Question: What are the various ways available to an entrepreneur to structure a new business opportunity?
Answer: Entrepreneurs start thousands of new businesses each year in the United States and throughout the world. While Statistics show that many fail within a few years of their start date the prospect of ‘being your own boss’ and making a lot of money keeps luring people of all ages, backgrounds, and gender to take the plunge. There seems to be no end in sight for motivated individuals to pursue their dreams. People are fascinated by the efforts and successes of the ‘great’ entrepreneurs of the present such as, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos and others, but these are the exception. The normal entrepreneurial process is that of an individual or a small group pursuing an idea and trying to gain a foothold in some niche market. (Entrepreneurial startups don’t typically ‘go for broke’ and compete directly with market leaders) but are much more likely to attempt to serve a limited market in which they can thrive and produce sufficient income to provide a living for the founders and employees.
Starting a business is only one form of entrepreneurship, and there are several others we will explore in this paper. Using a different form (objectives, structure) someone considering starting an organization may be able to mitigate risk and directly focus on a specific problem or situation in which he or she has an interest. The forms are intra-, social-, extra- and harvest-preneurship. We will now explore each of these hybrid forms.
Intrapreneurship is the process of developing an organizational mindset to pursue opportunities for improvement and innovation within the company. Intrapreneurs pursue such ideas as continuous improvement, higher productivity, quality initiatives and new product development. Intrapreneurship represents an ideal opportunity for an employee to develop his or her entrepreneurial mindset and perhaps later strike out on their own in a new venture. There is little doubt that an individual can vastly increase his or her value to an employer by being able to see opportunities for improvement and execute their implementation.
Social entrepreneurship is distinguished from other forms by its concentration on ‘making the world a better place’ as opposed to the profit motive. Social entrepreneurs pursue issues such as educational initiatives, special interest groups focused on solving local and perhaps regional problems, such as the opioid epidemic and/or homelessness, among many others. The objective is solving problems, not making money. A social emphasis is quite likely to enlist the interest and support of people young and older who ‘want to make a difference’.
Extrapreneurship is best identified with the so-called ‘gig’ economy by which individuals seek temporary opportunities such as providing IT or other services to companies on a project or part-time basis. This process is also called contracting as opposed to full-time employment It provides the would be entrepreneur with an opportunity to work in several different fields, gain new experience and ultimately form an organization to explore and exploit market opportunities for profit.
Harvest-preneurship is focused upon building a company for the purpose of selling it and moving on to something else. The term ‘serial entrepreneur is often used to describe this mindset. It has occurred within the tech field several times and is the source of news reports whereby a small newly organized firm is bought out by a larger firm within the same industry at a huge profit to the originators. In some cases, a company may be started for the sole purpose of providing legacy income to family members of the founder. Of course, there is also the prospect of harvesting your company’s earnings to produce a lifetime income in retirement
There are other terms as well to describe the varieties of form and structure. Serial entrepreneurs, franchisees (buying a company structure as opposed to making it). There are Encore entrepreneurs who start businesses in their retirement years. There are options for part-time work, buying a business (or parts of it) and Global entrepreneurship using an e-commerce portal. There are joint ventures, entrepreneurial partnerships, outsourcing and many more methods and opportunities open to the person who wants to ‘make a difference’ including Licensing rights and leasing a business
Entrepreneurship is alive and well in the United States as well as elsewhere in the world, and whether in good times or bad times, new businesses are started every day. Not everyone is successful, but those that are can provide a comfortable living for the entrepreneurs and open a world of possibilities for those who possess the ‘mindset’ of a continuous focus on what is possible.
As Edward Kennedy said at the funeral of his brother Bobby Kennedy:
‘‘Some see things as they are and ask why? Others see things as they could be and ask why not?
Why not indeed?