       9. Me So could you say family, was your [?] there? What could you say or was is it just many opportunities?
    10. Richard I think it was opportunities. I feel my dad was– my dad is an [?] agent so I think I think I got a little experience from him, but I didn’t learn like– he didn’t teach me the fundamental if that makes sense. I was sort of left to be free. So it was something that I found was basically taking the opportunity out of everything that I saw. 1.Entrepreneuri-al Insight
    11. Me Talking of experience, do you have any pre existing experiences? Do you work? Are you in education? Did you have education? What previous experiences have you got?
    12. Richard I went to college, did my A levels, and I went to university twice. In the first year I did multimedia technology and I dropped out, and then I did international business and then I dropped out because at that point in time I was really running my business so I didn’t see how it made sense. 2.Capability
    13. Me So you couldn’t juggle both things at the same time?
    14. Richard Yeah, exactly.
    15. Me Do you feel that you dropping out was beneficial to your entrepreneurial career, or do you wish you stayed in?
    16. Richard Sometimes I wished  I stayed in because I’m a very academic person. I like a neeky geeky type of person. But at the same time I think in terms of time I think dropping out was the best decision I ever made because it freed up the Monday to Fridays that I had to go to uni for, and it allowed me to basically just go out there and be a full time entrepreneur. So it was definitely a good decision. 1.Entrepreneuri-al Insight

2. Capability

    17. Me So basically as an entrepreneur, you risked basically your education to run your business?
    18. Richard Yeah.
    19. Me Do you feel that for you being there, you had a big impact on your business?
    20. Richard You mean like as an individual?
    21. Me Yeah, as an individual.
    22. Richard Definitely, I think because one of the businesses that I run were a start-up company, so there’s only about three or four of us as a team that work on the director level. So it’s very important that each person is there. For example, someone might do business affairs. Someone might do graphic design. Someone might lead growth. Someone might lead sales. And I think that, strategically, it was very important as an individual for me to be involved in my business, to enable us to grow and move forward. 1.Entrepreneuri-al Insight

2. Capability

    23. Me So you drive your workforce, basically?
    24. Richard Basically, yeah.
    25. Me What type of entrepreneur would you describe as an egotistic leader, as a person where you want people to know you’re the manager or the CEO, or are you an entrepreneur where you let your work speak for itself?
    27. Richard I think I like to let my work speak for myself. I think I’m an entrepreneur that’s what always says– because there’s a lot of people that talk and say they’re going to do this, they’re going to do that, and this and that. I think the best thing is to put the work in and let your work show for you and then when you do that people automatically in a sense chase after you or be interested in what you’re doing, rather than just talking and talking and then nothing comes out. And also it’s more impressive to people when you don’t talk, but you just do something and you pop out with something big that no one really expected you to do. 1.Entrepreneuri-al Insight
    28. Me Okay. All right. And moving onto the next question, talking about your business. How was setting up your business? Did you have any difficulties with it? As you said, you dropped out of university. Was there any other difficulties when setting up your business?
    29. Richard I think on one of the main things was obviously finance, but I think that’s something that you learn to get as you go along. For example, there’s a lot of opportunities for loans and [?] out there, and because I had other things that I could do such as web design and a bit of programming, that enabled me to do freelance work on the side while running my business. It was much easier to finance my business. I think another thing was experience, like learning how to write contracts, do cash flows, understand the profit margins, and I think when you start to run a business those are things that you just learn. 2.Capability
    30. Me How would you say you went through it? How you encountered the problems or the experiences, difficulties.
    31. Richard I had first in terms of experiences, I just went head first.
    32. Me Don’t you think head first you could end up things even worse, or you did it strategically? Or how did you do it? You just went in?
    33. Richard I think the best thing as a young person was to go ahead first, because number one,  I had nothing to lose. I’ve not got a mortgage, I’ve not got kids. And I think that when you do have a business you have to, in a sense, fail in order to appreciate life and then in order to learn from it and then succeed the second time. 2.Courage of Risk Taking
    34. Me Yes. I understand that. And you know your company, do you compete with any other companies? Like similar businesses doing what you doing and [?]?
    35. Richard With the hair, there’s quite a lot of competition, as well as with the software. But I think the main thing that in both that we’ve tried to do is to always differentiate ourselves and make sure that what we’re doing no one else is trying to do. So for example, with the software, we’re trying to build a virtual clinic for the NHS and that at the moment no one else is doing that. So I think that gives us an edge in the market. 1.Entrepreneuri-al Insight
    36. Me That [?] innovative technique.
    37. Richard Yeah. Yeah. I think innovation is very important into business because it sets you apart.
38. Me And do you receive any support from anyone?
39. Richard Mentorship. I receive mentors. I have one or two mentors that I see, not regularly, but maybe every three or four months and you just meet them, you go out for lunch, and you tell them how you’re doing, and they give you advice. So I think that’s what I have, I should receive some advice from my dad because obviously my dad is also a small business owner, so I’ll go to my dad at times for advice, and I have friends that are very business-minded that can also challenge me to be a better person. 4.Support
40. Me Okay. Do you find that support beneficial, everything beneficial?
41. Richard Definitely, definitely. I feel like sometimes being an entrepreneur, a lot of the time you’re lonely and a lot of the time you’re alone with your thoughts, like what if this happens? what if I fail? I think that having that support and having that backbone is very important in order to succeed and even like we look at successful people today, there’s always a backbone. It might not be a woman, it could be like a team, or it could be that friend or mum or dad. I always feel like there’s a person or team behind them that enables them to achieve that goal. 4. Support
42. Me Okay. All right then. Has being an entrepreneur, some entrepreneurs has that skill of innovation as you said before. And you said you have a hair business and a software business. How is your idea, your businesses different from the rest?
43. Richard I think with the hair business, I think initially we look the same, I think in terms of expansion and in terms of growth we’re very  different and we aim to be very different. With the hair company, based on what we’re doing is we [?] hair extensions but in the future we’re aiming to actually out there and to actually bridge in to many of our products such as natural hair, natural products, wigs. And that’s something I’ve compared that have been on the market for years haven’t learned. They’ve just focused on virgin hair. So I think that’s a way that we’re going to be different. And I think with the software what makes us different is the way that we deal with clients. We care for every single client. For example, now that we’re working with the NHS, when we speak to NHS trusts and private doctors we actually speak with them, have a phone call, have a chat and actually see how their needs correlate with what we can build. So I think that approach and how we aim to grow is much different from other businesses. 5. Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility

6. Creativity and Innovation

44. Me What about you as a entrepreneur? I’m thinking singularly. How are you innovative?
45. Richard I think one thing I do is that I read a lot and I think a lot. I think if you read a lot – reading is like– I don’t know. I feel like reading is extremely important because it gives you the knowledge. While I think thinking is also extremely important because it gives you the opportunity to actually think on your own when no one is [?] actually– 6. Creativity and Innovation
46. Me Visualize, yeah.
47. Richard –come out with something or visualise and actually strategise and I think that’s the way to breed innovation. 6. Creativity and Innovation
48. Me Okay. So, I hate to ask about ideas, but do you have any more ideas that you’ve got underneath or you need to–?
49. Richard [?].
50. Me Do you think of ideas regularly?
51. Richard I think of ideas regularly. Some I forget, some I remember, but I think there are some recurring ideas that I have. One of them is in the future to invest in ethnic minority backgrounds, to invest in ethnic minorities or individuals from those kinds of backgrounds that have business ideas and need a push, and may not have the facilities or what they need in order to progress. 6. Creativity and Innovation
52. Me Okay, that sounds good. Secondly, now this is about your entrepreneurial marketing techniques, how are you? Are you more customer focused , opportunity focus? Like me, for example, I’m a bit of both. If I see a customer I like to satisfy that customer by doing this or doing that.
53. Richard Yeah.
54. Me However, if I see an opportunity here I will still take advantage of that opportunity.
55. Richard Yeah.
56. Me So I always show customer focus as an entrepreneur.
57. Richard I think it’s very extremely customer [oriented?] because I think a lot of entrepreneurs when they start their businesses, all they think about is money, money, profit, profit. And I think what you have to understand is that if you meet the needs of your market, the money will always come in. So I think the aim as an entrepreneur is to be extremely customer focused. And when you are customer focused, the money will automatically come in because you’re satisfying the customers’ need and they’re paying you for that. 7.Customer Oriented
58. Me What about opportunity?
59. Richard I think opportunity is when I can and I think– yeah, I think I just chase that when I can. But I think if I’m [?] opportunity, I’m chasing opportunity. When something else comes that’s not as big as the one I’m currently chasing, I think I’ll leave it. Because I think it’s about balancing and strategizing and looking for the right opportunities and the right chances to take. 1.Entrepreneur-al Insight
60. Me Sounds good. As a person of authority or entrepreneur, do people look at you differently? How do you brand yourself – your dress and your posture? How does people know that– how do people address you?
61. Richard I don’t know. I think it’s different for different people. But a lot of the time, I just try and be me.
62. Me I see you’re looking presentable, majority of the time I see you. Is that your type of technique to network with different people or the example you want to lead, or is it just that you in general are [I was going to?] because , because [I don’t know?].
63. Richard I think is a cooperate culture thing. I think the more I go into cooperate environment, the more I realised how important it was to dress in a presentable way and I think that’s what sort of led me to start dressing smart because it gives a first impression and it says “This guy is serious, this guy know what he wants.” 1.Entrepreneur-al Insight
64. Me Talking of dressing, how do you network with different people? What’s your method of networking? [?] as an entrepreneur there is various online platforms like LinkedIn or you go to meeting, how do you network with different people?
65. Richard Two of the platforms that I use a lot are LinkedIn and Twitter. I use LinkedIn because obviously is a professional social network. sometimes I like add random people that could help me and I send them a message. I am on Twitter a lot because a lot of businesses are using Twitter for engagement, for advertising. Also go to a lot of meetings and meet ups. There’s a site online called meetup.com. 8. Networking and Communication
66. Me Okay.
67. Richard And they have meet ups for every single thing. They have psychology meet ups, medical meet ups, and they have so many business and technological meet ups. So I try and make sure I’m at every meet up or as many as possible because it just means that I can network with more people, get more emails, contact more people, I mean just more opportunity. 8. Networking and Communication
68. Me As you say, you’ve got LinkedIn, and you use various other Internet based platforms.
69. Richard Yeah.
70. Me Do you benefit from these things like supply? Like to benefit from supplies as you have your own air companies, [?] companies. Do these online platforms help you find supplies for your personal business?
71. Richard Supplies, yes definitely. I’d say like supplies and partners. 8. Networking and Communication
72. Me Okay. All right. And talking of demographic groups, do you tend to niche yourself to one group or are you open to a lot of people?
73. Richard I’m open to everyone. 8. Networking and Communication
74. Me Open to everyone.
75.  Yeah, I think to to succeed you have to be…I think it depends on what type of business you’re running, but I think that personally as an entrepreneur if you really want to go out and then get yourself known I think that the best thing to do is to open yourself up to as many groups as possible rather than just stay in a demographic location because then it just limits your potential. 8. Networking and Communication
76. Me Okay, now moving on to finance now, do you receive any external support from any thing [?]
77. Richard No, at the moment both businesses are a bit strapped so it’s basically everyone putting their personal finance in. I think maybe later on, if we want to grow on more we need that extra finance, we may go out to look for it. But I think for now we’re comfortable where we are.
78. Me Why do you see you’re comfortable?
79. Richard I don’t know. I just think that in terms of what I want to do with my businesses now, I think that we are where we are.
80. Me Where we are. Okay. Done, so and you’re looking to expand anytime soon, and you’re looking to reinvest in business?
81. Richard Definitely. I just think that sometimes like when you’re doing certain things in business, it’s just important to work, work, work, rather than going out there and seeking finance. 2.Capability
82. Me That’s a good skill because a lot of entrepreneurs that I’ve spoken to in the past, they tend to be greedy and just do everything straight away. But being content for the meantime is a very good trait. So I guess that your business is turning over [to an asset?].
83. Richard Sometimes business is like, I always say like a business is like a bike. Sometimes you ride, sometimes you fall. Sometimes you’re slow. Sometimes you’re fast. But, I think the aim is to always put yourself in a position where you can make money in other ways. For example, every single person that I work with on my team, has a skill. Someone might have graphic design. Someone might be a really good [?]. Someone might be a really good salesman. I think, if you ever need to boost up or run your business by yourself or you’re thinking of where to get finance, you can get it from yourself, and go out there and use your skills to make money through web design, through graphic design, through selling, through teaching. Whatever it is to build your business that you need to do, if you don’t want to seek external finance. 1.Entrepreneuri-al Insight

2. Capability

6. Creativity and

Innovation

84. Me I’m just going to do it. [Sorry?]. Are you looking to seek external – like from government, family and friends – in the future? Are you looking to–?
85. Richard In the future I’d definitely. I think–
86. Me Even from family and friends? From government?
87. Richard I think, in the future with the software we’re looking to get investment from, maybe external investors, or from the government. But we’re looking to get investment from people that actually understand the market, and aren’t just there for the profit. Because at the end of the day we are trying to solve problems, and we need people that will invest, that will understand that we need to solve problems. 8. Networking and Communication

7.Customer Oriented

5. Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility

88. Me As you said you’re customer orientated–
89. Richard Customer orientated, yeah. 7..Customer Oriented
90. Me –orientated as well, so– Yeah, that sounds all right, especially the software industry as well in the future, me personally, I believe is going to be beaming–
91. Richard Definitely.
92. Me –because the way technology is now. It’s just evolving, evolving.
93. Richard Of course.
94. Me All right, then I want to [?] your future [?]. What kind of risks are you facing at the moment or in the future?
95. Richard Risks?
96. Me Yeah.
97. Richard [?] number one risk is always the risk of failure. But I think you have to have the right mindset, always realise there there’s always a possibility even if you do fall, you have to get back up. I think that’s one of the main traits of entrepreneurs. Even if you look at entrepreneurs in the past, you always see that they failed in some way, or they fell in some way. Whether it’s Steve Jobs, he got kicked off Apple, Bill Gates dropped out. He had stock before that he failed. There’s always something before that they failed at that they succeeded. James Dyson made 5,000 prototypes before he had one successful prototype. If he had given up, he would have never gotten to– 1.Entrepreneuri-

al Insight

2. Courage to take Risks

9. Persistence

R Me Seen the future.
99. Richard Exactly. He would have never succeeded. I think that’s one of the tips, to be persistent and to never give up. 9. Persistence
100. Me Do you have any future plans?
101. Richard Yes. I think one of my aims in life is to help people that are disadvantaged, because growing up, for example, I went to Nigeria when I was about ten to 13. I went to school for three years. I saw a lot of people there that were disadvantaged. I think in the future I want to go back to those places, even go back to places where I grew up and really see how I can help them, whereas [building?] youth centres, building gyms, providing extra educational facilities for children. Like in Africa providing water, providing wells, whatever it might be that I can do to help. I really want to do. I want to go back to my roots and invest and really help– 4. Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility
102. Me Can give back to the community?
103. Richard Give back. Yeah exactly. 4. Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility
104. Me As you said, you got your software and hair company, don’t you feel expanding to these type of areas, is that in you mind?
105. Richard Definitely, Definitely. I think with the emergency of things like the Internet. I think the Internet has made that very, very possible to do so. Whereas like maybe 50 years ago to expand, you have to open a new store, now that you are online, you can simply market to another location, market to another demographic. I think the Internet makes that possible and that’s something I’d definitely thinking of going international. We want to continue to grow and we don’t want to ever [?] because that’s just becoming complacent. 10. Planning
106. Me I see. What do you plan for your business to be in the next five years, then?
107. Richard In the next five years, with the hair thing we want to become a major retailer and wholesaler in the UK and internationally. So selling different types of products, different types of hair extensions. And with the software, I think that we want to be able to disrupt the NHS and the private medical industry by providing software that allows patients and GPs and doctors to communicate [without?] actually seeing each other face to face. 10. Planning

