Entrepreneurs know that it is almost impossible to make a venture successful all by one’s self. They have to involve others and ensure that their energies are channeled towards the success of the business. This can be compared to a soccer team, where the efforts of the captain have to be backed by the efforts of the rest of the team in order to win a particular tournament. As such, entrepreneurs identify their staffing needs and fill them and then undertake to lead this team towards the organizational goals.
Entrepreneurial leadership could, therefore, be described as the process, where entrepreneurs influence their employees in order to achieve the organizational goals and objectives (Weiss, 2007). To achieve this, entrepreneurs build good trust with their employees and ensure that they have a good professional relationship between the subordinates and themselves. This calls for effective and efficient channels of communication within the organization. If the subordinates do not properly understand where the organization is headed as well as what it takes to reach there, then the organization would probably not get there. Effective communication solves this problem and ensures employees to be fully devoted to achieve their specific objectives that add up to make the organizational overall objectives. This paper looks into some of the world’s major entrepreneurs and their leadership styles. It analyzes their principles as profit-oriented or social responsibility oriented and how this orientation promoted their primary goal of providing goods and services to the market.
Entrepreneurs need to hire people and delegate jobs since there can never be growth when one is doing everything by himself. Then to get the most out of the team that an entrepreneur has hired, they need to lead them properly and not in the traditional boss leadership styles. This is because very few bosses would actually be good leaders. To motivate your team as a leader, it is very important and this begins by treating your employees as associates rather than servants. This makes you both the leader and team player.
Good leaders exhibit several character traits that distinguish them from the rest of the entrepreneurs. Firstly, they lead by example (Demmer, 2007). Preaching water and drinking wine could be very dangerous in leadership. Leaders need to show what they are talking about so that subordinates can follow them. This makes employees feel safe in that whatever they are being asked to do. Leaders also need to appoint the right people for the right tasks. They should also ensure people that employees fit in their jobs and do their best to achieve the company`s goals and objectives. Brainstorming should also be a leader’s quality to help him make decisions. The best decisions are made where employees are involved.
With these principles, a leader should focus on ensuring that goods and services are provided to consumers. Different world’s entrepreneurs and leaders have used different leadership styles but with a common goal of availing goods and services to the market in order to make profit. This gives us an opportunity to learn from them and emulate them to achieve our goals. For example, Thomas Edison is one of the world’s most respected entrepreneurs whose contribution transformed the lives of many people. He studied the market and then went ahead to find a solution to the problem he saw.
Thomas Edison was a very innovative and creative person who never gave up on his determination. He invented the modern light bulbs to solve the problem of lighting numerous candles and burning a lot of gas for light. His invention of a clean source of light was a turning point for homes then. We cannot ignore his persistence as he tried more than three thousand different filaments before coming up with a practical version of a light bulb. As an entrepreneur, he never looked back at the number of fails but was motivated by his goal of transforming the world polluting sources of light to a clean source.
It is amazing that this was not even his greatest invention. The truth is that he contributed the most in the invention of the incandescent bulb, which has proved to be the most economical and safest system of generating and distributing light in the whole world. Mr. Edison’s creativity was due to the extensive researches he conducted. His researches were spread over several areas of specialization but were organized in a systematic manner to help solve the world’s problems.
Mr. Edison developed products that consumers wanted even if they were not sure that these were those products that they need to solve their problems. He undertook to solve the needs of the people and make a profit out of it. He then went ahead and played a good role in the introduction of the commodity in the market to ensure its acceptance and demand. One of the challenges he had to deal with in the introduction of the light bulb was naming it (Evans, 004). He knew he had to get an appropriate name that would make customers purchase the commodity. With the help of his wife and a four-year kid, he named the product the lighting bulb and indicated that it was a cheaper source of light that produced much light compared to the candles or gas burners. This positioned his product properly in the market as a solution to the lighting problem, giving him an enormous demand to fulfill. He also dealt with other consumer objections, like the fear of electric shocks. Then electricity was rather strange to home and people were worried of getting that they would get shocked if it was introduced in homes. To solve this, Mr. Edison realized that trying to explain to laymen that it was impossible for electricity to shock a person while in the socket was hard but instead, he developed a series of products that were perceived as a solution or security measures to deal with electricity shocks.
