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Entrepreneurial Opportunity Essay

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Entrepreneurial Opportunity

Introduction

Major shifts in the traditional working environments have materialized in the recent years, with numerous companies offering alternative workplaces to their employees to enhance efficiency, creativity, and flexibility (Rogers & Davidson, 2016). Some of the emerging trends include flexible working schedules, remote working, distributed work centers, and desk sharing schemes. Nevertheless, the workplace needs significantly more changes if the ultimate goal of these new developments is to be achieved. Traditionally, organizations hold meetings in board rooms, conference centers, hotels, and convention centers. These are the preferred venues for most organizers. While the demand for these conventional settings has remained relatively stagnant for many years, workers are increasingly demanding unique and nontraditional spaces to hold meetings (Rogers & Davidson, 2016). Indeed, the demand for such locations is estimated to increase by approximately 3.8 percent by 2020. Further, the National Statistics Council reported that although 37 percent of employees’ time is taken up by meetings, over 45 percent of the working population in the United States considers such official gatherings to be the greatest waste of time during working hours, even more than email and social media combined.

Numerous business leaders concur that nontraditional spaces provide the much needed incentive for employees to break away from traditions and enjoy the beauty that it all around. Beyond the direct benefits on the company, holding meetings in unique and nonconventional venues also serves as an employee benefit since individuals get new experiences that they may not be privy to. Further, it would help people to socialize since the venues lack the normal tensions that occur in office settings. Ultimately, companies that use nontraditional venues, more often than not, benefit from increased morale in the workplace and low rates of staff turnover (Rogers & Davidson, 2016). Moreover, the business would considerable meet the leisure needs of employees, such sightseeing and travelling, while still contributing positively to company agenda.

This trend indicates the need for a creative way of incentivizing employees to attend and contribute constructively in organizational meetings. One of the ways of making meetings bearable and fun while improving productivity is by making them memorable. As such, providing a platform through which firms can find and book unique and unconventional meeting venues is a lucrative business idea (Rogers & Davidson, 2016). The web-based application would be designed to allow individuals or other third parties with appealing sites to list their properties. The interested parties can then search for a location of their choice, book, and pay online. The application can be tailored to accommodate automatic geolocation, such that users can filter the search results depending on their preferred geographical area. Nontraditional spaces, such as art galleries, rooftops with scenic views, or open air tents would reduce the stress associated with meetings and make the employees more cooperative. Therefore, the business’ main activity prior to launch would be creating strategic partnerships with independent property owners and developers who will provide the venues.

This idea has multiple income streams. Depending on the business’ specific needs and strategy, a commission-based pricing model can be used. In this case, the company will take a percentage from every booking made by prospective customers as a convenience charge. Alternatively, the company may use a membership scheme, such that only the registered entities can use the platform to search for venues. Other sources of income could include the provision of event organizing services or short term leases of items such as projectors, furniture, and display monitors. This idea is unique because it focuses on an unexploited field. Several companies, including AT&T, IBM, Plum Organics, and LivePerson, among others have held meetings in untraditional venues. However, these organizations had to go through the trouble of finding the sites themselves, which is expensive and translates to time wasted as well as a potential loss of productivity. The proposed business will target corporate bodies in particular, to help them source meeting places easily, conveniently, and at a fraction of the cost.

The value proposition for the business is to create an affordable online marketplace of unique, fun, motivating, and employee-oriented meeting venues that enhance creativity and productivity (Osterwalder, Pigneur, Bernarda & Smith, 2014). The proposed services will be of immense benefit to companies that seek to promote creativity, cohesion, and diversity in the workplace. The business is suitable for organizations that are ready to appreciate changes in the normal working culture. In addition, it focuses on eradicating the need for real estate agents and other middlemen, thereby minimizing costs and increasing convenience. The business has a narrowly-defined customer base (Rogers & Davidson, 2016). Therefore, the initial marketing activities will be done primarily through face-to-face meeting with the executives of the target companies. During these introductory meetings, the potential customers will be allowed to browse through the application to view the available properties as well as the pricing plans. These encounters will facilitate any necessary adjustments to any aspect of the business. With time, more aggressive marketing techniques can be used including social media advertising, flyers, posters, and adverts in popular media channels. Customers can also be incentivized to publicize the company through word-of-mouth advertising.