11.Managing Innovations

108. Me So do you want to compete with Apple or Microsoft, or don’t you want to be a [?] no more?
109. Richard Honestly, I think it depends.
110. Me It depends?
111. Richard Yeah, I think I might say something now and then tomorrow think of something else. But we definitely want to grow and we definitely want to expand. 12.Goals
112. Me What about you as an entrepreneur? What do you plan as an entrepreneur to be in the next five years?
113. Richard In the next five years, probably a much better entrepreneur and a much skilled person than I am now. I want to learn many more things that will enable me to grow even more. You never know, I could be doing the same thing I’m doing now, or I could be running another business. But I think I definitely want to stay as an entrepreneur and stay solving problems that people and markets have. 12. Goals
114. Me [?] in the UK or are you looking to go international?
115. Richard Definitely looking to go international. 12. Goals
116. Me Within five years?
117. Richard Yes, definitely within five years.
118. Me And finally, what kind of advice would you give to potential entrepreneurs that are still coming up, still learning, from your experiences?
119. Richard I would say be assertive, accept rejection, and never give up. When I was being an entrepreneur a lot of the time I was passive and it meant that I couldn’t take advantage of opportunities, and I think that now I’ve learned to be a lot much more assertive. I think that with rejection, you should learn to handle rejection, because you’ll always get rejection, especially when you’re starting up. You could send 100 emails and get two back. But you have to learn to deal with that. You have to be so strong. And the last one is never give up, because you will experience hardship, will experience failure, but you have to get up, have to continue getting up, because at the end of the day that’s what makes entrepreneurs. If every single person never gave up, everyone would be super successful. But I think that’s what sets you apart, is the ability to keep going on. So I think that yeah, one of the pieces of advice I’d give is never give up. 1.Entrepreneuri-al Insight

9. Persistence

120. Me Never give up.
121. Richard Yeah.
122. Me That’s very inspiring, as me myself, I’m an entrepreneur myself, and I’m looking to expand internationally soon. What advice would you give me?
123. Richard I’d say learn the culture of the place you’re planning to expand to because I think that the culture is extremely important. For example, Walkers crisps could sell another variety, or it could be in a different form of brand, so I think one thing is to learn the culture, because the culture affects business, because effectively is the way of life. So I think it’s learn the culture, learn the respect, and just be you, just be you. 1.Entrepreneuri-al Insight
124. Me All right then. Thank you, Richard.
125. Richard No worries.
126. Me It’s a pleasure having you here to interview.
127. Richard You’re very welcome.
128. Me I wish you the best of luck in your business.
129. Richard Thank you, same to you.
130. Me And you as an entrepreneur.
131. Richard Thank you. I wish the same for you.
132. Me Thanks.

 

 

 

Part 2 – Relating Content of the Interview with Theory

Entrepreneurial Insight

What I gathered is that Richard had entrepreneurship capabilities since the very beginning and perhaps this is why he quit higher formal education but kept on educating himself by getting knowledge by observing the workings of his father’s business. As mentioned in Point 10. of the coded framework Richard has clearly mentioned that “my dad was an agent so I think I got a little experience from him, but he didn’t teach me the fundamental if that makes sense. I was sort of left to be free. So it was something that I found was basically taking the opportunity out of everything that I saw”. In point 6, He mentioned that he has even learned from his failures, “I think it was like a process of different things that led me to be an entrepreneur. I think; from secondary school I started on– I tried selling gold bar and penguin chocolate bars but I wasn’t successful. I learnt profit loss revenue so those were basic skills I was learning.”

In Point 83, he reflected, “I always say that a business is like a bike. Sometimes you ride, sometimes you fall. Sometimes you’re slow. Sometimes you’re fast. But, I think the aim is to always put yourself in a position where you can make money in other ways.”

Taking all the insightful observations of Richard into consideration; it can be concluded that his personality reflected the traits of an entrepreneurial leader who can successfully handle; the highs and lows of a career which is anything but smooth. Burn (2012) rightly pointed out that “The real driving force behind this entrepreneurial revolution are those ‘super-heroes’ called entrepreneurs who lead our gazelles. They have become the stuff of legends, increasingly held in high esteem and held up as role models to be emulated. They are often held out as embodying many ephemeral qualities – freedom of spirit, creativity, vision, zeal.” Richard seemed to be in possession of all this and hence can be considered an epitome of Corporate Entrepreneurship.

Capability

            Through Point 12, it is evident that capability matters; sometimes more than education in order to be successful in entrepreneurship, “In the first year I did multimedia technology and I dropped out, and then I did international business and then I dropped out because at that point in time I was really running my business so I didn’t see how it made sense.

He further mentioned in Point no. 83 that “I think the aim is to always put yourself in a position where you can make money in other ways. For example, every single person that I work with on my team, has a skill. Someone might have graphic design. Someone might be a really good salesman. I think, if you ever need to boost up or run your business by yourself or you’re thinking of where to get finance, you can get it from yourself, and go out there and use your skills to make money.” All his viewpoints speak a lot about capabilities that an entrepreneur should utilize or try to build upon in order to sustain. The theory of   Intrapreneurship can be applied here. As Burn (2012) described; “Intrapreneurship is concerned with individual employees and how they might be encouraged to act in an entrepreneurial way within a larger organization. It is part of how internal corporate venturing can take place.”

Courage of Risk Taking

In Point 33, Richard stated, “I think that when you do have a business you have to, in a sense, fail in order to appreciate life and then in order to learn from it and then succeed the second time.”In Point 97, he observed; “always realize that there are always a possibility even if you do fall, you have to get back up. I think that’s one of the main traits of entrepreneurs. Even if you look at entrepreneurs in the past, you always see that they failed in some way, or they fell in some way. Whether it’s Steve Jobs, he got kicked off Apple, Bill Gates dropped out. There’s always something before that they failed at that they succeeded. James Dyson made 5,000 prototypes before he had one successful prototype. If he had given up, he would have never gotten to—“As stated by Stone, 2014; “Being passionate about what you do is absolutely critical to the success of a venture and one should never shy away from risk taking”.

Support

As mentioned in point 39. “I have one or two mentors that I see, not regularly, but maybe every three or four months and you just meet them, you go out for lunch, and you tell them how you’re doing, and they give you advice. So I think that’s what I have, I should receive some advice from my dad because obviously my dad is also a small business owner, so I’ll go to my dad at times for advice, and I have friends that are very business-minded that can also challenge me to be a better person. “Quoting Harvard Business School Press Pocket Mentor (2012) “through interactive real world scenarios; entrepreneurs practice shaping interactions that maximize learning and lead to better informed decisions.” So we should try to inculcate every interaction as their knowledge bank. In Point 41, Richard further mentioned, “I feel like sometimes being an entrepreneur, a lot of the time you’re lonely and a lot of the time you’re alone with your thoughts, like what if this happens? what if I fail? I think that having that support and having that backbone is very important in order to succeed and even like we look at successful people today, there’s always a backbone. It might not be a woman, it could be like a team, or it could be that friend or mum or dad. I always feel like there’s a person or team behind them that enables them to achieve that goal.”

Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility

In Point 43. Richard mentioned; “We care for every single client. For example, now that we’re working with the NHS, when we speak to NHS trusts and private doctors we actually speak with them, have a phone call, have a chat and actually see how their needs correlate with what we can build. So I think that approach and how we aim to grow is much different from other businesses.” I think that this is an extremely valuable approach adopted by Richard’s company. By this they are not just projecting the ethical practice and corporate social responsibility but also in the words of Kuratko and Audretsch, 2009 are setting an example of “the identification and exploitation of opportunities by creating and sustaining competitive advantage” by being different by displaying a caring attitude.

Creativity and Innovation

While giving tips on what leads him to creativity and innovation in Point 45; he mentioned “I think one thing I do is that I read a lot and I think a lot. I feel like reading is extremely important because it gives you the knowledge. While I think thinking is also extremely important because it gives you the opportunity to actually think on your own.” In Point 47, he stressed, “–come out with something or visualize and actually strategize and I think that’s the way to breed innovation.”

All these observations points towards what has been felt by experts like  Ghoshal and Bartlett, (1997) in this context; “ firms need to adapt to an ever-changing environment if they are to survive, and to do so they need to adapt their structures and cultures so as to encourage entrepreneurial activity in individual employees.” Thus by allowing individual employees to adopt their own creativity towards the growth of the company they can actually intrapreneurship.

Managing Innovation

“Most ‘ordinary people’ find change threatening. Entrepreneurs welcome it because it creates opportunities that can be exploited and they often create it through innovation” (Burns, 2012). This entrepreneurial characteristics is evident in Richard as well, when he mentions in Point 107, “In the next five years, with the hair thing we want to become a major retailer and wholesaler in the UK and internationally. So selling different types of products, different types of hair extensions is in plans. And with the software, I think that we want to be able to disrupt the NHS and the private medical industry by providing software that allows patients and GPs and doctors to communicate; actually seeing each other face to face.”  In this context, Burns (2012) rightly observed, “Corporate entrepreneurship is a loose term used to describe entrepreneurial behavior in established, larger organizations. The objective of this is simple – to gain competitive advantage by encouraging innovation at all levels in the organization – corporate, divisional, business unit, functional or project team levels.”

Customer Orientation

Richard felt a lot about the welfare of his customers as evident in Point 57, “I think a lot of entrepreneurs when they start their businesses, all they think about is money, money, profit, profit. And I think what you have to understand is that if you meet the needs of your market, the money will always come in. So I think the aim as an entrepreneur is to be extremely customer focused. And when you are customer focused, the money will automatically come in because you’re satisfying the customers’ need and they’re paying you for that.”Richard is going on the right path. Dyche (2002) rightly mentioned, “Building good relations with customers is a business strategy that helps companies tighten their business practices across organizations while forging an ironclad connection with its customers.”

Persistence

In Point 97, Richard rightly observed, “if you look at entrepreneurs in the past, you always see that they failed in some way, or they fell in some way. Whether it’s Steve Jobs, he got kicked off Apple, Bill Gates dropped out. He had stock before that he failed. There’s always something before that they failed at that they succeeded. James Dyson made 5,000 prototypes before he had one successful prototype. If he had given up, he would have never gotten to-“

In point 119, he advised that “I would say be assertive, accept rejection, and never give up. When I was being an entrepreneur a lot of the time I was passive and it meant that I couldn’t take advantage of opportunities, and I think that now I’ve learned to be a lot much more assertive. I think that with rejection, you should learn to handle rejection, because you’ll always get rejection, especially when you’re starting up. You could send 100 emails and get two back. But you have to learn to deal with that. You have to be so strong. And the last one is never give up, because you will experience hardship, will experience failure, but you have to get up, have to continue getting up, because at the end of the day that’s what makes entrepreneurs. If every single person never gave up, everyone would be super successful. But I think that’s what sets you apart, is the ability to keep going on.” “Persistance is responsible for more than 90 percent of success. Persistence keeps you on course and eventually leads you to your goals” (Deitz, 2008).

Planning

Giving an idea about his future plans; in Point 105 he said, “I think the Internet has made that very, very possible to do so. Whereas like maybe 50 years ago to expand, you have to open a new store, now that you are online, you can simply market to another location, market to another demographic. I think the Internet makes that possible and that’s something I’d definitely thinking of going international. We want to continue to grow and we don’t want to give up ever because that’s just becoming complacent.”

In Point 107, he mentioned, “In the next five years, with the hair thing we want to become a major retailer and wholesaler in the UK and internationally. So selling different types of products, different types of hair extensions is in plans. And with the software, I think that we want to be able to disrupt the NHS and the private medical industry by providing software that allows patients and GPs and doctors to communicate; actually seeing each other face to face.”

In this context, it has been rightly observed by Jakhotia (2013) that Good Planning “acts as a comprehensive set of performance –based strategies by spelling out the complementary contradictory relationships amongst various functional strategies”

Goals

Richard was very clear about his goals. In Point 111, he mentioned, “we definitely want to grow and we definitely want to expand. In Point 113, added “In the next five years, I would probably be a much better entrepreneur and a much skilled person than I am now. I want to learn many more things that will enable me to grow even more. You never know, I could be doing the same thing I’m doing now, or I could be running another business. But I think I definitely want to stay as an entrepreneur and stay solving problems that people and markets have. Talking about future; he said in Point 115 “W e are definitely looking to go international.”  Zahra (1991) connected goal setting to corporate entrepreneurship by mentioning that corporate entrepreneurship consists of ‘activities aimed at creating new businesses in established companies’.

Conclusion

            I was able to relate to all the theories covered in the course – Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Entrepreneur, Intrapreneurship, Managing Innovations and Creativity and Innovation while coding the themes and analyzing the interview. Richard seemed to be a dedicated entrepreneur; always finding ways to improve and create competitive advantage. His vision and drive was influencing and it pointed towards the fact that without formal education in entrepreneurship; one can still succeed if his intentions are good for his company, partners, employees and people at large. In the words of Burns (2012), Entrepreneurship “is about institutionalizing a process of continuous strategizing, learning from customers, competitors and the environment. It is about remaining flexible, encouraging change and managing rapid growth.”However; whether it is practical learning or theoretical learning; entrepreneurship is a field which never fails to teach its practitioners important lessons in life and makes a person richer not only monetarily but also in terms of insights as it leads to a sea of technical and behavioral knowledge that a practitioner gets access to in the process of nurturing his business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part 3 – Report

Conducting an interview of Richard; a dynamic entrepreneur was a good experience. It gave me enough scope to understand his entrepreneurial style and provided me an opportunity to reflect upon my own entrepreneurial achievements and capabilities. An important reason of enjoying this whole process was that the person answering my questions was an articulate man and he was also focused towards the topic of our discussion. He was cooperative as well. These are in fact great qualities of a good professional who not only values his own work as it was evident from his words but also values the tasks of others as evident with the seriousness with which he treated the whole interview procedure. For the purpose of analysis different themes have been identified, which are as follows:

  • Entrepreneurial Insight
  • Capability
  • Courage of Risk Taking
  • Support
  • Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Networking and Communication
  • Customer Orientation
  • Persistence
  • Planning
  • Managing Innovations
  • Goals

Richard seemed to be a social and enterprising man and came across as a person who cared for welfare of others as much as he cared for his own company. He was humanistic and idealistic He seemed to love solving problems of others and build good relationships. He seemed to be persuasive and communicated in a tactful manner. It is important to leave an impact no matter even if it is in a small way (Margerison, 1995). Richard seemed to follow all this with great alacrity.

