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Entrepreneur and Heroic Stories

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

I bet that all of us have known the stories of Hercules or Odysseus. And I have bet again that all of you known about Luke Skywalker in Starwars, Frodo in The Lord of The Rings, or Harry Potter. Those stories set on different theme and time. While Hercules and Odysseus represent “old” heroic stories, Luke Skywalker or Frodo, or Harry Potter is latest heroes stories. They are all different, but yet there’s similarity among all of heroic stories, where in Joseph Campbell’s terminology called “ Hero’s Journey”

According Joseph Campbell, Hero’s Journey consist of 6 important stage where heroes must passed. Those stages are: Innocence, The call, Initiation, Allies, Breakthrough, and Celebration. All of heroes stories will passed those six stages; started when heroes still as common person (Innocence) and then they got strong hunch to solve big problems (The call). Those call brings the heroes to start the adventure where they have to pass so many test to undergo (Initiation). Usually they will get favour from their friends (Allies) to pass the test. When heroes can pass the test, they get breakthrough and finally he got success (Celebration).

Those hero’s journey seems like only happen in the fiction stories. But truly not !! Since we are born through we are getting old and old, all of us will pass those six stages. Some may argue it, but it just matter of perspective wheter we realize or not that we are passing those stage. And so with entrepreneur’s journey ! A successful businessmen will passed through all that hero’s journey. An entrepreneurship is a long way road, a process which usually takes a time following hero’s journey.

Starting as common person, we’re just an employee, work for company (innocence). Suddenly we fell that we need more result or money or anything that lead us to think of doing business (The calling). Entrepreneurship is growing inside us. We start to do the best, work harder and harder to run our business. But sometime it’s not like what we imagine before because in fact, so many failures we got in starting our business ( Initiation). Then we try to expand networking by finding partners or friends to support our business, to make our business run well (Allies). With more colleagues, we get more power so that we can handle many obstacles ( Breakthrough). By handling obstacles we reach success ( Celebration).

Journey to pass those 6 stages definitely take a time and mostly a very long time. Many peoples are impatient and rush to get successfulness. But that’s impossible! You must undergo step by step carefully and cheerfully because each of steps will offering you a prize. Innocence stage give us a time for self reflection. The call will motivating us to work harder. Initiation will make us mature and growth. And this is the hardest stage where usually full with fears and pain. This stage where we fell failures. But don’t give up because failures make us more stronger, more mature, and more understand about what we are doing. Allies will support us to keep fighting and give us a wider perspective toward the problems we faced. Breakthrough will bring us to the new experience and a new sensation where we never felt before. And finally, Celebration will give us satisfaction, tears of joys.

So, when you heroic movies of those fiction stories, you might think that those stories not only happen in a movies, but rather it happen too in us for real. All entrepreneur and innovator will always pass these hero’s journey before they become success. Nothing is easy, but process will make us understand how to become a successman.


Of Innovation : Monitoring company's survival

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Almost every month we can see a new product is launched to the market. Customers have more choices through many kind of products flow to the market. Each company launch their new product where it is a result of innovation of each company. Innovation perhaps the main factors to make existence of the companies, keep their loyal customers or expand their potential buyers.

Good companies should care of innovations and usually have R&D division where innovation will come from. Innovation itself is not an easy effort and sometime it took a time or even wasting time process. Many people believe that innovations will costly, spend a lot of money. But the real question is that wheter should it cost million dollars? Should it costly?. Not really! Sometimes it does need a big budget but sometimes it doesn’t have to. It’s only matter of different point of views.

Technologically innovation based, perhaps cost a lot of budget. Some technology leaders,usually big companies like IBM, Samsung, Sony, Nokia, Novartis spends million dollars in order to have stayed at the cutting edge of dynamics industries. They boost R&D labs with full facilities at the best universities in the world. Those big companies headquarters is countries with myriad institutions that support innovations, liquid financial markets, venture capitalist to fund big bets on technology, research universities with many PhD, and clear legal frameworks that protects intellectual property.

In developing countries, usually lack of this advantages. But, does it mean that there will be no innovation in such developing countries? Surely not. Innovation in developing countries face serious challenge including political stability,volatile exchange rates, underdevelop physical infrastructure. Some condition in developing countries in fact have characteristics of :

- lack of solid technology and world class research universities

- customers with low disposable incomes, low GDP

- low budget for innovation

Then how to innovate in such conditions like that? Innovate from other of their business structure would be the answer. It means that they can innovate from other perspective such as from manufacturing, logistics, marketing, and customer services. A distinct approach of innovation where we can strategically exploit and deep knowledge of customers mindset, innovate “around” technology (rather than through technology)

Some companies from developing countries have proved that they can do it. Innovation comes from two varieties that are technology push and customers pull. Technology push means that innovation by giving new products based on cutting edge research while customer pull based means that we have to finds ways to solve customers needed without relying on novel science.

