The Entrepreneur I Most Admire
An entrepreneur can be described as someone who manages and organizes a business enterprise, taking the risk for the purpose of achieving profit. An entrepreneur identifies an opportunity, creates a plan, commences a business, manages the business, and gets the profit (U.S Small Business Administration 2012). Most entrepreneurs have common skills and characteristics. However, there is a wide range of individual features among the entrepreneurs that differentiate them (Gartner 1989). Some of the characteristics that are found in almost every entrepreneur include creativity, self-reliance, an ability to seek information, optimistic decision making, etc.; they are driven by achievement and independence and are opportunity focused.
In terms of creativity, most of the entrepreneurs find innovative ways to solve problems. Self-confidence is also a driving force to their capability of handling business oriented issues. Their motto is “if I think I can, I can”. Entrepreneurs are required to acquire skills for their businesses to succeed or they can hire people with needed skills to work for them. Some of the important skills which enable entrepreneurs to succeed in their work include planning skills, marketing skills, basic management skills, interpersonal skills, team building skills, leadership skills, and personal effectiveness. The main purpose of this paper is to analyse the entrepreneur I most admire, who is Steve Jobs. To achieve this purpose, the paper will give a brief profile of the entrepreneur and explain why I have chosen him. This paper will also explain why he is classified as an entrepreneur.
Steve Jobs Profile
The entrepreneur I admire most is Steve Jobs. He was born in 1955 and died last year (2011). He was a co-founder, chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Apple Inc., which is one of the most successful technology companies. Jobs’ impact on the technology industry, pop culture, advertising, and entertainment was immense, and he left behind an empire that has changed the way we all work and live. The Apple Inc. was started by three people, namely Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, and Mike Markkula. They started the company in 1970s, and they were able to design and market the Apple II series of computers. This was the first successful commercial personal computer. Apple II series of computers accelerated the innovation of Apple Lisa in the year 1983, which was the first computer to use a mouse-driven graphical user interface (GUI). In 1984, Apple Inc. launched Apple Macintosh, and with it, the Apple Company began to grow.
Steve Jobs left the company in 1985 after a long fight with the Apple board, but this move did not stop him as he founded another technology company by the name of NeXT that specialized in business and higher education. NeXT produced the NeXT computer which was not successful commercially, but assisted with future work in magneto-optical devices, postscript, and object-oriented programming. In 1986, he developed an interest in a small department of Lucasfilm Ltd. He acquired the Pixar Company and focused on generating computer graphics for animated movies. The achievement of the Pixar Company demonstrated the exceptional skills of Jobs in movie making those days. In 1995, Pixar produced their first blockbuster film by the title Toy Story. The release of this film was a breakthrough for this company. Steve was credited as the executive producer of Toy Story.
A year after the release of Toy Story, Apple Inc. acquired NeXT Company that was owned by Jobs, and he was reinstated to his leadership role. From 1997 to 2000, he was the interim CEO as well as from the year 2000 until August 2011 when he resigned. When Steve came back to Apple in 1996, the company was still having a competitive advantage over other computer companies. Windows-based personal computers (PCs) were owned by the majority of consumers, with highly-priced Apple computers chiefly being used by the creative industries such as motion pictures, design, and advertising. Nonetheless, this trend changed when iPod was invented in the year 2001. From nowhere, everyone suddenly started using Apple products. The capability of iPod to digitally store a lot of songs was mind-blowing as iPod was very small as compared to other devices such as CD player and Walkman. Steve Jobs spearheaded a product/device that in a literal sense changed the way music was shared and played.
Steve Jobs and his friend Steve Wozniak are credited with bringing about the radical change in the computer industry for altering the technology and making electronic devices intuitive, cheaper, smaller, and accessible to a great number of consumers. Apple has established many devices in the market, including iPod, the leading MP3 player (Wikinvest 2012). The company has continued to modify each device to enhance the functional abilities leading to the invention of new models. For example, the iPod touch model has PDA applications, WiFi, larger display, and QWERTY keyboard as well as the same features as the original iPods (Wikinvest 2012). This evolution of devices results in enhancement of the products. IPad is a hybrid of iPod and Apple’s Mac product, and its introduction to the market promotes Apple's popularity.
