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Interview on Entrepreneurship
Roberto Natalle is a small business owner in the outskirts of Ravenna. He owns a grocery store that is popularly known as Natas Groceries. Roberto has been in business for the last nine years. The business is doing well in the area since there is a stable customer base. He started the business in 2005, after resigning from his job. Before venturing into business, Roberto was a truck driver for the retail chain giant Wal-Mart. He was a driver for the company for fifteen years. During the time, he managed to save enough money used as the initial capital in opening the business. Roberto is very popular among residents. We contacted Roberto about our intention to interview him and he invited us to the store for the interview. The main objective of this interview is to gather information about the state of entrepreneurship. The collected data would be used to ascertain the interview skills learned in class. The main skills learned in class, such as how to conduct background research, establishing the interview questions, carrying out the interview, and analysis (Kvale 2007, p. 6) would be applied in the interview. The interview will seek to answer some questions regarding the nature of the business and the overall entrepreneurship in the selected area.
Analysis of Entrepreneur’s characteristics
During the interview, some characteristics common to successful entrepreneurs were evident in Roberto. These characteristics are the ones that have helped him to stay afloat for the years he has been running the business. The first characteristic that came out of our interaction with Roberto is his risk-taking nature. Roberto was daring enough to resign from his well paying job at Wal-Mart and start a business, yet he was not sure of the returns. This also involved him investing all the money he had saved during his working days in the new venture. The above characteristics make him qualify as a risk-taker since the business environment is uncertain. Optimism is another character that came out of the interview. The business has been subjected to some challenges several, but Roberto has always remained positive that he would make it despite the challenges.
While starting the business, it picked up slowly. A pessimistic person would have given up due to the slow progress, but Roberto managed to remain optimistic that in the long- run, it would pick up. Furthermore, he is always gregarious meaning that he is always excited about sharing ideas. This made him accept our request for an interview. The fourth quality is his passion for serving people at the store. According to him, one can never be successful in business or anything else if they lack passion. Observation also showed he had a great passion for what he was doing. Passion is the most important trait that builds the success of a business (Kuratko 2009, p. 20). Additionally, he was determined to achieve success even though the situation at times proved to be hard, especially during low seasons. He is determined to make this endeavor a success regardless of the challenges that may come up during the journey.
Most successful businesses are the ones that were established by starters. The grocery store was established from the money that he had saved from his working days. Moreover, he came up with the idea himself while working at Wal-Mart. He observed the sales turnovers of the retailer’s grocery section and vowed to start a grocery store. He then set out to implement the idea. This qualifies him as a self-starter since he undertook the major steps, especially mobilizing the required inputs. Another character we observed is that Roberto is a good planner. Good planning requires the entrepreneur to analyze business situations, do enough research, and analyze the data.
The entrepreneur should then make conclusions that would drive the business forward (Greene 2008, p. 50). These are some of the things that he has been doing to ensure that the company meets its objectives. Additionally, he has a well-planned schedule to replenish stock and pay his obligations. According to Greene (2008 p. 52), the lifeblood of any business is the cash flows generated. Poor management of cash flows leads to failed businesses while sound management, such as the one applied by Roberto, results in success. Roberto is strict on the management of money and he always aims at minimizing unnecessary costs. Entrepreneurship requires one to be an exemplary manager of resources, particularly money.
Analysis of the Business
Organizations start-up as either profit-making or not-for-profit entities. In the case of Roberto, he started the company as a profit-making entity. In other words, he is in the business to make a profit. According to him, profits made by Wal-Mart were attractive. Business ventures are also characterized as either small scale or large scale. In the case of Roberto’s business, it could not be categorized as a large-scale entity. According to Greene (2008 p. 40), a small-scale business is an enterprise that has a small number of employees and does not have a high volume of sales. Roberto’s business qualifies to be categorized in this class since it has three employees, himself included.
The volume of sales cannot be compared to other well-established groceries in the market that have branches across various towns in the country. Entrepreneurial ventures can also be classified as either service providers or producers and retailers of goods. In the case of the grocery store, it is a retail point. The grocery obtains fruits from farmers through suppliers and sells them to customers. Additionally, the grocer is based on the traditional brick and mortar model. According to the owner, this model allows him to be associated with a particular locality, which is where the store is located. The people around the area can easily pop in the store and buy groceries at any time. Even though changes in technology have led to many companies embracing e-commerce, Roberto admits that he still cannot go online with the type of products he has.
Entrepreneurial Strategies Used by the Entrepreneur
According to Roberto, taking risks is the most critical strategy. He has never been afraid of taking risks, such as starting the business and introducing new products. Some of the products introduced gained success while others failed. The products that managed to get the customer’s appeal are the ones that are generating revenues for him. However, Roberto emphasized that every entrepreneur must take calculated risks to prevent losses that may lead to bankruptcy. There should be a careful consideration of the best-case scenario and the worst-case scenario. Furthermore, a consideration of the financial position of the firm should be made. Risk-taking is a critical aspect of any business since the level of returns in any business is directly proportional to the risk-taking levels (Kuratko 2009, p. 67).
Another strategy used by Roberto is maintaining a competitive edge in the market. For him to maintain a competitive edge, he has always been providing exemplary services to his customers. Additionally, he has built a reputation for selling fresh groceries, unlike some of his competitors. This has made him be ahead of his competitors. Furthermore, he has taught his staff to talk nicely to customers and always attend to their concerns in a polite manner. The grocery market around Ravenna is competitive. Therefore, Roberto identified marketing as one of the strategies that would make his store prominent. The main modes of marketing he uses are placing adverts in the local papers that circulate Ravenna and placing others on advert boards around the town. Additionally, in collaboration with the local mail office, he places banners in the mailboxes around the town randomly. The adverts and banners highlight the products available at the store and some of the benefits one may get from buying at the store. This has helped him in carving out a niche in the market.
Analysis of the Entrepreneur’s experience
The running of the grocery store has given Roberto some experience regarding the running of a business. According to him, the exposure has been great and he believes that based on what he knows currently, he can manage a bigger business or even a company. As indicated earlier, he recognizes cash flows as the lifeline of the business. Therefore, entrepreneurs should set realistic financial goals, which are to be achieved within a certain period for the business to be sustainable. Additionally, realistic goals should be set to cover specific periods and the entrepreneur should work towards achieving the goals.
For him, one of his goals is to expand to other towns in the next five years. Roberto claimed that success requires one to have perseverance. Perseverance is the ultimate key to success in the long haul. This helps the entrepreneur in overcoming the challenges that emerge every day in the course of business. Furthermore, he advised that one should always be a realistic optimist. This means that one should always set goals that are realistic and strategize from a realistic approach. Many businesses fail due to owners setting unrealistic goals, which lead to expensive risks that cost them the business.
Lastly, he emphasized that the reputation of the company and the brand name begin to develop from the first day the business opens its doors. The owners should not start concentrating on building the two along the way. Waiting for the right time means that the right time will never materialize. Additionally, he advised that good entrepreneurs should concentrate on the strengths of the business more than the weaknesses and they should know how to utilize the chances that come their way. The owner of the business should always utilize available chances before exploring new ones. His advice was that if an individual does not understand how to utilize available opportunities, he or she would not be in a position to apply new ones, even if they present themselves.
List of References
Greene, C 2008, Entrepreneurship : Ideas in Action, Cengage Learning, New York.
Kuratko, D 2009, Entrepreneurship Theory, Process, Practice, Cengage Learning, New York.
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Kvale, S 2007, Doing Interviews, Sage Publications, London.