Entrepreneurial Themes

Opportunity Recognition

Opportunity recognition is an essential element of the entrepreneurial process. Indeed, the most success business people are those that identify gaps in the market and work towards satisfying the existing demand. Discerning the need for a platform that makes it easy to find nonconventional meeting places falls under this entrepreneurial theme because the business aims at identifying a largely ignored need. Although most organizations still hold successful meetings in boardrooms and other ordinary venues, enabling them to embrace change will prove to be even more fruitful (Rogers & Davidson, 2016). Further, the existing organizations that offer an almost similar product focus primarily on events such as product launches and corporate dinners. The opportunity was to create a product that caters to corporate bodies exclusively to make meetings more fruitful. The growing resistance among many employees towards ordinary meetings can undermine a company’s performance. Therefore, this idea depicts a profound appreciation of the significance of periodic organizational meetings and seeks to help firms to make the most out of their scheduled conferences.

The identification of this idea involved various stages. Firstly, adequate preparation was imperative. Sufficient knowledge of the existing practices with regards to meetings as well as employees’ views on the meetings they had attended in the past was gathered. This preliminary research revealed a dire need for a solution to make meetings more productive by ensuring the cooperation of all parties involved. Essentially, market demand was the primary force behind the discovery of this opportunity (Butler, 2004). Ordinarily, this first step is facilitated by an entrepreneur’s personal background, work experiences, training, and knowledge of a particular subject matter ((Butler, 2004). As such, having attended several meetings in ordinary venues, it was easy to deduce that more needed to be done to transform how companies hold their meetings. Secondly, an incubation phase followed, whereby the findings of the research were analyzed to find a suitable solution to the problem. This process is usually an intuitive, non-intentional, and non-linear method of assessing the available solutions, and entails the intermingling of ideas in an unstructured manner. Various other alternatives were identified during this stage but the most viable one was chosen during the subsequent insight phase.  Here, the desired core solution usually comes up spontaneously (Klein, 2008). Given the complexities of the market and the increasing bureaucracy in today’s workplaces, the idea was reevaluated to eliminate any chances of failure. Finally, the idea’s viability was tested through a feasibility study. The research involved a financial viability analysis, market testing, and feedback from personal social circles.

Opportunity Discovery

This theme denotes the organized process through which new valuable ideas are discovered using an array of tools, methods, and techniques that facilitate the exploration of new or existing domains to determine their potential (Klein, 2008). It helps to ascertain market needs and customers’ desires that can generate new models of business ((Klein, 2008). In this case, the precise need was the employees’ desire to have less formal meetings in which they could participate more freely. The potential business had to be one that could solve this need while still generating considerable profits. Evidently, an entirely new concept had to be developed, irrespective of the intrinsic risks, to add value to the existing practices. As such, searching and exploring were conducted by gathering both explicit and tacit knowledge, which helped in coming up with the current idea. The processes were carried out before the idea was conceived. Ordinarily, the opportunity discovery process helps in developing new knowledge of the available opportunities by selecting viable notions from the many incomplete and ill-defined ideas, developing, and growing them to mature opportunities.

Using a literature review, the unmet needs of most employees were outlined. The review generated several of these desires but only one could be pursued as a business idea. Majority of the workers interviewed in prior published works had indicated the need for flexibility in the workplace and the elimination of bureaucracies. Similarly, companies had noticed a decline in their workers’ enthusiasm in attending internal meetings. The combination of these two issues provided an ideal white space that could be further analyzed to discover a feasible opportunity. The supreme idea was supposed to be the one that helped companies to boost attendance and participation in meetings while giving enough flexibility and memorable experiences to employees. More research was conducted to find out the existing was of achieving this goal (Klein, 2008). This study revealed a few instances of firms that had hosted corporate events in nontraditional venues with significant success for all parties. These findings led to the realization that a similar model could be adapted to the ordinary meetings while still catering to other types of events. The only hurdle was to find a means of helping companies to learn the benefits of alternative work arrangements as well easing their discovery of suitable meeting venues. The best idea was to create a website because of its potentially unlimited reach and scalability. Eventually, the current idea was born and its viability was verified.

Business Idea Development

Any idea that lacks proper development cannot be implemented and nurtured into a successful business. The development process starts with a thorough analysis of all relevant markets to determine the consumers’ and industry’s needs. This step should reveal whether the notion contributes meaningfully to the identified market gaps (Bragg & Bragg, 2007). As for the present idea, this process entailed an analysis of the market needs, the number of potential customers, as well as their characteristics. The final product would be tailored to fit the requirements of the market for it to provide value to the end user. As such, initial data collection was specifically designed to determine the potential clients’ spending habits, the regulatory environment, competitors, market trends, recent changes in corporate practices, and spending habits. Moreover, the study was extended to neighboring towns to ascertain the potential of scaling the business to cater to a wider customer base. The study revealed a number of would-be competitors, although all existing products had failed to address issues such as staff morale, creativity, and productivity (Bragg & Bragg, 2007). This was a fundamental discovery since the existence of the market gap implied the presence of unmet demands from customers.