The other current trend is compatibility of iTunes and iPods. iTunes music stores are leading in music sales worldwide. Its compatibility with the iPod has greatly strengthened iPods’ sales, though consumers are experiencing high switching costs. Apple does not sell protected audio formats after DRM requirements have been dropped off by the music labels.
The emergence of other generic PC manufacturers such as India and China is posing a minimal threat to Apple. However, this is a major threat to Apple's competitors, indicating that Apple is facing less competition in the field. Due to the current trends facing the field, there will be more development of other sophisticated products in the future. This will involve a complex modification of Apple's products to counter the competition and meet the new emerging user requirements (Wikinvest 2012).
Due to the stiff competition in the field, Apple has to come up with new products. This may include flash-based PMPs and HDD iPods. This will ease the competition arising due to the popularity of the devices and also due to their unexploited market. Image quality of the Apple TV should be considered to be able to compete with other TV companies. The company will also work on their R&D budgets so as to successfully compete with other established companies like Nokia, Sony, Samsung, and Motorola.
I have chosen Steve Jobs as my subject because of a number of reasons. One of the major reasons is that he followed his passion. After six months in Reed College, he decided to quit and follow his passion. According to Cringely (2004), Steve Jobs followed in the footsteps of his father who had introduced him to electronics at an early age. Steve developed a great passion in this field, and he was willing to pursue his interest. Very few people can do what he did as a lot of people believe that education is the key to everything. Another reason why I chose Steve Jobs is that he was able to mingle with the right people who helped him acquire the required entrepreneurial skills. For instance, he approached Steve Wozniak, who was more experienced in computer production than him. With the help of the more experienced Steve, they were able to generate their computer with new features. This indicates that Jobs possessed interpersonal skills that helped him to prosper in electronics field through maintaining crucial relationships.
Another reason why I chose is that he was opportunity focused. He was always able to identify an opportunity as well as to find ways to implement it. For instance, when he was sent away from Apple Inc., he was able to identify a market gap in the field of the film industry when he acquired Pixar Company. It was an opportunity for him to fill the market gap through the production of animation movies. Apple Inc. recognized his ability to identify opportunities and reinstated him to his earlier position. His comeback revolutionized the field of computers as he was able to identify that minimizing the size of electronics will be a competitive advantage over other electronic firms. This led to the invention of the iPod, which was the killer in the entertainment industry as many people preferred the small-sized device as compared to big CD players and Walkman. That is why I chose him as he never wasted any opportunity that presented itself.
Why Steve Jobs is classified as an Entrepreneur
There are several factors that may contribute to an entrepreneur’s success, such as his/her personality traits, the environments he/she has been exposed to as well as his/her previous work experience (Mind Tools Ltd 2010). The most important quality that defines the success of any entrepreneurial activity is the entrepreneur’s commitment to his/her initiative. Entrepreneurs should also be able to come up with unique solutions to the challenges they encounter such as inadequate capital, obtaining market for their products and creating a team that will steer the business to success. Steve Jobs is among the entrepreneurs who managed to commit themselves to their initiatives. Thus, everything he initiated was more likely to succeed than fail, making him one of the best entrepreneurs who can be emulated by others.
Poor management of any available resources can easily lead to the collapse of the start-up. Usually, the first few years of business are very unpredictable for new ventures and, therefore, present a lot of unforeseen challenges. Therefore, entrepreneurs should be able to develop solutions for the challenges created by this unpredictability. Furthermore, successful entrepreneurs should be people who are always prepared to take risks, owing to the fact that their ventures are completely new in the market and due to the uncertainty that characterizes many new businesses in their maiden years. Thus, the entrepreneur’s abilities to take risks and handle uncertainty have a great effect on the running of a business (Mind Tools Ltd 2010). Steve Jobs applied good management skills as he was able to overtake IBM, which was the dominant company in the field of computers by then.