Mr. Edison’s main principle was giving the consumer what they need rather than copying and providing what already exists in the market. He saw consumer needs as business opportunities and solved them hence making a lot of profit. Such profit-oriented entrepreneurs try to maximize their profits through creativity and innovation, giving consumers something different and, therefore, enabling them to price their commodities with a good profit margin.
Looking at Google founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, you realize that one of their driving forces is responsibility to the society. These two founders back in Stamford University devoted a lot time and energy in trying to come with a better search engine that would evaluate sources of information and rank them according to their value to the user. Their motive was to make information more accessible and useful to the users of the internet. They have achieved this and surpassed it by making Google the best search engine serving even other languages other than English. Google is responsible for the great revolution of the internet. They have used this to make profit, but their primary objective was making information better accessible universally that it was. Their slogan, “Don’t be evil” supports their core objective of improving the world’s state in information accessibility. This kind of entrepreneurial leadership is referred to as the social responsibility oriented approach.
Google has partnered with several organizations in what the founders refer to as win-win deals stressing in the importance of letting your partner to benefit also out of the partnership and building a stronger partnership rather than depending strictly on the financial gains (Lowe, 2009). This culture of putting their stakeholders first makes their leadership style be social responsibility oriented rather than profit oriented. Google has also provided employment to more than twenty thousand employees all over the world and numerous freelance employment opportunities which help reduce the unemployment problem in the world. This approach of entrepreneurial leadership seeks to solve people’s problems by providing goods and services into the market at a profit.
However, I would prefer a profit oriented entrepreneurial leadership style, which studies the consumer needs and offers solutions at a profit. This approach is in agreement with most of the organizations’ goals of maximizing profits and minimizing costs. Profit oriented approach does not evaluate business success by sales volume, but by the profit generated over a given period of time (Smilor & Sexton, 1996). This makes the organization focus all its human and other resources towards attainment of the specific goals that would promote a higher profit. Such organizations are known to grow at a higher rate and give a better return on investment. This makes them attract investors and other financiers more than organizations, which are social responsibility oriented. This is because profit is what most of the entrepreneurs are looking for, when venturing into businesses. Giving back to the society though accrues their long-term benefits, it however lacks short-term incentives and, therefore, it does not promote the organization’s short term goal of profit maximization.
Profit oriented entrepreneurs use all the available resources to ensure that they do not only survive in the market, but also thrive in it. Some of these resources are provided through the Small Business Administration and SCORE helping business grow and realize their potential. Entrepreneurs need to take advantage of resources like financial assistance, availability of information as well as training and guidance. Financial assistance, which is always cheaper than loans from banks and financial institutions, helps entrepreneurs to take advantage of the market opportunities and make more profits. Entrepreneurs could supply their products to new geographical areas and improve on their sales volume.
They can also take advantage of free training and counseling on managerial skills to help them run their businesses better. When this is coupled with the availability of information about the market, it puts the business at an advantageous position and makes them able to provide exactly what consumers need. As seen earlier, information about the market is very vital in the success of entrepreneurs and most of them put a lot of investments in researches in order to identify consumer needs and solutions to them. This could be greatly helped by relying on the market information available in the Small Business Administration and SCORE centers.
Entrepreneurial leadership is the best way to outcompete your competitors in the market. Just like Thomas Edison, entrepreneurs should direct their resources towards the satisfaction of consumer needs and profits which will automatically be realized. Thomas Edison came up with the best solutions for consumers while his competitors just tried to steal patents and copy designs. This made him distinguished above the competitors’. Larry Page and Sergey Brin also gave the world the best search engine out of their creativity and innovation which made them standout in the marketplace.