As an enterprising individual, he was ambitious, adventurous and self confident. He loved to be in the leadership role. He was an effective speaker and was assertive and self-confident. He appeared to be a good businessman as well as a good manager. As Ket De Vries (2004) mentioned, “Recognizing the minds are like parachutes – they function only when they are open! “With these impressive characteristics, Richard’s organizations will be the winners in tomorrow’s marketplace, able to deal with the continuous and discontinuous change that the new global economy demands. In order to survive in the global market it is important to accept the global trends. In order to accept the global trends it is extremely important to be open to all kinds of groups and indulge in all kinds of networking. Richard had mentioned that he never let’s go a chance where there is scope of meeting new people and increasing one’s social capital which might help in business in the long run.

Without any formal education, Richard had entered the field of entrepreneurship. It is evident that over the years he has had to make efforts to adapt to the ups and lows of the field and at the same time hold back to one’s values. There must have been situations when he must have been hurt, depressed, pessimistic; however, Richard concentrated on the positives of entrepreneurship which again is a very good quality of being a good leader as a good leader focuses on good things; shunning away the negative things.

A corporate leader is responsible for simply managing the tasks, rather indulged in motivating, encouraging and communicating to bring high level of productivity. “The classic definition of manager is one who gets done through other people. You may be planning, directing, controlling, hiring, delegating, assigning, organizing, motivating, disciplining, or doing any number of other things managers do on a daily basis. No matter what you do though, you are working toward a goal by helping others to do their work.” (Caroselli, 2000). Richard was a sum total of all these traits of a leader.

He appeared to be a well spoken person and displayed immense passion for his job. He seemed to be articulate in all the issues related to his job and came across as a dedicated worker and a good team player. Margerison rightly mentions that “success of managers would depend on how effective they are in gaining the co-operation of their staff to complete the task in hand.” (1993).

The job of a manager encompasses dealing with many publics of the organization like workers, partners, clients and public at large. This means that one should be good in communication skills. It seemed that Richard gets successful in dealing with people as he did not just speak with clarity but also spent a lot of time in listening.

No matter what one wants to achieve in life; an entrepreneur or an intrapreneur should be able to practice proper time management, self discipline, logical and analytical skills, persistent attitude towards one’s goals, enthusiasm about the task in hand, honesty and integrity. I think Richard possessed all these qualities. Some of his qualities that I personally liked are:

Listening – listening means not just hearing but understanding what one wants to say through both spoken words as well as non-verbal communication. Everyone wants a good listener.

Empathy – I could see appreciation and respect for his employees and partners and huge amount of concern for the clients.

Awareness – He seemed to be fully aware of all managerial traits, significance of moving ahead with time, handling a conflict and the importance of incorporating a holistic viewpoint and developing a better understanding of values and ethics.

Persuasion –He did not seem like the one who would dump his ideas on the team members; rather would apply the art of persuasion so that people react positively to the idea.

Conceptualization – He had developed the ability to see things from beyond the evident realities.

Foresight – Throughout the interview; he tried to build an understanding that there is good outcome of positive thinking.

Stewardship – He did not seem to promote control; rather was the one who believed in open communications.

Commitment to the growth of the people –It was evident that he is committed to the growth of the people. He gave ideas that should be practiced at an organizational level so that there is scope of growth of all.

Building community –He was promoting a feeling of oneness within the organization. This implies, keeping conflicts away and building team cohesiveness.

Richard seemed to have moulded his personality in such a way that he was able to build good human relations and to extend it beyond greetings and good manners. His attitude towards the people around him seemed to encompass respect for the individuals and value for the work environment. He had based his approach towards the relationship with the clients on an attitude to give; rather than just take.

After evaluating the whole interview; I find that feeling a deep sense of duty towards fellow human beings is not just a vehicle to reach the destination; rather an important way of transformation that would make lives more peaceful and serene. King & Crowther (2004) has rightly pointed out that “If the people feel a part of the community this will be exemplified by high commitment, sharing and trust.” The ability of the organization to realize its vision and accomplish its goal can be increased through servant leadership as this concept stresses on the fact of encompassing respect for the individual and value for the work environment. Compliance to ethics and corporate social responsibility was evident when Richard mentioned that he cared for every single customer and believed in producing natural hair care products and was planning to make life of patients easier by developing software that would enable GPs and Doctors to be directly accessible to their patients.

His company tries to get investment from people that actually understand the market, and aren’t just there for the profit because Richard is clear on the fact that they are trying to solve problems and not there to make money.

One important ethical challenge of every organizational leader is to create such an environment within the organization that the workforce is motivated to give better performance than what it has been giving so far. I think Richard is able to deal with these challenges by creating a very congenial work environment for everyone and treating the staff in the same way, as he would like to be treated by them. In the words of Rue and Byars, (1992) “Highly motivated employees can bring about substantial increases in performance and substantial decreases in problems such as absenteeism, turnover, tardiness, strikes and grievances.” He believes in a culture of team spirit. To achieve success in all the ethical challenges; it seemed that he sought lots of guidance through informal chats with his father who has experience in business and with a close group of friends. He cherishes this close circle of his which keeps him going. I would definitely seek help of my seniors especially my father. Their support and the unity of his team made him feel confident that things would always fall in place even during extremely challenging situations.

We cannot undermine the importance of the modern communication technology and the impact it has had in our society at large. The positive impacts have been fruitful especially for businesses. Due to technological advancements there have been many innovations in all sectors of our society. Embracing these innovations is the only option for the businesses if they want to tread ahead. One has to move ahead with the times and Richard seemed to be adapting to changes and managing innovation, network and systems pretty well. Perhaps this why; he was passionate about creating a system which prove beneficial to the most vulnerable sections of our society – The patients.

Richard had mentioned that to run a business; the main thing is of course finance, which one can arrange through loans etc. but then he was the follower of creativity and innovation and instead of being in debt he had tried to carve his path through following creative and innovative paths of fund creation like utilizing other skills. He also promoted his staff to started using their own skills to generate money. I think this is an extremely creative and innovative way of moving ahead with an unconventional outlook.

He had further stressed that he thinks in terms of expansion and in terms of growth by being different than others. Pointing towards the hair company; he said that he is aiming to actually bridge in to many of the company’s products such as natural hair, natural products, wigs when the competitors have just focused on virgin hair. In the software company he tries to be different in the way he deals with the clients. He believes in having intensive chats and actually see how their needs correlate with what his company can build. So I think that approach and how he aims to grow is much different from other businesses and this where lies his success as an entrepreneur.

Richard followed a professional growth strategy so that he is better equipped to reach his professional goal of business expansion. No matter how learned a man is learning is still a necessity for him as an individual regardless of his previously acquired knowledge, occupation, age, work or home environment and personal motivation. An entrepreneur of an organization needs to direct oneself to greater heights of professional success. Everyone loves to believe that one knows most of the things related to one’s subject or domain of work. However, one has to keep on acquiring fresh knowledge about things that are already known as day by day new approaches are being adopted for old problems. Indulging in lifelong learning implies that a staff would be in a more comfortable position in leading his team by using his personal style and situation.  Richard seemed to be treading immaculately on this path.