Steve Jobs Strategy
Steve Jobs achieved greatness due to his technological innovations. He was able to come up with an idea which can lead to changes in different sectors. This can be achieved if one has great determination, skills, and confidence. Proper management skills and creativity are vital to ensure the continuity of the idea and other innovations (Williams 2012). One also requires good relations and connections with partners who are able to help in the implementation of the idea.
Another strategy that was applied by Steve is using his critical thinking skill to come up with new ideas. Creative thinking is essential in coming up with a new idea or a product. This is derived from imaginative thinking. To be able to come up with a new idea, one should recognize the situation which he/she is interested in. One should plan and carry out analysis of the problem to be able to understand it. This also enables one to improvise on how to handle the situation. It is also important to work out and find possible solutions to the existing problem and perform some tests on the idea to verify if it can be implemented. It is also necessary to adjust the idea to be able to match with the product requirements. One should also be committed to accepting the form of creation and implementing of the new idea to come up with the product (Williams 2012).
Steve produced a number of innovative products at Apple Inc. that ranked high in the technology industry. He believed that market research and focus groups are just the ways of killing innovation (Cringely 2004). Therefore, he would introduce new products in the market without carrying out any market research. For instance, he introduced iPad without carrying out the market research and his innovation never failed him; and by March 2011, more than 15 million iPads were already in the market. According to Steve, most customers are not aware of what they want, and as an innovator, one should never wait for them to tell you what they want. He released several popular products of which potential customers were not aware and which they did not need until they bought them (Cringely 2004).
This module has helped me understand entrepreneurship in depth. I have learned the common characteristics of entrepreneurs and the role of entrepreneurs in a trading environment.
Entrepreneurs should possess the ability to adapt and respond to changes in their internal and external environments, and this will benefit their business firms as well as influencing their growth (Njanja & Pellisier 2011). Global markets are among the opportunities created by the environment, which have been availed by crucial technological advancements in communication and transport. The challenges associated with access to global markets include adapting to different political ideologies and cultures in different environments. Therefore, entrepreneurs have to prepare for the uncertainties in different environments by identifying competent teams who clearly understand the organization’s targets and goals (Njanja & Pellisier 2011). Environmental factors that affect businesses include cultural practices, social, economic, legal systems, politics, and technology.
Technology has a number of advantages to an organization such as improving the speed at which good are produced or services are offered, increasing an organization’s efficiency, and influencing the quality of goods and services. Technology has solved a number of problems as well as overcoming barriers in businesses. It has made it possible to realize world markets for a number of businesses. Technology has allowed industries to exhaustively use their raw materials while reducing environmental negative impacts (Njanja & Pellisier 2011). It also creates competitive advantage, particularly in highly enterprising business environments. Many businesses are always geared to achieving better technology, thus necessitating the need for an entrepreneur to invest in advanced technologies leading to a decrease in operation costs. New technologies has also improved track of inventory and record keeping. This has allowed businesses recognize their weaknesses and rectify them so that transactions or processes occur faster (Berger 2005). In spite of several advantages for businesses upon adoption of various technologies, a number of entrepreneurs keep shying away from the same. The reason behind this is that many enterprises attend to smaller bunch of consumers who are very loyal, their local setting does not require any connectivity, while a remarkable number of entrepreneurs are leery of an invasion or insecurity of their privacy. Technological advancements have obviously created opportunities for growth of enterprises, but it is also connected with some risks and uncertainties. Hence, for an organization to fully enjoy the advantages connected with adoption of any technology, the entrepreneur should be ready to deal with challenges that may develop as a result of this technology.