The planning phases was considerably complicated than the first step. The scarcity of resources necessitated careful allocation between competing needs, with the highest priority going to system development, hiring new personnel and training. Financial resources were also apportioned to business registration and licensing to ensure compliance with the law. Planning also entailed market assessment to ascertain viability of the idea.  During this stage, the information collected involved economic viability, competitors, regulatory requirements, demographic and spending patterns of the target market (Bragg & Bragg, 2007). Market assessment revealed presence of a huge gap since only a few companies are aware of recent trend. The next step was business development that involved putting the idea into a concrete form. In this step the idea prototype is developed to show what the business has to offer in the market. The prototype shows business delivery, marketing launch and testing plans. The idea is then tested to determine whether it is workable in a real market situation. The prototype is released to the market, tracked and tested to confirm if it a valid idea that can be moved forward. Lastly, product launch is conducted to address whether the demand exists, if planning was well planned and executed and whether all the required documentation has been developed. At this stage, it is also important to assess whether employees were trained properly and are ready to support the product.

This idea was developed after realizing that employees require a nontraditional setting that gives them a break from the offices and boardrooms to enjoy the beauty of the environment around them. The idea benefits organizations directly since they offer employees new experiences that they are not used to. Additionally, it gives them an opportunity for socializing as there are no tensions like in offices. Companies are afraid of employee turnover since it is expensive. This idea will reduce such instances since workers’ morale is boosted. Moreover, employees have a chance for engaging in leisure activities like travelling and team building (Rogers & Davidson, 2016). The idea gives managers a unique platform for booking venues directly without involving agents who are expensive. This business will engage property owners so that it will be easy to identify places that are available for booking.

Marketing mix for the business will ensure that the right product is offered to the market at the right time, best price and targets the right people. The 4Ps of marketing including product, price, place and promotion will be adhered to (Bragg & Bragg, 2007). The product is designed to meet the needs of organizations by ensuring that they have a platform where they can book venues for holding meetings and conferences away from the company premises. All the places of product life cycle that include growth, maturity and sales declines will be promoted and continually reinvented to stimulate sales even when the product reaches its decline place. The price of the service will be fair to both the service providers and the clients. As part of the marketing mix, place is an important element of product delivery. After understanding the target market, it would be easy to offer services online since a physical office is time consuming as managers would be required to travel to the offices to get the product. Lastly, promotion will be conducted by word of mouth and online advertising.

This business limited competition; consequently, the service will be designed in such a way that it will be difficult for competitors to penetrate the market. From the analysis, it is projected that the profits for the growth phase will be lesser than those of maturity phase. However, will vigorous marketing and excellent service delivery, the business will attract and retain a huge customer base translating to more profits.

Conclusion

In the current business world, companies are offering employees with alternative workplaces to increase efficiency, flexibility and creativity. The trend in employment include flexible work schedules, distributed work centers an sharing office desk schemes. All this are made to increase employee morale and reduce turnover. While workplace improvement is essential for every organization, it is also important to consider the impact of holding meetings away from offices and traditional boardrooms.  The unique meeting venues offer employees an opportunity to interact with one another, reduce office related tensions and increase morale. This business idea offers managers an opportunity to book venues depending on the customer convenience. The business will also provide lease items such as furniture, projector and display monitors. The idea is bound to attract customer since it is unique and unexploited. The two themes that govern the whole idea are opportunity discovery and recognition since it involves filling the gap of the unexploited opportunity.

References

Bragg, A. & Bragg, M. (2007) Developing new business ideas : a step-by-step guide to creating new business ideas worth backing. Harlow, England New York: Financial Times /Prentice Hall.

Butler, J. (2004). Opportunity identification and entrepreneurial behavior. Greenwich, Conn: Information Age Pub.

Klein, P.G., 2008. Opportunity discovery, entrepreneurial action, and economic organization. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 2(3), pp.175-190.

Osterwalder, A., Pigneur, Y., Bernarda, G. & Smith, A. (2014). Value proposition design : how to create products and services customers want. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

Propstmeier, J. (2011). Antecedents of entrepreneurial behavior. Raleigh, NC: Lulu Enterprises.

Rogers, T. & Davidson, R. (2016). Marketing destinations and venues for conferences, conventions and business events. London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group

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