Every entrepreneurial firm has a distinct characteristic because of the nature of work of that firm, history of that firm, the objectives with which it was set up, types of services it provides, it’s set up in terms of size, infrastructure etc., types of projects it undertakes, the management style that is applied to get the common goal accomplished and the special characters and qualities that it has; by speaking to Richard it was clear that he heads an organization that is based on highest values and runs as per the thought process of an individual who believes in just one’s own benefit but benefit of all.

References

Burns, P. (2012) Corporate Entrepreneurship: Innovation and Strategy in Large    

Organizations. London: Palgrave Macmillan

Caroselli, M. (2000). Leadership Skills for Managers. USA: McGraw-Hill.

Deitz, J. (2008) The 3 Simple Secrets of Success After the Diploma: Integrity, Persistence and

           Discipline. Newyork: Universe Inc.

Dyche, J (2002) The CRM Handbook: A Business Guide to Customer Relationship Management.

Boston: Adisas Wesley.

Ghoshal, S. and Bartlett, C.A. (1997) The Individualized Corporation: A Fundamentally New

           Approach to Management. New York: Harper Business.

Harvard Business School Press Pocket Mentor (2012) Persuading People: Expert Solution to

            Everyday Challenges. New York: Harvard Business Press.

Heifetz, K.A., Kania, J.V & Kramer M.R (2004). Leading Boldly: Foundations can move post

traditional approaches to create social change through imaginative and even controversial

leadership,’ Stanford Social Innovation Review, , pp. 22-36.

Jakhotia, G.P. (2013) Strategic Planning, Execution and Measurement (SPEM): a Powerful Toll

           for CEO. Florida: CRC Press

Kuratko, D. and Audretsch, D. (2009) Strategic Entrepreneurship: Exploring Different

Perspectives of an Emerging Concept.  Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 33.

Ket De Vries, M.F.R 2004, ‘Organizations on the Couch: A Clinical Perspective on

Organizational Dynamics,’ European Management Journal, vol.22, no. 2, pp.183-200.

Margerison. C. J. (1993). Managing Effective Work Groups. UK: McGRAW-HILL Book

Company Limited.

Rue, L.W., Byars, L.L. (1992). Management Skills And Application. (6th ed.) USA:

IRWIN.

Stone, B. (2014) Things a Little Bird Told Me: Confessions of a Creative Mind. New York:

Grand Central Publishing

Zahra, S.A. (1991) Predictors and Financial Outcomes of Corporate Entrepreneurship: An

Exploratory Study.  Journal of Business Venturing, 6(4).

Appendix 1

Transcription of Interview

 

 

Transcription details:

Date: 01-Dec-2014
Input sound file: RichyyyInt

Transcription results:

ME 00:01 Recording on the 28th of November 2014, at 7:39. Can you please introduce yourself [?].
RICHARD 00:14 My name is Richard [?]. I’m a [?] entrepreneur. I run a hair company and I run a software company as well. Hair company is called [Fariha?] Hair and Beauty, and software company is called Community Software.
ME 00:27 All right. I’m going to ask you a few questions about how you as an entrepreneur and your experience on becoming an entrepreneur and sustaining your entrepreneur skills et cetera.
RICHARD 00:41 Definitely.
ME 00:42 I’m going to run through certain questions with you. Firstly, how did you become an entrepreneur? What made you become and entrepreneur?
RICHARD 00:51 I think it was like a process of different things that led to me being an entrepreneur. I think, from young I didn’t know I want ed to do, and then like in secondary school I started on– I tried to selling like gold bar and penguin chocolate bars but I wasn’t successful but what I learnt from that I learnt like profit loss revenue so those were basic skills I was learning. When I went to college I started building up so I started selling Blackberry cases, Blackberries because at that point in time Blackberry was what everyone was using. I started reselling like PRICHARDs PS3s for people that wanted to sell it and they have like a eBay Amazon account online and then–
ME 01:37 So basically you was more– you saw the opportunity in things? That what major the common entrepreneur–
RICHARD 01:42 Basically yeah.
ME 01:43 So could you say family, was your [?] there? What could you say or was is it just many opportunities?
RICHARD 01:50 I think it was opportunities. I feel my dad was– my dad is an [?] agent so I think I think I got a little experience from him, but I didn’t learn like– he didn’t teach me the fundamental if that makes sense. I was sort of left to be free. So it was something that I found was basically taking the opportunity out of everything that I saw.
ME 02:10 Talking of experience, do you have any pre existing experiences? Do you work? Are you in education? Did you have education? What previous experiences have you got?
RICHARD 02:20 I went to college, did my A levels, and I went to university twice. In the first year I did multimedia technology and I dropped out, and then I did international business and then I dropped out because at that point in time I was really running my business so I didn’t see how it made sense.
ME 02:39 So you couldn’t juggle both things at the same time?
RICHARD 02:41 Yeah, exactly.
ME 02:42 Do you feel that you dropping out was beneficial to your entrepreneurial career, or do you wish you stayed in?
RICHARD 02:48 Sometimes I wished  I stayed in because I’m a very academic person. I like a neeky geeky type of person. But at the same time I think in terms of time I think dropping out was the best decision I ever made because it freed up the Monday to Fridays that I had to go to uni for, and it allowed me to basically just go out there and be a full time entrepreneur. So it was definitely a good decision.
ME 03:10 So basically as an entrepreneur, you risked basically your education to run your business?
RICHARD 03:17 Yeah.
ME 03:18 Do you feel that for you being there, you had a big impact on your business?
RICHARD 03:24 You mean like as an individual?
ME 03:26 Yeah, as an individual.
RICHARD 03:27 Definitely, I think because one of the businesses that I run were a start-up company, so there’s only about three or four of us as a team that work on the director level. So it’s very important that each person is there. For example, someone might do business affairs. Someone might do graphic design. Someone might lead growth. Someone might lead sales. And I think that, strategically, it was very important as an individual for me to be involved in my business, to enable us to grow and move forward.
ME 03:55 So you drive your workforce, basically?
RICHARD 03:59 Basically, yeah.
ME 04:02 What type of entrepreneur would you describe as an egotistic leader, as a person where you want people to know you’re the manager or the CEO, or are you an entrepreneur where you let your work speak for itself?
RICHARD 04:18 I think I like to let my work speak for myself. I think I’m an entrepreneur that’s what always says– because there’s a lot of people that talk and say they’re going to do this, they’re going to do that, and this and that. I think the best thing is to put the work in and let your work show for you and then when you do that people automatically in a sense chase after you or be interested in what you’re doing, rather than just talking and talking and then nothing comes out. And also it’s more impressive to people when you don’t talk, but you just do something and you pop out with something big that no one really expected you to do.
ME 04:52 Okay. All right. And moving onto the next question, talking about your business. How was setting up your business? Did you have any difficulties with it? As you said, you dropped out of university. Was there any other difficulties when setting up your business?
RICHARD 05:06 I think on one of the main things was obviously finance, but I think that’s something that you learn to get as you go along. For example, there’s a lot of opportunities for loans and [?] out there, and because I had other things that I could do such as web design and a bit of programming, that enabled me to do freelance work on the side while running my business. It was much easier to finance my business. I think another thing was experience, like learning how to write contracts, do cash flows, understand the profit margins, and I think when you start to run a business those are things that you just learn.
ME 05:47 How would you say you went through it? How you encountered the problems or the experiences, difficulties.
RICHARD 05:53 I had first in terms of experiences, I just went head first.
ME 05:58 Don’t you think head first you could end up things even worse, or you did it strategically? Or how did you do it? You just went in?
RICHARD 06:06 I think the best thing as a young person was to go ahead first, because number one,  I had nothing to lose. I’ve not got a mortgage, I’ve not got kids. And I think that when you do have a business you have to, in a sense, fail in order to appreciate life and then in order to learn from it and then succeed the second time.
ME 06:25 Yes. I understand that. And you know your company, do you compete with any other companies? Like similar businesses doing what you doing and [?]?
RICHARD 06:36 With the hair, there’s quite a lot of competition, as well as with the software. But I think the main thing that in both that we’ve tried to do is to always differentiate ourselves and make sure that what we’re doing no one else is trying to do. So for example, with the software, we’re trying to build a virtual clinic for the NHS and that at the moment no one else is doing that. So I think that gives us an edge in the market.
ME 07:01 That [?] innovative technique.
RICHARD 07:03 Yeah. Yeah. I think innovation is very important into business because it sets you apart.
ME 07:09 And do you receive any support from anyone?
RICHARD 07:13 Mentorship. I receive mentors. I have one or two mentors that I see, not regularly, but maybe every three or four months and you just meet them, you go out for lunch, and you tell them how you’re doing, and they give you advice. So I think that’s what I have, I should receive some advice from my dad because obviously my dad is also a small business owner, so I’ll go to my dad at times for advice, and I have friends that are very business-minded that can also challenge me to be a better person.
ME 07:43 Okay. Do you find that support beneficial, everything beneficial?
RICHARD 07:48 Definitely, definitely. I feel like sometimes being an entrepreneur, a lot of the time you’re lonely and a lot of the time you’re alone with your thoughts, like what if this happens? what if I fail? I think that having that support and having that backbone is very important in order to succeed and even like we look at successful people today, there’s always a backbone. It might not be a woman, it could be like a team, or it could be that friend or mum or dad. I always feel like there’s a person or team behind them that enables them to achieve that goal.
ME 08:19 Okay. All right then. Has being an entrepreneur, some entrepreneurs has that skill of innovation as you said before. And you said you have a hair business and a software business. How is your idea, your businesses different from the rest?
RICHARD 08:37 I think with the hair business, I think initially we look the same, I think in terms of expansion and in terms of growth we’re very  different and we aim to be very different. With the hair company, based on what we’re doing is we [?] hair extensions but in the future we’re aiming to actually out there and to actually bridge in to many of our products such as natural hair, natural products, wigs. And that’s something I’ve compared that have been on the market for years haven’t learned. They’ve just focused on virgin hair. So I think that’s a way that we’re going to be different. And I think with the software what makes us different is the way that we deal with clients. We care for every single client. For example, now that we’re working with the NHS, when we speak to NHS trusts and private doctors we actually speak with them, have a phone call, have a chat and actually see how their needs correlate with what we can build. So I think that approach and how we aim to grow is much different from other businesses.
ME 09:38 What about you as a entrepreneur? I’m thinking singularly. How are you innovative?
RICHARD 09:48 I think one thing I do is that I read a lot and I think a lot. I think if you read a lot – reading is like– I don’t know. I feel like reading is extremely important because it gives you the knowledge. While I think thinking is also extremely important because it gives you the opportunity to actually think on your own when no one is [?] actually–
ME 10:06 Visualise, yeah.
RICHARD 10:06 –come out with something or visualise and actually strategise and I think that’s the way to breed innovation.
ME 10:13 Okay. So, I hate to ask about ideas, but do you have any more ideas that you’ve got underneath or you need to–?
RICHARD 10:20 [?].
ME 10:21 Do you think of ideas regularly?
RICHARD 10:23 I think of ideas regularly. Some I forget, some I remember, but I think there’s some recurring ideas that I have. One of them is in the future to invest in ethnic minority backgrounds, to invest in ethnic minorities or individuals from those kinds of backgrounds that have business ideas and need a push, and may not have the facilities or what they need in order to progress.
ME 10:52 Okay, that sounds good. Secondly, now this is about your entrepreneurial marketing techniques, how are you? Are you more customer focused , opportunity focus? Like me, for example, I’m a bit of both. If I see a customer I like to satisfy that customer by doing this or doing that.
RICHARD 11:10 Yeah.
ME 11:11 However, if I see an opportunity here I will still take advantage of that opportunity.
RICHARD 11:14 Yeah.
ME 11:15 So I always show customer focus as an entrepreneur.
RICHARD 11:18 I think it’s very extremely customer [oriented?] because I think a lot of entrepreneurs when they start their businesses, all they think about is money, money, profit, profit. And I think what you have to understand is that if you meet the needs of your market, the money will always come in. So I think the aim as an entrepreneur is to be extremely customer focused. And when you are customer focused, the money will automatically come in because you’re satisfying the customers’ need and they’re paying you for that.
ME 11:48 What about opportunity?
RICHARD 11:49 I think opportunity is when I can and I think– yeah, I think I just chase that when I can. But I think if I’m [?] opportunity, I’m chasing opportunity. When something else comes that’s not as big as the one I’m currently chasing, I think I’ll leave it. Because I think it’s about balancing and strategizing and looking for the right opportunities and the right chances to take.