Another environmental factor that affects businesses is regulation and determines how government or other bodies controls businesses (Baldwin 1994). Through regulation, governments can prohibit or legalize some issues, and any business that tries to go against the regulation may face a legal action (Hampton 2005). Some regulations that are critical for entrepreneurs are related to health and safety, employment, financial reporting, taxation, property rights, among others. Some regulations are usually important to unique businesses. Regulatory actions imposed on businesses have an impact on the number of decisions that an entrepreneur can take and the available resources. Njanja and Pellisier (2011) presented an argument in their study that state regulations impact business ventures negatively because they lead to increased business costs subject to earlier business practices. Regulations discourage expansion and growth of businesses despite the fact that there are opportunities. In some cases, entrepreneurs end up spending a lot of money resolving conflicts for not conforming with the set regulations, and in other cases business enterprises may be closed down (Njanja & Pellisier 2011). This present uncertainty to businesses as it is not possible to know when implementation of any regulations could take place. This could keep off many individuals from implementing their business ideas, but entrepreneurs’ capability to deal with uncertainties helps them to take the risk and grow their entrepreneurial ideas and they can handle challenges as they come.
Poor infrastructure is another major problem that can deter businesses start-up or their expansion regardless of there being identified opportunities. Lack of access to roads and other essentials such as sewage, telecommunication, water, and power preclude the development of businesses (Njanja & Pelissier 2010). Most of the entrepreneurs prefer to wait until these conditions are convenient before they start their businesses. An entrepreneur who is able to deal with such uncertainties and can handle risks associated with them will proceed and establish their business enterprises hoping that his or her presence will influence faster development of infrastructure. Industrial sectors in the developing countries are facing such cases, where they are taking advantage of existing opportunities while influencing infrastructural development as a result of their presence, and thus their operating environments are improved (Njanja & Pelissier 2010).
There are internal factors that may impact the operating environment of business enterprises. A good example of such factors is the level of expertise among staff. Business practices are evolving and improving as a result of research and technological advancement. This presents the need to train employees so that they can run the businesses in the right direction. If the employees lack knowledge on current and improved business practices, they may make the business fall behind, leading to a decline in profits. Some entrepreneurs have invested in hiring people with the required skills or sponsoring training for their existing employees so as to ensure that their team remain relevant and competent in the market. Even though an extra cost is experienced while training the staffs, the gains are usually higher than the risk involved. The additional training also enhances employees’ loyalty as it heightens opportunities for career growth, and the employees understand that the business enterprises value them. Some entrepreneurs also attend training so that they can improve their business skills, thus improving their ability to manage their business in a better way. The entrepreneur’s willingness to iron out their team’s competence meliorates the internal environment of the business as employees are able to handle challenges well, and thus, the business keeps growing and thriving.
It is apparent that entrepreneurs must have certain characteristic traits that determine their success in business. They should also possess comprehensive interpersonal skills for them to succeed in developing good relationships with investors, customers, suppliers, employees, and other stakeholders. Their creative and critical thinking skills help them to efficiently handle arising challenges and utilize identified opportunity effectively. Additionally, management skills are very significant as entrepreneurs possessing these skills are in a position to help organizations realize profits and grow as envisioned (Brockhaus 1982). Policy makers should set regulations that are encouraging entrepreneurship rather than discouraging entrepreneurship as this has a damaging impact on the economy. Entrepreneurs should use their innovation skills to implement their business ideas. They should also create internal environments that are conducive for business development. This includes employing sound management skills and allocating the resources well, ensuring employees understand their responsibility clearly, ensuring that employees are competent and feel valued, and maintaining strong working relationship with the employees (Njanja & Pellisier 2011). Entrepreneurs should always be ready to handle risks as well as deal with uncertainties in their operating environments for their businesses to expand and grow (Sethi 2008). Steve Jobs has employed most of the concepts discussed in this paper, and that is a clear reason to classify him as an entrepreneur.