China’s company named Haier discovered new innovation by visiting their rural customers where they have to used washing machines not only to wash clothes but also for cleaning vegetables. With some modification of their washing machines, Haier can produce washing machine which can be used both for clothes and vegetables. As a result, Haier become the market leader in China rural areas.

CEMEX ( Cementos Mexicanos), the mexican cement giant company solve the challenge of delivering ready-mix concrete where contractors in Mexico usually change their orders at the last minutes. CEMEX look deeper towards this problems and found that it took 3 hours between the time when a change order was received and when the order could be delivered. Decreasing turnaround time will be the solutions for the problem. Therefore, CEMEX equipped most of it’s concrete mixing trucks with GPS locator, making easier arrangement to deliver customers orders within only 20 minutes.

Natura, a leading Brazillian cosmetics company focused on serving distinctive needs of multi ethnics brazillian populations. Realizing that Natura will not be able to compete directly with Multinational companies for technology-based innovation, they search for something else by knowing whats the customers mindsets. While big companies like Lancome launch 3 differents product for wrinkles solutions for women over thirty, Natura simplified it by produces Chronos, single products for the same purpose. Natura itself has 200.000 direct sales consultants where they can easily get customers feedback so that company can gain insight of their customers.

Another Natura’s daring ideas was it’s mother-baby products line which launched in 1993. research showed that Johnson&Johnson has 90% share of this martkets and had an unassainable lock in this market. Natura decide to enter this market by linking their mother-baby products with popular technique of Brazillian for strenghtening bonds between mother and their infants which called Santala. Brazillian can forge stronger relationship with their mother and their infants by gently massaging them during bathing while applying Natura’s creams and lotion. Natura’s mother-baby product line provides instructions a Santala massage and outlines it’s benefits.

Based on example above, it is obviously clear that companies anywhere in the world can do the same to win competition through innovation and creativities. Knowing the customers mindset is the key for innovations.


Entrepreneurship and it’s key success

Entrepreneurial is a continuity effort of achieving success. Not an easy process and not everyone can undergo that kind of process. It involve a mindset and a process of gathering some evidence to convince individual and potential buyer to act and react,exploiting a breakthrough and overcoming setbacks. Entrepreneur is a person who have futuristic perspective of who are their ideal customers and what kind of product they need to deliver. And then,they will work back from that point in the future to the present,picking the customers who will buy and the subset of that ultimate product that they can actually build.

Mostly, the problem lies in the beginning, get started to enter the market. So many entrepreneur find difficulties in this level. So, how to overcome it?

As stated before that entrepreneurial is a process. It is an art of understanding how you get from ‘Today’ to the mainstream market of “Tomorrow” because there are no product perfectly at the start. Process will make them to become experience. And experience will give deeper knowledge of the world they are going after,including good picking potential consumers and which market can be successfully entered.

Experience will make someone gets a sense that the “future” is going to be moving in particular way, understanding how technology,customers,money, and marketplace dynamics will come together. Basically, there are only two factors to be considered,that are product and customers.

Product usually includes some kinds of attributes such as feature/advantage/benefits; while customers usually refers to their necessity. So,they key success will lies on how to accelerate those two factors. To summarize, successfullness of entrepreneurial is about elegant combination of “know what” , “know-how” and “know-who”.

A perfect example is entrepreneur in New Zealand named Jeremy Moon who build a company called Icebreaker. He tried to produce underwear from a wool while everyone knows that wool underwear is terrible,itchy,smell bads,and gets oily. Of his starts up capital $200.000,half is used for planning or create “blue prints” for what the brands needs to look alike someday in order to exploit this advantage in natural filter. He thinks “backwards” to identify what he can do to get started building a global brands.

He understands what outdoor athletic people or design- concious people might want. He understands that merino sheep has long and fine wool where usually used to make tie and suits. And again, he knows that technology can help him to create a fine and comfort wool underwear.

So, the key lesson for entrepreneurial is have enough awareness of alternative products as a result of technology,and of customers needs that come from pressures in the market place,to see where opportunity will emerge.


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