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Kate and her husband, Peter Jameson, started their local business store in 2005. The Jameson’s family started the local store to tap into the local customers in their neighborhood. After brainstorming for three months, the spouses, looking to start up a small business at the time decided to open the local store in the San Francisco Bay local area. The Jameson’s family decided because most of their friends and neighbors had been complaining that the area did not have any local store; thus, the Jameson’s were forced to shop at the big stores in the city, which is sometimes hectic because of the occasional long queues.
Local shopping is easy and convenient for consumers, but it is engulfed by many business-related risks. The Jameson family was aware of the risks, and they calculated them before opening the business in October 2005. After sending an interview request to Kate Jameson through her e-mail address, she agreed to meet me in her office at the store. I visited the store with a structured interview with open-ended questions to ensure that I gathered as much information about her entrepreneurial venture as I could.
She allocated two hours during her lunch break for the interview; hence, I had enough time to probe into the areas of small business stores that interest me. I am particularly interested in harnessing the local market shares because one can identify effectively with the needs of his or her consumers because of the close relationship that can be built in such a setting.
Jameson told me that in early June 2005, the husband, and she was looking to start up a small business with the savings that they had accumulated during the four years of marriage. Kate Jameson had been a kindergarten teacher for four years, and the husband is an accountant at a private company in San Francisco Bay. In July 2005, the spouses had settled on starting a local restaurant serving fast foods and delivering them to the local consumers, but the venture was too risky because of its competitive nature and the high standards required for harnessing a profitable market share.
Three months later they settled for a local business store where they stocked domestic products for home use. Most of their stock in the start-up period was foodstuff like fresh vegetables, soft drinks, and snacks. The spouses did extensive research on the viability of the small business by questioning their friends and neighbors about their sentiments about a local store. They were particularly interested in identifying if the people around them were open to local shopping. When the results of their research turned out positive, they decided to take the risk and open the business. Jameson was keen to let me know that an entrepreneur must be willing to take a calculated risk. Their business had a big chance of success because there was no competition at the time.
During start-up, the spouses got their supplies from a supplier in the City, who gave them a fair price for the different commodities and signed a deal to supply the products for six months. After two months in the business, the husband found that the supplier was swindling the Jameson’s through exaggerated prices. He discovered this after visiting a similar small business store in San Francisco Bay, where the owner linked him with a better supplier.
He immediately terminated the contract with the initial supplier. The business attracted many local shoppers and within the first four months, the business became profitable, and it secured a large, loyal market share among the people. Jameson said that their success was influenced by their marketing strategy, which entailed attracting new customers through their friends and neighbors. They also prepared some fliers that they distributed to the people in the neighborhood and its environs.
One weakness of their start-up strategy was the failure to conduct comprehensive research on its supply chain. The basis of a successful small business is staying in control of the supply chain. This means that an entrepreneur needs to do thorough research on the available suppliers. This was not done by the Jameson family; hence, they fell into the trap of an expensive supplier. It was good that the husband went benchmarking. The profit margins would have been minimized by the expensive supplier.
The local store business has attained remarkable success. It became profitable within the first four months of business. The store has harnessed a big market share in the area, and it has managed to develop a loyal customer base. Local shopping has been revived in the neighborhood. Jameson revealed that they are looking to open another store in a nearby neighborhood. The competition has risen since the start-up time because of several other stores opened by other entrepreneurs; however, Jameson’s store has the largest market share.
The store enjoys a commanding lead in the area as its customers are loyal. The loyalty is cultivated through the delivery services offered by the Jameson family, the quality of their products, and the cheap marketing strategy used. The store was the first entity of its kind in their neighborhood, and this has also given them an added competitive advantage because the customers have developed a close relationship with Jameson’s family.
The local business store venture is a viable entrepreneurial idea, and I would engage in such a course. The ability to harness an opportunity is the most remarkable trait that Kate Jameson and her husband portrayed through the interview. Their persistence and innovativeness in building up their level of competitiveness in the business are admirable. I would be honored to work in partnership with the Jameson family in the business. They have achieved remarkable success in reviving local shopping in their neighborhood and the customer base for the business is large enough to compel the Jameson’s to expand the business.
Through this entrepreneur, I learned that persistence is a requirement in entrepreneurship. The Jameson’s family business has gone through many challenges like losing customers to the new players in the market, a supplier who ripped them off, and failure to supply products because of supplier delays, but this has not stopped the entrepreneurs from pushing harder.
They have employed innovation in all their business activities to attain the required uniqueness, which has translated to the lead they enjoy in the business. I will borrow some of the ideas presented by Kate Jameson about entrepreneurship. Her business has challenged me to become innovative and to take calculated risks. I will follow up on her business to borrow more ideas in entrepreneurship because I plan to start such a business shortly.