ME 12:17 Sounds good. As a person of authority or entrepreneur, do people look at you differently? How do you brand yourself – your dress and your posture? How does people know that– how do people address you?
RICHARD 12:35 I don’t know. I think it’s different for different people. But a lot of the time, I just try and be me.
ME 12:44 I see you’re looking presentable, majority of the time I see you. Is that your type of technique to network with different people or the example you want to lead, or is it just that you in general are [I was going to?] because , because [I don’t know?].
RICHARD 13:05 I think is a cooperate culture thing. I think the more I go into cooperate environment, the more I realised how important it was to dress in a presentable way and I think that’s what sort of led me to start dressing smart because it gives a first impression and it says “This guy is serious, this guy know what he wants.”
ME 13:24 Talking of dressing, how do you network with different people? What’s your method of networking? [?] as an entrepreneur there is various online platforms like LinkedIn or you go to meeting, how do you network with different people?
RICHARD 13:44 Two of the platforms that I use a lot are LinkedIn and Twitter. I use LinkedIn because obviously is a professional social network. sometimes I like add random people that could help me and I send them a message. I am on Twitter a lot because a lot of businesses are using Twitter for engagement, for advertising. Also go to a lot of meetings and meet ups. There’s a site online called meetup.com.
ME 14:10 Okay.
RICHARD 14:10 And they have meet ups for every single thing. They have psychology meet ups, medical meet ups, and they have so many business and technological meet ups. So I try and make sure I’m at every meet up or as many as possible because it just means that I can network with more people, get more emails, contact more people, I mean just more opportunity.
ME 14:31 As you say, you’ve got LinkedIn, and you use various other Internet based platforms.
RICHARD 14:37 Yeah.
ME 14:38 Do you benefit from these things like supply? Like to benefit from supplies as you have your own air companies, [?] companies. Do these online platforms help you find supplies for your personal business?
RICHARD 14:51 Supplies, yes definitely. I’d say like supplies and partners.
ME 14:56 Okay. All right. And talking of demographic groups, do you tend to niche yourself to one group or are you open to a lot of people?
RICHARD 15:10 I’m open to everyone.
ME 15:12 Open to everyone.
RICHARD 15:12 Yeah, I think to to succeed you have to be– I think it depends on what type of business you’re running, but I think that personally as an entrepreneur if you really want to go out and then get yourself known I think that the best thing to do is to open yourself up to as many groups as possible rather than just stay in a demographic location because then it just limits your potential.
ME 15:33 Okay, now moving on to finance now, do you receive any external support from any thing [?]
RICHARD 15:43 No, at the moment both businesses are a bit strapped so it’s basically everyone putting their personal finance in. I think maybe later on, if we want to grow on more we need that extra finance, we may go out to look for it. But I think for now we’re comfortable where we are.
ME 15:59 Why do you see you’re comfortable?
RICHARD 16:01 I don’t know. I just think that in terms of what I want to do with my businesses now, I think that we are where we are.
ME 16:14 Where we are. Okay. Done, so and you’re looking to expand anytime soon, and you’re looking to reinvest in business?
RICHARD 16:26 Definitely. I just think that sometimes like when you’re doing certain things in business, it’s just important to work, work, work, rather than going out there and seeking finance.
ME 16:37 That’s a good skill because a lot of entrepreneurs that I’ve spoken to in the past, they tend to be greedy and just do everything straight away. But being content for the meantime is a very good trait. So I guess that your business is turning over [to an asset?].
RICHARD 16:57 Sometimes business is like, I always say like a business is like a bike. Sometimes you ride, sometimes you fall. Sometimes you’re slow. Sometimes you’re fast. But, I think the aim is to always put yourself in a position where you can make money in other ways. For example, every single person that I work with on my team, has a skill. Someone might have graphic design. Someone might be a really good [?]. Someone might be a really good salesman. I think, if you ever need to boost up or run your business by yourself or you’re thinking of where to get finance, you can get it from yourself, and go out there and use your skills to make money through web design, through graphic design, through selling, through teaching. Whatever it is to build your business that you need to do, if you don’t want to seek external finance.
ME 17:44 I’m just going to do it. [Sorry?]. Are you looking to seek external – like from government, family and friends – in the future? Are you looking to–?
RICHARD 17:53 In the future I’d definitely. I think–
ME 17:56 Even from family and friends? From government?
RICHARD 17:58 I think, in the future with the software we’re looking to get investment from, maybe external investors, or from the government. But we’re looking to get investment from people that actually understand the market, and aren’t just there for the profit. Because at the end of the day we are trying to solve problems, and we need people that will invest, that will understand that we need to solve problems.
ME 18:19 As you said you’re customer orientated–
RICHARD 18:21 Customer orientated, yeah.
ME 18:22 –orientated as well, so– Yeah, that sounds all right, especially the software industry as well in the future, me personally, I believe is going to be beaming–
RICHARD 18:31 Definitely.
ME 18:32 –because the way technology is now. It’s just evolving, evolving.
RICHARD 18:36 Of course.
ME 18:37 All right, then I want to [?] your future [?]. What kind of risks are you facing at the moment or in the future?
RICHARD 18:46 Risks?
ME 18:46 Yeah.
RICHARD 18:47 [?] number one risk is always the risk of failure. But I think you have to have the right mindset, always realise there there’s always a possibility even if you do fall, you have to get back up. I think that’s one of the main traits of entrepreneurs. Even if you look at entrepreneurs in the past, you always see that they failed in some way, or they fell in some way. Whether it’s Steve Jobs, he got kicked off Apple, Bill Gates dropped out. He had stock before that he failed. There’s always something before that they failed at that they succeeded. James Dyson made 5,000 prototypes before he had one successful prototype. If he had given up, he would have never gotten to–
ME 19:30 Seen the future.
RICHARD 19:31 Exactly. He would have never succeeded. I think that’s one of the tips, to be persistent and to never give up.
ME 19:39 Do you have any future plans?
RICHARD 19:43 Yes. I think one of my aims in life is to help people that are disadvantaged, because growing up, for example, I went to Nigeria when I was about ten to 13. I went to school for three years. I saw a lot of people there that were disadvantaged. I think in the future I want to go back to those places, even go back to places where I grew up and really see how I can help them, whereas [building?] youth centres, building gyms, providing extra educational facilities for children. Like in Africa providing water, providing wells, whatever it might be that I can do to help. I really want to do. I want to go back to my roots and invest and really help–
ME 20:23 Can give back to the community?
RICHARD 20:24 Give back. Yeah exactly.
ME 20:26 As you said, you got your software and hair company, don’t you feel expanding to these type of areas, is that in you mind?
RICHARD 20:36 Definitely, Definitely. I think with the emergency of things like the Internet. I think the Internet has made that very, very possible to do so. Whereas like maybe 50 years ago to expand, you have to open a new store, now that you are online, you can simply market to another location, market to another demographic. I think the Internet makes that possible and that’s something I’d definitely thinking of going international. We want to continue to grow and we don’t want to ever [?] because that’s just becoming complacent.
ME 21:12 I see. What do you plan for your business to be in the next five years, then?
RICHARD 21:17 In the next five years, with the hair thing we want to become a major retailer and wholesaler in the UK and internationally. So selling different types of products, different types of hair extensions. And with the software, I think that we want to be able to disrupt the NHS and the private medical industry by providing software that allows patients and GPs and doctors to communicate [without?] actually seeing each other face to face.
ME 21:53 So do you want to compete with Apple or Microsoft, or don’t you want to be a [?] no more?
RICHARD 22:03 Honestly, I think it depends.
ME 22:04 It depends?
RICHARD 22:04 Yeah, I think I might say something now and then tomorrow think of something else. But we definitely want to grow and we definitely want to expand.
ME 22:15 What about you as an entrepreneur? What do you plan as an entrepreneur to be in the next five years?
RICHARD 22:23 In the next five years, probably a much better entrepreneur and a much skilled person than I am now. I want to learn many more things that will enable me to grow even more. You never know, I could be doing the same thing I’m doing now, or I could be running another business. But I think I definitely want to stay as an entrepreneur and stay solving problems that people and markets have.
ME 22:50 [?] in the UK or are you looking to go international?
RICHARD 22:54 Definitely looking to go international.
ME 22:56 Within five years?
RICHARD 22:56 Yes, definitely within five years.
ME 22:59 And finally, what kind of advice would you give to potential entrepreneurs that are still coming up, still learning, from your experiences?
RICHARD 23:16 I would say be assertive, accept rejection, and never give up. When I was being an entrepreneur a lot of the time I was passive and it meant that I couldn’t take advantage of opportunities, and I think that now I’ve learned to be a lot much more assertive. I think that with rejection, you should learn to handle rejection, because you’ll always get rejection, especially when you’re starting up. You could send 100 emails and get two back. But you have to learn to deal with that. You have to be so strong. And the last one is never give up, because you will experience hardship, will experience failure, but you have to get up, have to continue getting up, because at the end of the day that’s what makes entrepreneurs. If every single person never gave up, everyone would be super successful. But I think that’s what sets you apart, is the ability to keep going on. So I think that yeah, one of the pieces of advice I’d give is never give up.
ME 24:15 Never give up.
RICHARD 24:16 Yeah.
ME 24:17 That’s very inspiring, as me myself, I’m an entrepreneur myself, and I’m looking to expand internationally soon. What advice would you give me?
RICHARD 24:35 I’d say learn the culture of the place you’re planning to expand to because I think that the culture is extremely important. For example, Walkers crisps could sell another variety, or it could be in a different form of brand, so I think one thing is to learn the culture, because the culture affects business, because effectiveley is the way of life. So I think it’s learn the culture, learn the respect, and just be you, just be you.
ME 25:05 All right then. Thank you, Richard.
RICHARD 25:06 No worries.
ME 25:07 It’s a pleasure having you here to interview.
RICHARD 25:09 You’re very welcome.
ME 25:10 I wish you the best of luck in your business.
RICHARD 25:12 Thank you, same to you.
ME 25:13 And you as an entrepreneur.
RICHARD 25:14 Thank you. I wish the same for you.
ME 25:16 Thanks.

 

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